History Major Newsletter - April 2018
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FOOTNOTES • April 2018

Dear Students

This month's Footnotes will highlight:

  • New Classes, Summer Classes, and Sophomore Seminar with Walter Isaacson
  • 4+1 Program
  • Upcoming Events and Lectures
  • Documentary Film Series
  • Students in the News:  Jacob Morrow-Spitzer '18 and Gillian Mays, '18
  • Faculty in the News: Yigit Akin and Blake Gilpin
  • Paid Summer Internship, Amistad Research Center
  • Grants and Publishing Opportunities 

Register for Classes!


It's time to register for classes -- see the History Department's Fall Course Brochure here.


....and don't forget your methods seminar!

HISL 3910 History of Science and Technology (Methods Seminar), Prof. Cruz
HISU 3910 U.S. Social History (Methods Seminar), Prof. Haugeberg 

New Seminar: Writing Biography, Prof. Walter Isaacson

Mondays 3:00-5:30
Preference will be given to rising sophomores.

This seminar will explore the writing of biography and narrative history. The focus will be on how to produce a carefully researched and edited work of narrative that provides rigorous training in writing skills.
This is a small, discussion-based, writing-intensive class.  Students are admitted into the seminar by application only.  For an application, click here.  
Applications should be submitted by email to: Lindsey Billips, Lbillips@tulane.edu.

Applications are due on: Monday, April 9th.

Summer Classes


Staying in New Orleans this summer?  Take a summer class.

First Session, May 29-June 29th

HISL 2910, DIY History: Latin America, Prof. Cruz, MTWRF, 3-4:30pm
Learn skills in both archival research and digital techniques like 3D printing and web media. Students will work on a collaborative project with physical objects from archives at Tulane, making reproductions to create an interactive museum exhibit – both physical and online. The class will meet at the Latin American Archive and the Tulane Makerspace. No previous skills required.

HISU 2910, Slavery, Monuments, Public Policy, Prof. Adderley, MTWRF, 9-10:30am
This course will explore public, history, public memory and public policies related to the history of slavery and the slave trade in New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as elsewhere in the United States. Topics will include the recent debates over Confederate monuments in New Orleans, and also international debates about paying reparations for slavery in the Americas.  Class includes local trips to public history sites.

Second Session, July 2nd-August 3rd

HISC 2020, History of China, Prof. Demare, MTWRF 1-2:30
This course introduces the main themes in Chinese history from heights of the Qing dynasty to the end of the twentieth-century.  Students first explore the political, social, economic, and cultural trends of the late imperial era before moving on to an in-depth examination of twentieth-century China. 

4+1 Program


Interested in completing a Master’s degree in History in one year?

The 4+1 program allows Tulane students to quickly earn a Master’s degree without the hassle of taking the GRE. The program is available to students who have completed 3 or 4 6000-level history courses with a B or above to take one additional year of coursework to complete a Master’s degree.

You do not need to be a History major in order to do the 4+1 program. The 4+1 program has a reduced tuition cost. A Frequently Asked Questions sheet is available here. If you have questions or would like to apply, please contact Professor Blake Gilpin.

The Deadline is: April 16th.



Yến Lê Espiritu, UC, San Diego


Feminist Refugee Epistemology: Reading Displacement in Vietnamese and Syrian Refugee Art

Professor Espiritu has published extensively on Asian American identities and politics, gender and migration, and U.S. colonialism and wars in Asia. Her most current book, Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) (UC Press, 2014).

Monday, April 16th
Dinwiddie 102

History in the News


Political Extremism and Nationalism in India

A Conversation with Professor Subah Dayal

6pm, Tuesday, April 17th
Weatherhead Lounge
Pizza Provided!!!



Presidential Historian
Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a renowned presidential historian, contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, contributing editor at TIME, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Meacham’s latest book, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, was a #1 New York Timesbestseller and is available now in hardcover and paperback from Random House. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.

Meacham is also the author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,  Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, and Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship.

