History Major Newsletter - February 2018
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FOOTNOTES • February 2018

Dear Students

This month's Footnotes will highlight:

  • Congratulations to December '17 Graduates!
  • Events and Lectures
  • New Orleans Tricentennial
  • Documentary Film Series
  • Students in the News: Madeleine Swanstrom '18 and  Kathryn Cook '19
  • Exhibits to See....Archives to Explore
  • Grants and Opportunities 



December '17 History Majors and Minors

Alaire Bretz
David Gaidamak
Mary Gibbs
Roark Marks
Veronica Wilson

History in the News

Facebook, Fake News, and America: Social Media's Challenge to Democracy

A Conversation with Walter Isaacson

Thursday March 1st
Weatherhead Lounge
Pizza Provided

Celebrate New Orleans at 300!


Making New Orleans Home: A Tricentennial Symposium

Cokie Roberts, Kenote Speaker, NPR and ABC News political commentator

Thursday, March 8th, 6:30
McAllister Auditorium 

Along with this keynote event there will be activities throughout the weekend at Xavier University, the University of New Orleans, and the Monteleone Hotel.  Speakers include: Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, Walter Johnson, author of Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, and Sybil Morial.  

All events are free and open to the public. 

Lecture: Modern Middle East History

History, Territory, Identity: The Making of the 'Kurdish Question' in the Middle East


Nilay Özok-Gündoğan (Florida State University)

Tuesday, March 13th
Location, Hebert Hall 201

Özok-Gündoğan's work stands at the junction of interconnected Ottoman, Kurdish, and Armenian histories,  as opposed to dominant nationalist renderings of this period.  She approaches the conflict between the Ottoman (and later the Turkish) state and the Kurdish nobility not solely as an ethnic dispute but as a struggle for sovereignty over the autonomous economic and political realms of the Kurdish rulers.


Conceiving Equity: A Reproductive Politics Summit


J. Shoshanna Ehrlich, University of Massachusetts Boston

(Re)producing the Maternal Ideal: Abortion Laws and the Romancing of Motherhood"

Thursday, March 15th, 7pm
 Anna Many Lounge, Caroline Richardson Building

Conceiving Equity, the Annual Roe v. Wade Lecture, and the Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Internship program are generously supported by the Donna and Richard Esteves Fund for Women's Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health.

Documentary Film Series


The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Wednesday, February 21st
Hebert Hall 201

Fascinating, controversial true story of the conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976. In this groundbreaking documentary, director Errol Morris explores problems within the American justice system and makes the successful case for Adams’ innocence, getting him a reprieve from death row.

Nostalgia for Light (2010)

Wednesday, February 28th
Hebert Hall 201

A hypnotic and moving documentary centered on Chile's Atacama Desert where astronomers examine distant galaxies, archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations, and women dig for the remains of disappeared relatives.

The Act of Killing (2013)

Wednesday, March 7th
Hebert Hall 201

A brief but devastating genocidal war in Indonesia (1965-66) lead to the murder of a million people. Rather than hidden from memory, the death squad leaders behind these deaths are celebrated as heroes. In this chilling and inventive documentary, the director challenged some of these figures to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style of the American movies they love.

Hearts and Minds (1974)

Wednesday March 14th
Hebert Hall 201

A startling film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy that surrounded it. Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to footage of the conflict and the upheaval it occasioned on the home front—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting picture of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and wrenching.

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.

Students in the News 


Madeleine Swanstrom '18

I am extremely interested in cities and how they grow and change. So, it was a natural fit for me to write my senior honors thesis about the history of streetcar suburbs in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. I wanted not just to write about streetcars, but how they shaped urban development, as streetcars enabled people to live in suburbs and commute to the city for work.

Streetcar suburbs are older and denser than suburbs built around the automobile. I chose to write about Ferguson, a suburb built around the streetcar and commuter rail in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as a case study. Of course, Ferguson is widely known as the 2014 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, and the subsequent protests that eventually led to the founding of the Black Lives Matter Movement. I am also creating a hedonic index of property values in Ferguson since 2000 for Economics, my other major.
Researching and writing about Ferguson and its development as a suburb—from its beginnings before the Civil War as farmland to the present—has been enlightening, and oftentimes sobering, because Ferguson’s development cannot be separated from the systemic racial inequality rampant in St. Louis’ past and present. For example, I have learned that for decades, Kinloch, the suburb right next to Ferguson, was a majority-black suburb, while Ferguson was majority-white. However, in the 1990s, Lambert Airport bought up close to 90 percent of the homes in Kinloch for a noise-abatement program. Today, Kinloch, which was a thriving community for years, is a ghost town, one of the most dangerous places in St. Louis. I had never heard of Kinloch before beginning this project.
The project has taught me so many new skills that will be relevant after college. I am learning how to pull up and find census data, which is so thorough and detailed that it frequently amazes me. I am also teaching myself QGIS, which is open-source mapping software, to make maps to go along with the project. Learning GIS software is valuable for just about any field, but will be especially useful if I pursue urban planning after college. Through the project, I have built great relationships with my advisers; their input and guidance has helped to make the project reach its potential. I hope that my research illuminates how the Michael Brown shooting was not an isolated incident, but the product of forces that shaped Ferguson and greater St. Louis over centuries.

