Living History Premiere Performance on February 25 at Charleston Public Library

This year’s Women’s History and Awareness Month Living History premier performance will take place at the Charleston Public Library on Wednesday, February 25, starting at 4:30 pm.


Many of this year’s interpreters are history students, both BA and MA: Taylor Yangas, Cayla Wagner, Monica Burney, Megan Kessler, Clara Mattheessen, Dana Jarrard, and Andi Morgan. Amy Wywialowski is serving as an assistant and has helped participants with costuming.

The students will be bringing the program to a number of local elementary classrooms over the next few weeks.

2015 History Careers Day

The History Department held its third annual History Careers HCD 2015Day on Friday, February 20.

Our keynote presenter this year was Angela Scalpello. Angela, who has worked for many years as a senior human resources executive at major firms in New York City and San Francisco, shared with majors and non-majors her considerable interviewing and hiring experience as someone who understands the skills historians bring to the job market.

For our 11am panel, EIU alumni and current students discussed how they are using their history degrees.

During our third panel EIU alumni and faculty shared their experiences teaching in a variety of settings—public school, private school, and community college.

At our final panel of the day, some faculty and current graduate students discussed the joys (and challenges) of MA and PhD programs.

Thank you to all of our panelists who helped us make this year’s History Careers Day such a success!

History Major Asks, “What’s In your Backpack?”

From the desk of Dr. Sace Elder:

Has anyone ever made stereotyped assumptions about you? Have you ever been the subject of a racist or homophobic comment? Have you ever witnessed one and did not know what to do?

History major John Jaso recently posed these questions at the EIUnity Diversity Conference in the Effingham Room of the MLK, Jr., Union. During the session, titled, “What’s In Your Backpack?” Mr. Jaso created a “safe zone” for the more than thirty participants, who shared their personal experiences with racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia and discussed strategies for talking back to hurtful stereotypes.

History major John Jaso at the 2015 EIUnity Diversity Conference on February 6, 2015

History major John Jaso at the 2015 EIUnity Diversity Conference on February 6, 2015

This was the second time Mr. Jaso had run such a session, which he developed after someone close to him had been the object of hate speech and systematic discrimination. Mr. Jaso’s goal in the sessions is to get people talking about hurtful stereotypes and what we can do about them. During this particular session, the conversation started rather haltingly, as participants were rather reluctant at first to share personal experiences. But with Mr. Jaso’s patient and kind encouragement, individuals began telling stories, and soon a wide-ranging conversation developed. By the end of the hour, the room truly felt like a safe space, and before the session was over, Mr. Jaso encouraged everyone to carry the experience forward into their everyday lives, and to remember to be respectful of the contents of others’ backpacks.

History Careers Day 2015 is Coming Soon

The History Department’s 3rd annual History Careers Day will take place on Friday, February 20 at Booth Library, room 4400. Please click here to register for the event and scroll down to read about each session.

HCD 2015

2015 History Careers Day
Schedule of Events

10:00-10:50 am: Keynote Presentation: What Employers Want: Selling Yourself and Landing a Job
Come hear advice from the other side of the interview table. Our keynote presenter, Angela Scalpello, has worked for years as a senior human resources executive at major firms in New York City and San Francisco. She will be sharing her considerable interviewing and hiring experience as someone who understands the skills historians bring to the job market.

11:00-11:50 am: Alumni Panel: History and Career
Wondering what to careers are out there for historians? Come hear alumni and current students talk about how they are using their history degrees.
Presenters: James Willaert (Wade House Historic Site, Greenbush, WI) Jeffrey Lange, JD (Illinois State University), Emily Mcinerney (senior history major, EIU), Zachary Samples (College Student Affairs Graduate Program, EIU), Bobbi Kingery (Career Counselor, EIU)

12:00-12:50 pm: Lunch and Alumni Panel: Teaching (And Loving It)
Wondering about teaching as a career? In this session, alumni and faculty share their experiences teaching in a variety of settings—public school, private school, community college.
Presenters: Jarrod Taylor (Next Generation School), Austin Alexander (Lawrenceville High School), David Seiler (Lake Land College), Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz (Eastern Illinois University)

