History Professor Delivers Keynote at the Opening Reception of Booth Library’s “Revolutionary Decade” Series

On Tuesday, September 9, Dr. Edmund Wehrle, professor of history, delivered the keynote address at the opening reception for Booth Library’s fall semester exhibition and event series, “Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s.”


Professor Wehrle’s talk, “No Problem of Human Destiny is Beyond Human Beings”: John F. Kennedy and the Spirit of the 1960s,” addressed how although President John F. Kennedy remains synonymous with the youthful, activist spirit of the global 1960s, opening program sheetmost historians view the 35th president as an aggressive, cold warrior who endangered the world and as a conservative Democrat who proved painfully slow to respond to the challenge of the civil rights movement. Dr. Wehrle noted how in truth, Kennedy was barely a liberal and certainly no radical. International communism, Kennedy believed, presented a grave, existential threat, and he showed little real interest in domestic reform. Nevertheless, Professor Wehrle pointed out how Kennedy’s rhetoric and carefully cultivated image inspired many — especially young people around the world — and in that sense helped inspire the tumult and even the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s.


“Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s” at Booth Library

Booth Library’s new exhibit and program series, “Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960,” will be taking place throughout the Fall semester. Throughout the series, faculty and students will take “a fresh look at the achievements, tragedies, triumphs, extraordinary personalities, and everyday lives of average people during what was arguably one of the most turbulent and eventful decades of the 20th century.”

Booth Fall 14

Many members of the History Department faculty, along with some of our graduate students, will be participating in the “Revolutionary Decade” programming (for the full schedule of events, please visit the exhibit homepage on the Booth Library website):

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m Booth Library West Reading Room
Opening Night/Reception
-Dr. Edmund Wehrle, Keynote Address: “No Problem of Human Destiny is Beyond Human Beings: John F. Kennedy and the Spirit of the 1960s”

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m., Booth Library Room 4440
The Other Side of the ’60s: Hidden Dimensions of One of America’s Most Significant Decades
– Dr. Lynne Curry, “Sex, Drugs, and the U.S. Supreme Court”
– Dr. Debra Reid, “Between Cairo and Chicago: Resistance to Rights Expansion During the 1960s”
– Dr. Charles Titus, “Cold War Classrooms: How American Education Served the National Security State”

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 4 p.m., Booth Library Room 4440
MA History Student Research Panel: Global Diplomacy in the 1960s
- Moderated by Dr. Edmund Wehrle:
Kimberly Jones, “No Place Like Home: Robert F. Williams — World Exile”
- Michael Ludwinski, “The Kennedy-MacMillan Affair: The Making of a
Special Relationship”
- Adam Mohebbi, “Inaction, Not Indifference: Rhodesia and Postcolonialism in the 1960s”

Thursday, Oct. 2, 3:30 p.m., Booth Library Room 4440
Fantastic Sitcoms of the 1960s: “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched”
- Dr. Malgorzata J. Rymsza-Pawlowska, “Fantastic Sitcoms of the 1960s: I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m., Booth Library Room 4440
Thursday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Lone Elm Room, Mattoon Depot

Reflections on Sixties Music
Dr. Newton Key, “Global Influences on the American Pop Charts of the Sixties”



History Major Studies Abroad in South Korea

Taylor Coffman, a History major minoring in Asian Studies and Political Science, recently returned from studying abroad at Ajou University in South Korea. Below, Taylor tells us about her experience and why history majors should think about pursuing study abroad opportunities:

History major Taylor Coffman at Panmunjom on the DMZ

History major Taylor Coffman at the DMZ in Panmunjom

Being able to study abroad in South Korea was an experience of a lifetime. South Korea is so rich in culture, yet at the same time very modern. Studying at Ajou University in Suwon, South Korea, with approximately 100 other students from all around the world, was probably the best part of my trip. Upon returning to the United States, I have a plethora of knowledge that I gained from learning about not only Korean culture, but the culture of the other students that were a part of the program. There were students from China, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Canada, Australia, France, England, Spain, and Germany. Uzbekistan, the United States, Denmark, Finland, Turkey, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and Thailand! There were also nine Korean students who helped us with transportation, showing us around their country, and being open to share their culture with us, as well as wanting to learn about ours. I especially learned a lot from my three roommates, who were from Uzbekistan, China, and Malaysia.IMG_0035

Some of my favorite places that we visited during our six week stay include Jeju Island – where we visited a Trick Art and Ice Museum, as well as a volcano and an underground 20140723_121949cave that are both part of the “UNESCO Triple Crown New 7 Wonders of Nature,” Seoul Grand Park – which includes a zoo and an amusement park, among other neat things, the Boryeong Mud Festival – the biggest annual festival in South Korea where 20140727_193910festival-goers play in mud all day and can relax by the Yellow Sea, and lastly a professional Korean baseball game!