Kathryn Cook '19

I am standing in the World War II Museum in Kiev, Ukraine and my mouth is agape. At my feet lays a real, 5-foot tall Nazi-era German Eagle. A very real symbol of Fascist power. The wings are broken off and it lays on the floor, the first of a series of objects collected from the fall of Berlin, arranged in a path leading up to a giant, burning mural of the destroyed city. It is a part of the museum’s narrative of the “road” of war, which the visitor follows throughout all three floors. Even as a history major, someone who is fascinated by and who studies this era, this is not something that I had ever considered that I would actually see. Objects like this, so far from ever having touched the United States, seem to exist only in the far-off history of period photographs and footage. One would expect that it had nearly all been destroyed, not to find it sitting on the floor of a museum in a capital city, nearly intact. Even the National World War II Museum in New Orleans - a museum full of artifacts and plenty of swastikas - does not contain such an object. To an American, the physical existence of such an artifact is incredibly removed.

I began my study abroad experience with a large degree of uncertainty. I had decided at the very last minute that I would be spending my time in St. Petersburg, Russia and that I would spend an entire year there rather than just a semester. The whole idea was daunting. Until this point, I had never left the United States, and my Russian skills were nowhere near good enough to hold a conversation.

Now, half-way through my time here, I find that there is not a single moment that I regret. There have most certainly been ups and downs - I spent a night in a Russian hospital clinic being treated by a doctor who did not speak any English. I went to a public Баня (bathhouse and sauna) with my host mother and learned an entirely new way of thinking about modesty.  While traveling alone, I booked the wrong bus tickets and had to improvise last minute to get where I was supposed to be going - something that, in the past, would have given me an extreme amount of anxiety and maybe even a panic attack. Among all of these things, I have found an immense amount of happiness and knowledge. I have made some of the best friends of my life during this experience.

I have experienced colder weather, been to more places and understood more about people than I ever have in my life. I have learned that it is ok to make mistakes. Most importantly, I have learned that the way the United States thinks about Russia is incredibly flawed; our judgements and stereotypes about them - which we often don't even realize we have - are completely created by media and politics. There is no substitute for actually living and being with people. As my host mother once told me, “Americans and Russians get along well. I can sit here and have a good conversation with you and be your friend - all of the conflict comes from politics. It is all created by politics.”

These realizations and experiences all intertwine, in one way or another, with history. Russia is an incredibly historically-minded society. Monuments and memorials are everywhere. One of my favorites is a sign that stands in Площадь Восстания (Uprising Square) that reads “Город-герой Ленинград” (The heroic city of Leningrad). This sign pays homage to the Second World War - Leningrad being Petersburg, the city that survived a 900-day siege by Nazi forces, that survived, persevered, and won against Fascism at enormous, almost unimaginable cost.

The reason that I began with the museum in Kiev is this - history is everywhere. The museum in Kiev shows a moment of common history with Russia during the Second World War - as allies, as victims, as sufferers of Fascist terror, and as victors. The Eagle I saw in Kiev, although surprising, could have been found in a museum almost anywhere in Eastern Europe. But as monuments like the Голодомор (Hunger) monument (also in Kiev) show, there are conflicts in these histories. During the Winter of 1932-33, the Soviet Union under Stalin systematically starved and murdered millions of Ukrainians under the policy of collectivization. Despite the depicted unity, despite the name-plaque at the Kiev World War II Museum commemorating Ленинград (Leningrad) and countless other Soviet cities, which suffered and survived the war, this memory is not unitary.

Visiting these places shows the conflicts, the contradictions and the problems in common narratives of history that cannot as effectively be communicated in history books. The education that comes with travel, that comes with being steeped in the culture of these societies and of seeing how perspectives and narratives differ, not only challenges your own narrative of history, but brings a level of emotional understanding to the events that cannot be conveyed from the pages of a book, or even this article. It teaches you to connect to the history as a living subject, as something that still holds immediate importance in personal and cultural consciousness - as something undeniably and inseparably human. No matter the topic of interest, the era, or location, studying abroad shows just how important it is to challenge common narratives of history. It teaches the depth and diversity of humanity, sure to illuminate histories that you did not even know existed, and putting ones you thought you understood in a completely new light.

Exhibits to See....Archives to Browse...


Binding Wounds Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine

Louisiana Research Collection
Jones Hall, 2nd Floor

New Orleans the Founding Era

The Historic New Orleans Collection
533 Royal Street

LGBT Archives

Louisiana Research Collection
Read about the newly acquired archival collection from gay activists in New Orleans. 

Student Opportunities


Study Abroad

  • Agreement Deadline, February 16th
  • All accepted students have to confirm their participation in the study abroad program for Fall semester by this date.

Grants Opportunities

Newcomb-Tulane College

  • Undergraduate Research and Conference Travel Grants
  • Due dates: The monthly grant deadline is on the 15th of the month at 5:00 p.m. Applications submitted late and after the deadline will be considered during the following month’s cycle.
  • For more information:https://college.tulane.edu/grant

Newcomb College Institute

  •  Undergraduate student research grants.  Full-time, undergraduate Tulane University students (including those enrolled in 4+1 programs) who self-identify as women or gender minorities are eligible to apply for funding from the Newcomb College Institute. Funding for research grants is also available to any full-time, undergraduate student doing a women's or gender studies related project.
  • Due Date, March 1st
  • For more information: https://newcomb.tulane.edu/content/student-grants
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