Thursday, April 19
1–2 p.m.
2 Audubon Place



Chantalle Verna, Florida International University

Newcomb Graduate, Global Citizen Coffee & Conversation with Alumna

Wednesday 25th April, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Newcomb College Institute
7025 Freret Street

Professor Chantalle Verna graduated from Newcomb College (now a part of the Newcomb-Tulane College) in 1996. She loved her time at Tulane and in New Orleans and is eager to talk with current students and local alumnae about how her time at Newcomb and in New Orleans has shaped her life in the two decades since her graduation.

This is part of a periodic series by the Program in Africana Studies, focused on how interdisciplinary and area studies lead Newcomb-Tulane graduates into fascinating and fulfilling lives in a variety of professions.

Haiti and the Uses of America: Post-U.S. Occupation Promises

Thursday, April 26th
Stone Center for Latin American Studies

Professor Verna (Ph.D. Michigan State University) will discuss her recently published book, Haiti and the Uses of America.  Professor Verna focuses on the culture of foreign relations, specifically concerning Haiti and the United States during the mid-twentieth century.

Documentary Film Series


The Black Power Mixtape (2011)

Wednesday March 21st
Hebert Hall 201


During the rise of The Black Power Movement in the 60s and 70s, Swedish Television journalists documented the unfolding cultural revolution for their audience back home. Includes never-before-seen interviews with key figures like Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton.

Waltz with Bashir (2012)

Wednesday, April 4th
Hebert Hall 201

An emotional attempt to decipher the horrors that unfolded one night in September of 1982, when Christian militia members massacred more than 3,000 Palestinian refugees in the heart of Beirut as Israeli soldiers surrounded the area.

Poverty, Inc. (2014)

Wednesday, April 11th
Hebert Hall 201

From social entrepreneurship to foreign aid, this documentary examines the rise of charity as a multibillion-dollar poverty industry and the hidden side of “doing good.”

Going Clear (2015)

Wednesday, April 18th
Hebert Hall 201

Based on Lawrence Wright's best-selling book of the same title, Alex Gibney's documentary delves into one of the most controversial and secretive religions in the world, exploring Scientology’s origins, recruiting practices, and its present-day activities.

Students in the News 


Jacob Morrow-Spitzer '18

In the twenty-five years after Reconstruction, at least thirty Jews – many of whom had emigrated from Germany and France before the Civil War – served as mayors of towns and cities across the former Confederate states. Astonishingly, at least thirteen Jewish mayors governed towns in Louisiana and Mississippi alone, states which likely had a Jewish population of less than two percent in the postbellum years. My senior honors thesis aims to study the reasoning behind this unlikely political trend and reveal that municipal Reconstruction can better be understood by studying a non-black minority group in the racially turbulent and economically distressed era. My thesis follows the political careers of Jewish mayors in three different towns, shifting chronologically from the start of the 1870s through the early 1880s.
To better understand this unstudied intersection of Reconstruction and southern Jewish history, I applied for, and was awarded, grants from both the Tulane Honors Program and Newcomb-Tulane College to travel to regional and local archives across the South. This summer, the Honors Program presented me with the Jean Danielson Memorial Grant to perform initial research for my proposed study. I used the funds to travel to Natchez, Mississippi, where I spent two days at the Historic Natchez Foundation studying the Jewish community. I then spent two days in Charleston, South Carolina at the Southern Jewish Historical Society examining a more regional trend of Jewish political leaders.
This past fall, Newcomb-Tulane College granted me the Liberal Arts Research Award to spend a week in Jackson, Mississippi. I traveled to the state capital in late December and divided my time between the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Institute for Southern Jewish Life. The state archive allowed me access to nearly every surviving historical newspaper, all of which are kept on microfilm in the main reading room. The history department at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life – a non-profit umbrella organization aimed to promote and preserve Jewish culture and religion across the South – invited me to sift through their archival documents collected from other regional archives. I was also able to meet with historians and experts who study in similar fields as well as visit the recently opened and nationally acclaimed Civil Rights Museum.  