However, the number one place that I just had to visit during my trip to South Korea was the Demilitarized Zone, or, simply, the border between North and South Korea. One cannot visit South Korea without taking a tour to the most heavily guarded border in the world. I was even able to step over the border and into North Korea!


Looking back on my trip, I am so beyond thankful that I had the opportunity to take part in this exchange program. I would recommend this program to anyone, especially if you are interested in Asian culture, but also want to have the creature comforts of modern life. South Korea is the best of both worlds. I learned so much more about Korean culture, and even the cultures of my peers in the International Summer School program, than I could have ever learned from any educational program in the United States. If you have the opportunity and are interested in learning about other parts of the world, I definitely recommend this trip!


Taylor Coffman                          IMG_0207
History Major
Asian Studies Minor
Political Science Minor

35th Annual History Teachers Conference Coming On Friday, October 10, 2014


We are excited to announce that the 35th Annual History Teachers Conference will take place on Friday, October 10, 2014, here at Eastern Illinois University. The theme of this year’s conference is “Supporting the Common Core,” and we will feature a day of presentations focused on how social studies teachers can and are supporting Common Core reading, writing, and historical/social studies literacy in their classrooms. The conference offers a wonderful opportunity for teachers to earn CPDUs, network with other Illinois teachers, and return to school refreshed with a handful of strategies to apply as they implement new learning based on the Common Core standards in their own classrooms.

Lee Ann Potter, Director of Educational Outreach at the Library of Congress will make the opening keynote address, “Deep Admiration, Communication, & the Power of Primary Sources.” We are also very excited to announce morning session topics such as:

  • Introduction to Literacy Strategies for Preservice Teachers
  • Annotating Informational Texts in the Social Studies Classroom
  • Incorporating Atlantic History into World and U.S. History
  • Using Primary Sources & Technology to Create Engaging Civil War Lessons
  • Teaching Social Studies Units Aligned to Common Core Standards
  • Civic Learning – A Gateway to Common Core, Danielson, and the 5 Essentials
  • Latin America: Growth, Democracy, Reform and Revolution
  • Engaging Learners through Classroom Museum Gallery Walks Presenters
  • Literacy Strategies That Work for Practicing Teachers

The day concludes with a luncheon where teachers will be joined by Associate Dean of CEPS Doug Bower, Chair of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Education Joy Russell, and Chair of Secondary Foundations Stephen Lucas. During this time there will be a discussion on the Common Core & Higher Education as well as an opportunity to network and continue to share strategies and ideas with other Illinois teachers.

conference flyer

  • For download the full version of the above flyer, click here.

New Historical Administration Students Go On Fall Study Trip

The new Historical Administration students spent two days in Indiana on their recent Fall Study Trip. Among other highlights of the trip, they met with Rebecca Vaughn (HA 2010), collections manager at the Monroe County History Center in Bloomington, and with Amanda Bryden (HA 2014), Indiana State Historic Sites Collection Manager, in New Harmony. Generous hosts at those sites and at the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, and the Working Men’s Institute gave behind-the-scenes tours of collections storage and preservation, and offered insight into administering this wide array of cultural institutions.

HA F14 NH group3

HA Graduate Students Awarded EGS Scholarships

Laura Russman and Brian Failing, graduate students in the Historical Administration Program, have each been awarded a Chester A. Bowser Scholarship from the Elgin Genealogical Society (EGS). EGS provides scholarship funds to deserving graduate students in studies related to genealogy and grants to local organizations for projects to benefit the genealogical community. Scholarships are awarded in honor of the Society’s late member and benefactor, Chester A. Bowser.

Faculty Monograph Honored as a Kansas Notable Book

Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz’s recent book, The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism, has been selected for inclusion on the 2014 Kansas Notable Books List. The Kansas Notable Book List recognizes the literary richness of Kansas and is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book (KCFB) at the State Library of Kansas. The annual selection of 15 books reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kansas features titles that are either written by Kansans or features a Kansas-related topic. A committee of KCFB Affiliates, Fellows, and authors of previous Notable Books identifies these titles from among those published the previous year, and the State Librarian makes the selection for the final list. Each year a reception and medal awards ceremony honor the books and their authors and illustrators.