News in American History

Library Company of Philadelphia First Biennial Innovation Award

The Library Company of Philadelphia is delighted to welcome applications for its first biennial Innovation Award. The Innovation Award will recognize a project—digital or analog—that critically and creatively expands the possibilities of humanistic scholarship. 

Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of leaders in higher education, research libraries, and cultural heritage institutions who will evaluate how proposed projects make scholarly work new again. That scholarly work might take the form of an article, chapter, academic monograph, scholarly edition, or other project, in either print or digital form. “Innovation” will be defined broadly, and may include refashioning scholarly work with new partners, for new audiences, or into new forms.

The recipient of the Innovation Award will receive a $2,000 prize, a spotlight interview in our “Talking in the Library” podcast, and recognition at the 288th Annual Dinner of the Library Company of Philadelphia (October 29, 2019).

We welcome proposals from applicants in all fields and at all career stages, including graduate students, junior and senior faculty, as well as independent scholars. Visit the Innovation Award webpage for complete details.

Submissions are due by August 1, 2019.

For further details, click here>>

Posted: May 8, 2019
Tagged: Awards and Prizes

CFP: Universities Studying Slavery 2019 Fall Symposium “The Academy’s Original Sin”

When: October 9–12, 2019 
Where: Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 

Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati are proud to co-sponsor the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) Fall 2019 Symposium, entitled “The Academy’s Original Sin.” USS is a multi-institutional collaborative effort working to address historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education and university communities and the complicated legacies of slavery in modern American society. 

This symposium encourages collaboration among—and unites scholars from—a broad range of colleges and universities to better understand the role of enslaved people and their relation to higher education. Slavery’s legacy in the American academy is demonstrated in myriad ways, from African American access to higher education and discussions surrounding reparative justice, to racism and discrimination within academe and battles to rename places/spaces on college campuses nationwide. The Fall 2019 Symposium continues the conversation, focusing on the enslavement of people of African descent and how that enslavement manifested itself in the development of U.S. educational institutions. Moreover, it will directly question these complicated legacies. 


This year’s symposium features pre-selected panel topics and participants are encouraged to submit proposals accordingly. (Symposium organizers reserve the right to include additional/alter current panels as interest dictates.) 

  • Legacies of the Middle Passage: This panel evaluates the lasting legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, focusing on a variety of responses to cultural trauma and efforts to heal and  transform. 
  • Teaching Trauma: As recent controversies have made clear, the history of slavery and the slave trade are often taught in wildly inappropriate ways in American schools. This panel explores the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to teaching this challenging material. 
  • The Ties that Bind: Histories of Religion and Race at XU and UC: This panel is exclusively designed for XU and UC faculty/administration to discuss developments on our campuses re: controversial spaces and historical legacies. 
  • Violent Evangelism: Weaponizing Faith & Teaching Place: Slaveholders and their sympathizers often defended slavery by pointing to its presence in the Bible as evidence of its place in a higher plan for social order. Interpretation of biblical stories like Cain and Abel, and that of Noah’s son Ham, offered proof that “Negroes” were accursed and their enslavement theologically condoned. This panel explores the Christianization of slaves, segregationist theology, and the ethics of disarmament. 
  • New-Age ‘Fieldwork’: Intellectual Chains of the 21st Century: Especially on large plantations, the institution of slavery created distinct occupational hierarchies, distinguishing between tradesmen, fieldworkers, house slaves (domestics, wet nurses, etc.), etc. Do academic hierarchies of the twenty-first century mimic these relationships of the past? What is the new “fieldwork” for the Diaspora, and how does the academy bridge the divide between the Ivory Tower and the local communities within which it physically stands? 
  • Legacies of Slavery: Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to present original research pursuant to the Symposium title. Potential participants are welcome to discuss their unique campus climate regarding the work of retributive justice, and to introduce the broad range of activities designed to facilitate (or hinder) and official acknowledgment of the sacrifices of black bodies for the development of the Ivory Tower
  • 40 Acres and a Myth: Union General William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15, an idea for massive land redistribution following the Civil War, is a staple of black history lessons. There are, however, numerous facets of the revolutionary idea Americans still do not understand. This panel looks to the past as a starting point for examining the concepts of social reconstruction, retributive justice, and reparations, and asks, “What contemporary concessions can/should be made to the descendants of slaves in the United States?” 
  • When Will We Be Satisfied?: Re-evaluating ‘Progress’ in a Post-King America August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech that has resonated for decades. In what has become known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, King voiced the pressing demands of the civil rights movement, and posed a challenging question regarding the supposed progress of race relations in America. This panel invites presenters to respond to King’s query, “When will we be satisfied?” and the significance of the continued phenomenon of racism in America. 
  • Global Perspectives on Retributive Justice: Retributive justice is a theory of justice that holds that the best response to a crime is a punishment proportional to the offense, inflicted because the offender deserves the punishment. With specific regard to the legacy of slavery in the United States, this panel assumes agency and communion can further understand the experiences of victims, and invites presentations that broadly address retributive justice, value restoration and procedural justice. 

Contributions from researchers in a range of disciplines from anthropology, cultural studies, history, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, urban studies and other fields are encouraged. Practitioners in cultural history institutions, and the visual and performing arts, are also encouraged to submit, as non-traditional and/or alternative forms of presenting research, e.g. in videos, visual art or performances, will be supported. 

Please email an abstract of the proposed paper/presentation (limit 500 words) and CV to by July 1, 2019. Presenters will be notified within two weeks if their proposal has been selected for a panel. 

The USS2019XUC Symposium registration will open on July 15, 2019


A block of rooms have been reserved under “USS 2019 Symposium” at the following locations, and all participants are invited to contact the hotels directly to confirm lodgings. The block of rooms will “close” either on September 15, 2019, or when all rooms on the block have been reserved. Blocks at both hotels are limited, so BOOK EARLY! 

