History Faculty News Archives

Marcia Schmidt Blaine, History

June 24th, 2010 by Nikki-Ann

Marcia Schmidt Blaine

Marcia Schmidt Blaine: In spring 2008, the Public and Local History class created an exhibit on Town-Gown Relations between Plymouth State and the town. Currently, it is on display in Lamson Library on the desks over the reference area. We hope you will have the opportunity to view it! Blaine has an article coming out soon in History: the Journal of the History Association (a British publication) titled “The Johnsons’ Plight: The Role of Captivity on Anglo-American Identity,” which explores the role of fear, insecurity, and adaptation on colonial captives and their governments. The possibility and reality of captivity was one of many parts of the American experience that added to the developing Anglo-American identity. Blaine is the new Coordinator of History. She urges all alumni history majors to stay in touch with her or a former advisor. We like to know what you are doing!

Whitney Howarth, History and Social Studies Education

June 24th, 2010 by Nikki-Ann

Whitney Howarth

Whitney Howarth spent two months of her summer (2007) teaching history at Scott College in south India, Howarth returned to PSU and presented a paper to her peers about her experience at the fall meeting of the Society for Scholarly Dialogue. The title of her talk “After the Tsunami: Politics, Privatization and Plight of the Poor in South India Today” focused on some of the research she did while in India and the conversations she had with tsunami-affected victims and aid workers in the region. Howarth was eager to incorporate new materials from her travel opportunities in her fall courses on The British Empire and India and the World. Also last fall, Howarth coordinated a social science student trip to Concord’s Red River Theatre to view the documentary film “DARFUR NOW.” She worked with the newly opened cinema’s public relations director and company manager to arrange this event (involving over 50 PSU students) and after the trip helped to put students in contact with divestment activists who continue to work towards ending the genocide in the Sudan.

In the Spring, Howarth, in her role as advisor of the PSU History Club, coordinated the Black History Month celebrations honoring human rights activist Nathaniel P. Rogers. Rogers, a 19th century abolitionist and Plymouth native, once lived in a home on the site of what is today the Silver Center for the Arts. Led by student Sarah Vendt, the club prepared a photo-history exhibit of their research on NPR, his life and times, at the event where the university President presided over the re-installation of the commemorative plaque outside Silver. The ceremony on February 14th was attended by many prominent members of the community, including former NH Supreme Court Justice William Batchelder, Harvard historian Timothy McCarthy and Rogers’ great granddaughter Sarah Kinter. Plymouth Elementary School’s third graders sang an original piece of music from the time period written by the pro-abolitionist Hutchinson Family and NH Representative Carol Estes (herself the a granddaughter of slaves) unveiled the portrait of this remarkable man, now installed in Silver Hall’s lobby.

In March, Howarth visited the North Carolina Center for South Asian Studies (NCCSAS) and spoke with a colloquium of scholars from Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State about a paper in-progress titled “Rajadharma: Mediating Modernity in the Context of Hindu Kingship” based on a chapter from her doctoral dissertation. While visiting the Center, Howarth was invited by several Indian historians to attend their classes at Chapel Hill and NC State. It was a true pleasure!

Howarth is very excited to work with Patrick May this year on a grant they received from the Center for Rural Partnerships and the Neil & Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation. Their collaborative project aims to work with Berlin area educators and cultural organizations in order to promote, preserve and celebrate the international heritage of the Androscoggin Valley lumber industries of the 19th century. Through educational outreach and heritage tourism efforts, Howarth and May hope to bring resource materials and curriculum ideas to local high school teachers, NH university students and tourism professionals so all can better appreciate the unique character of the region and its environmental, economic and historic importance to our nation’s past.

Howarth continues to co-coordinate the Social Studies Teacher Certification program at Plymouth with Patrick May and is an active member of the National History Day team. She sits upon the Sally Boland Essay Prize judging panel for the Women’s Studies Council and works to internationalize the campus in her role as an appointed member of the President’s Commission on Diversity. Howarth looks forward to hearing from alums and especially staying in touch with recent graduates! Drop her an email!

John Krueckeberg, History

June 24th, 2010 by Nikki-Ann

Dr. K has had another busy year. The highlight of it has been the experience of fatherhood! John and Mary traveled to China in March where they met and adopted their daughter. The trip took them through three major cities, each of which they enjoyed immensely: from Beijing in the North, to Wuhan on the Yangtze River in the center of the country, to Guangzhou in the south – near Hong Kong. Fatherhood resulted in Dr. K going on parental leave, which allowed him to thoroughly enjoy being “Mr. Mom.”