Gillian Mays '18

My name is Gillian Mays and I’m a senior History/Anthropology double major. I’ve always been fascinated by the way our society treats our past, especially our dead, and how that reflects on our lives in the present. This semester, I’m in “Visual History and Filmmaking” with Professor Justin Wolfe. I was drawn to this class because history is often viewed as something that is over and done. It’s important, maybe, but not particularly relevant. Documentary film is a rare medium where historians can contextualize their scholarship within a framework of the present to challenge this, making it clear that the story continues. There are so many layers to a documentary—the past and the present, the artistic and the educational, the certain and the unknown. To understand how all of these interact and the role film plays in our understanding of history is a valuable skill to have as modern-day historians. It makes watching the history channel a lot more fun, too.

The documentary project I'm working on for “Visual History and Filmmaking” focuses on something that embodies the past in the most physical sense: a graveyard. My production teammates—Gus Ritchart and Ryan Singer—and I are exploring the history of Holt Cemetery. Holt is a “potter’s field”, meaning that it primarily serves the indigent, forgotten, and poor. Because of financial constraints, it’s one of the only underground graveyards in New Orleans, a city famous for its impressive marble necropolises. It’s lack of ostentatious memorials is part of what makes Holt Cemetery historically important. Popular attention is drawn to more well-known cemeteries like St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which famously appeared in the film Easy Rider. But these “cities of the dead” tell only part of the story of life and death in New Orleans. The underground burials and rich soil of Holt Cemetery mean that there’s a high rate of turnover in the plots, resulting in family graves that are actively passed down through generations. Grave markers are hand-crafted, individualized works of art that reflect the person they honor. It’s a fascinating, deeply local place, filled with memorials that come straight from the community and tell countless stories about the less wealthy people often missing from historical memory.

What better way to examine such a multi-faceted location like this than with a historical documentary? Holt Cemetery is a place with a profound yet underappreciated connection to New Orleans’ history. I’m excited to see it through the filmmaker’s lens.

Faculty in the News

Congratulations to Professor Yigit Akin on the publication of his book, When the War Came Home (Stanford University Press, 2018).

When the War Came Home reveals the catastrophic impact of this global conflict on ordinary Ottomans. Drawing on a wide range of sources—from petitions, diaries, and newspapers to folk songs and religious texts—Yiğit Akın examines how Ottoman men and women experienced war on the home front as government authorities intervened ever more ruthlessly in their lives.  

Jadaliyya, recently interviewed Professor Akin about his book, click here to read this interview.  

In Fall 2017, C-Span visited Professor Blake Gilpin's class in Eating and Drinking in History.  Check out Professor Gilpin's lecture on Moonshine and Southern Culture.

He described how after the Civil War, particularly in the South, moonshiners became anti-government folk heroes. This mythology continued into the 20th century and advent of automobiles. Many of the moonshine drivers would compete to see who had the fastest car, and this led to the creation of professional stock car racing.

Paid Internship Opportunity, Summer


Amistad Research Center, Digital Projects Intern

This is a paid internship position of $10/hr for up to 10 hours per week. The starting date is May 21, 2018.

For More information, click here.

Applications Due: April 16th. 

The digital projects intern position at the Amistad Research Center (ARC) is responsible for the creation of digital content for an independent archives focusing on the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights. 

Intern must have a strong knowledge and understanding of the digital media landscape, including a variety of social media platforms, and an interest in history.

Student Opportunities


Grants Opportunities

Newcomb-Tulane College

Publishing Opportunity 

  • The Penn History Review (PHR) Editorial Board is now accepting submissions for its Spring 2018 issue!
  • The PHR is a biannual publication of the University of Pennsylvania History Department featuring undergraduate historical research.
  • The PHR will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis through Friday, April 6th.
  •  Papers must be at least twelve pages double-spaced, 12-point font, and distinguish between primary and secondary sources in a works cited page.
  •  Please send all submissions and any questions you may have to PHRsubmissions@gmail.com. We look forward to reading your work!  
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