1:00-1:50 pm: Grad School Confidential: True Tales From Faculty and Students
Curious about grad school? Wondering if you should go, but can’t make up your mind? Come hear faculty and current graduate students discuss the joys (and challenges) of MA and PhD programs.
Presenters: Dr. Terry Barnhart, Dr. José Deustua, Dr. Lynne Curry, Diane Hall, Kimberly Jones

11th Annual Barry D. Riccio Lecture on March 4

From the desk of Dr. Ed Wehrle:

Rick Perlstein, best-selling author, will deliver the 11th annual Barry D. Riccio Lecture, on March 4, 2015 in the Doudna Lecture Hall, Eastern Illinois University, 7pm. Titled “The Invisible Bridge: From Reagan to Palin and Beyond,” Mr. Perlstein will explore the rise of conservativism as a political force during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Called the “hypercaffeinated Herodotus of the American century,” by The Nation magazine, Perlstein has won numerous awards including the Los Angeles Times Book Award for History. He is the author of Before the Story: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001), Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of American Consensus  (2009), and most recently Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Ronald Reagan (2014).

RiccioPoster2015 (1)

This year’s Riccio talk is co-sponsored by the History Department and the EIU Honors College. The lecture series is named for Barry D. Riccio, a longtime member of the EIU History Department who died in 2001, at the age of 46. In tribute, his friends, family and colleagues established the Barry D. Riccio History Fund in his honor. In conjunction with the EIU Department of History, the fund sponsors a lecture series with an emphasis on the history of ideas. Beginning with the inaugural lecture in 2003, the generosity of fund donors has allowed the department to bring “many of the leading lights of American intellectual history” to Eastern’s campus.

Upcoming African American Heritage Month Panel: Images of Race in American History (Feb. 11)

From the desk of Dr. Charles Foy:

As recent events have demonstrated race significantly impacts all our lives.  How does the study of history illuminate our understanding of race as a construct? On Wednesday, February 11, three of Eastern’s history professors, Drs. Charles Foy, Lynne Curry and Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, will discuss how images of race – a colonial tobacco advertisement, a portrait of an 18th century black poet, a photograph of a 19th century reflect and a 20th century photograph of civil rights demonstrators – have shaped and reflect Americans’ construction of race.​

Images of Race in American History Panel

Telstar On the Road

Newton Key, "Telstar 60s" at Mattoon Depot, 13 November 2014

Newton Key, “Telstar 60s” at Mattoon Depot, 13 November 2014

Dr. Newton Key reflected on music from the 1960s in a joint session with Music Dept. professor, Jemmie Robertson as part of Booth Library’s series “Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s,” once at Booth Library on 12 November, and again the next evening at Mattoon Depot, 13 November. Dr. Key’s contribution, “Telstar 60s: Global Influences in American Pop,” noted that the early 60s internationalism of chart hits like “Dominique,” “Sukiyaki,” and the first ska-hit “My Boy Lollipop,” disappeared from the charts for a few years during the mid-60s as Beatles-inspired British Invasion made rock-based pop the order of the day. Such internationalism reappeared by the end of the decade, as his own memory of the appearance of the reggae hit “The Israelites” on Montgomery, Alabama radio attests. Future historians of Rihanna or Meghan Trainor, your training starts now.

Newton Key on Telstar 60s at Mattoon Depot

Graduate Students Attend Gala in Springfield

On Saturday, October 4 Brian Failing, Kimberly Jones, and Andrea Morgan, attended the Springfield Gala sponsored by the Graduate College at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) in Springfield, IL. This event brought together about 50 current graduate students, alumni, and administrators from across the university Mr. Failing, Ms. Morgan, and Ms. Jones attended this event as representatives of their programs. Brian is a student in the Historical Administration Master’s Program and Kimberley and Andrea are students in the traditional MA in History Program. After dinner, the students had the opportunity to tour the exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum.

From Left to Right: Andrea Morgan, Brian Failing, and Kimberly Jones with Abraham Lincoln and his family at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

From Left to Right: Andrea Morgan, Brian Failing, and Kimberly Jones with Abraham Lincoln and his family at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

One purpose of this event was to showcase the importance of graduate assistantships to students. Many students in the HA and History MA programs receive some form of assistantship, fellowship, or award that provides them with a tuition waiver, stipend, and real-world experience. Failing said “my graduate assistantship made my dream of earning my Masters a reality. Through this assistantship I have the ability to continue my education, pursue my research interests, and be an active practitioner in the museum and history fields.”



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”