In the fall before fatherhood, Dr. K taught the history major’s new course for the first time: Surveying Themes in US History. This class replaces the previous two-semester US surveys and is designed specifically for history majors and future history teachers in the SSTC program. It was a very intense class, as students will attest – but it was a success too. In the Spring, just before going on parental leave, Dr. K managed to do some administrative work around campus, including revamping the Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum guide and its accompanying student handbook. He also began the process for the history program’s self study which leads to a thorough review of the history program by an outside historian and the Provost. That should be completed this year – if you would like to comment upon your experience as a history major, minor, or concentrator (for those in the Teacher Certification program), we’d love to hear your thoughts about what was good about the program and what would have made it better given your career/life experiences. Tell us what you are doing now and share your reflections.

Dr. K has written some book reviews, reviewed a manuscript for The Journal of Urban History, managed the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History New Hampshire History Teacher of the Year Award, worked on National History Day with Patrick May and with the other historians, and won a research grant to be used during his sabbatical. Dr. K’s sabbatical is for the fall semester of 2008, which gives him the time to travel for research in various archives – especially in Washington, D.C. He continues to work on his historical biography of Raymond Swing.

So far this year Dr. K’s research has taken him to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s archives, where he examined papers relating to American efforts to rescue artists, intellectuals, and political thinkers targeted by the Nazis for imprisonment. Raymond Swing spearheaded the founding of the Emergency Rescue Committee, which assisted thousands of Europeans; through proving funds, forging documents, presenting US entry visa applications, and smuggling escapees. Some of the more notable who were rescued include: Heinrich Mann, Max Ernst, Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Matisse, and Lion Feuchtwanger.

Dr. K is looking forward to returning to the classroom in the Spring semester! And in the meantime he’d love to hear feedback from you about the history program!

Xiaoxiong Li, History

June 24th, 2010 by Nikki-Ann

Xiaoxiong Li

In the summer of 2008 Dr. Xiaoxiong Li gave a lecture about the coming American president election at the History Institute, Sichuan Social Science Academy in, Chengdu, China. Dr. Li also finished the final version of his manuscript, Poppies and Politics in China: Sichan Province, 1840s to 1940s, for the University of Delaware Press.

Rebecca Noel, History

June 24th, 2010 by Nikki-Ann

Rebecca Noel

Rebecca R. Noel has to confess that she really does live in the past. Only that could explain how she found herself in 1808 clothing in May, along with Marcia Schmidt Blaine and various campus and community dignitaries, reenacting for alumni the day when the Holmes Plymouth Academy received its charter to found a school in Plymouth. The skit included a musical number written by Patricia Lindberg of the Education Department and composer Will Ogmundson, along with a short script. As the characters circulated around the tables at the Alumni Weekend luncheon, additional dialogue was improvised, based on research conducted by Blaine, Cynthia Vascak of the Art Department, University Archivist Alice Staples, and Noel. When Plymouth received its 1808 charter to establish an academy, launching a tradition of higher learning in Plymouth that continues at PSU today, Thomas Jefferson’s presidency was winding down and Britain was still “impressing” American sailors into its navy. Research revealed that Plymouth tended to vote Federalist in the early 1800s, unlike most of New Hampshire. Researching and celebrating this bicentennial was a highlight of Noel’s year.

Now in her fifth year at PSU, Noel has turned from creating new courses to polishing the ones she has developed. Noel did experiment with a Writing Fellow in her Writing Connections course, The American Civil War and Reconstruction. Already posted as a fellow in the Writing Center, Social Studies Education major Jessica Dube ’09 became the go-to writing tutor for students in the course, which she was also taking. The use of Writing Fellows has long intrigued Robin DeRosa of the English Department, and as WAC Coordinator, Norl was eager to give it a try. The pilot fellowship proved that the model has potential: students in a course get a peer tutor who knows their course well, and peer tutors get substantive experience in writing pedagogy.

Noel has been involved in numerous other activities, such as a proposed revision of the Honors Program and an effort to assessment all the Writing Connections courses at PSU, to be led by Composition Director Elliott Gruner of the English Department. Noel has also just been elected to the Women’s Studies Council. Phi Kappa Phi, which she directs along with Whitney Howarth, held another successful induction this past spring.

In February, Noel gave a talk at the Plymouth Historical Society entitled “Samuel Read Hall of Holmes Plymouth Academy: New Hampshire’s First Teacher Educator.” Her review of Prodigal Daughters: Susanna Rowson’s Early American Women, by Marion Rust, will appear in the British journal Literature and History within the next year. She will give a talk at a conference at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts in November, and her article “Schooling and Child Health in Antebellum New England” will appear in the book Children and Youth in a New Nation (edited by James Marten), forthcoming from New York University Press on January 1, 2009.