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cincinnati Uptown/University Area 
2500 S Market St, Cincinnati, OH 45219 
(513) 281-2200 
*ALL rooms/types $109* 
*STUDENT RATES available at this location for $99 (up to quadruple occupancy!), but rate must be approved/blocked by program coordinators. Preference for student rooms will be given to those presenting at the 2019 Symposium. 

Hampton Inn & Suites Cincinnati/Uptown-University Area 
3024 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219 
(513) 281-2700 
*ALL room types $119/$129* 

UC and XU will provide complimentary shuttles from CVG to both hotels: 
Wednesday, October 9, from 12pm-3pm 

UC and XU will provide complimentary shuttles from Saturday morning venue to CVG: 
Saturday, October 12, from 12pm-3pm 

Rates include breakfast, a limited number of “student” rates are available directly through symposium organizers, and tax-exempt status will be recognized at either hotel ONLY IF: You supply the hotel with a hardcopy of your institution’s tax-exempt certification upon check-in AND… pay for your room with your institution’s p-card/credit card, OR pay for your room prior to your arrival with a check from your institution.

For further information, click here>>

Posted: May 8, 2019
Tagged: Calls for Papers

In Memoriam: Professor Jesse Lemisch (1936–2018)

Jesse Lemisch passed away August 24, 2018. Professor Lemisch earned his B.A. at Yale University and an M.A. in history at Columbia University. He returned to Columbia to receive his Doctorate in American Studies in 1963. He was an author, professor, and an outspoken historian. He was best known for being a “New Left historian” writing history from below and challenging “top-down” traditions of academic historical writing. 

For full details and obituary, click here>>

For a piece written by Marcus Rediker in memory of Jesse Lemisch, click here>>

Posted: May 6, 2019
Tagged: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Dr. Jo Ann (Jody) Carrigan (1933–2018)

Jo Ann (Jody) Carrigan passed away September 12, 2018. Dr. Carrigan joined the Department of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1970, where she stayed until her retirement in 1996. Dr. Carrigan specialized in U.S. urban history, medical, and public health history. She served as a volunteer Adjunct Professor for Medical History in the medical humanities program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Carrigan was also active in a number of historical organizations and associations, which include but are not limited to the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and the Southern Association of Women Historians. Dr. Carrigan was also on the advisory board of the Journal of Southern Studies.

For full details and obituary, click here>>

Posted: May 6, 2019
Tagged: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: G. Wesley Johnson Jr. (1932–2018)

G. Wesley Johnson Jr. passed away November 16, 2018. Johnson studied at Harvard University, Columbia University, and Stanford University. He began his teaching career in 1965 as an assistant professor at Stanford University. He was also a founding editor for The Public Historian and a founding member of the National Council on Public History. While not the founding father of public history, Rebecca Conrad notes that “he gave it an identity and a structure” in her History@Work In Memoriam Essay Published February 18, 2019. After founding The Public Historian in 1978, the first issue was titled “The Birth of a New Field.” 

For full details and obituary, click here>>

Posted: May 6, 2019
Tagged: In Memoriam

NCPH 2020 Call for Proposals

The National Council on Public History is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary, and we are planning on capping the party off with our 2020 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia! Interested in joining in on the fun? Consider submitting a proposal for the conference, which will run from March 18-21, 2020. Our theme for the conference is “Threads of Change,” and all proposals are due by July 15, 2019. We look forward to hearing from you!

For further information, click here>>

Posted: May 6, 2019
Tagged: Calls for Papers

2019 OAH Award Winners

The Organization of American Historians sponsors annual awards and prizes given in recognition of scholarly and professional achievements in the field of American history.
Please join us in congratulating the following 2019 OAH award and prize winners

Read more >

Posted: May 1, 2019
Tagged: None

In Memoriam: Richard Lowitt (1922–2018)

Richard Lowitt passed away at his home in Concord, MA, on June 23, 2018. Dr. Lowitt was an American Historian who focused on the American West in the 20th Century. He was best known for his three volume biography of Nebraska Senator, George W. Norris. Dr. Lowitt was an active member in a number of historical organizations and associations. He was a member of the Society of American Historians, served as president from 1991–1992 for the Agricultural History Society, and was a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Lowitt was also a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and was a member of the American History Association, Southern History Association, Western History Association, Mid-Western History Association. As an active Member of the OAH, he served on many committees and board of editors including the Turner Prize Committee.

For full details and obituary, click here>>

Posted: April 30, 2019
Tagged: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Dr. Raymond Joseph Jirran (1934–2017)

Raymond J. Jarran passed away on November 5, 2017. Dr. Jirran received his PhD from Kent State University and became a professor at Thomas Nelson Community College. He was active in his community serving four terms as President of the Northampton Lions Club, two term as President of the Citizens Boys Club of Hampton, one term as President of the Virginia Social Science Association, and one term as President of the Virginia Conference of University Professors.

For full details and obituary, click here>>

Posted: April 30, 2019
Tagged: In Memoriam

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics 2019 Research Fellowship

The Dole Archive and Special Collections is now accepting applications for the 2019 Research Fellowship. Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars are eligible to apply for this $2,500 award, which will support substantial contributions to the study of Congress, politics, or policy issues on a national or international scale.

The Dole Archives at the Dole Institute of Politics houses Senator Bob Dole’s extensive collections that document his 36-year career in the House and Senate. While in residence, the Research Fellow will use these collections, which encompass a wide range of legislative, historical, and policy issues.

Applications must be received in whole on or before May 31, 2019.

For more information about the award and application details, click here>>

Posted: April 30, 2019
Tagged: Grants