Professors Connolly and Seefeldt Visit Cody, Wyoming for Digital Research Project

IMG_0181Back in mid-June, Ball State University Department of History faculty members Jim Connolly and Doug Seefeldt, along with their colleague John Fillwalk from the IDIA Lab, visited Cody, Wyoming to establish a grant partnership to research and develop “Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” with the Papers of William F. Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Initially funded by a BSU ADVANCE Proposal Development Program award, the project will develop in virtual, three-dimensional form, the most popular public spectacle in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, an international traveling exhibition that visited Muncie, Indiana on three separate occasion between 1899-1908. It will include live and scripted interpretive animations, as well as avatar-driven role-playing exercises that explore social dynamics circa 1890-1910. Users, acting through avatars, may for example purchase a ticket, watch and listen to the Buffalo Bill Band on the midway, and witness a performance by Annie Oakley. They will also encounter interpretations of social experience, such as popular reactions to Native American, Mexican, or African-American performers. While in Wyoming, in addition to visiting significant sites associated with William F. Cody like Yellowstone National Park, Connolly, Fillwalk, and Seefeldt made a presentation to the Buffalo Bill Museum Advisory Board that laid out the project and proposed a collaboration with Museum staff. This presentation resulted in a commitment of $25,000 in matching funds from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, while a stand-alone project, will be associated with the larger Virtual Middletown initiative, a recreation of Muncie, Indiana during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries based on the research presented in Middletown (1929). Virtual Middletown’s intent is to document in new ways the emergence of industrial society, focusing on the six areas of activity highlighted in Middletown research: work, home life, education, religion, leisure, and civic life. The Virtual Wild West module will serve as the leisure experience for the 1890s period. Connolly and Fillwalk have previously developed an initial version of this approach in a reconstruction of the Ball Brothers Glassmaking Company factory circa 1925, a prototype that experimented with approaches to embedding digitized sources within the virtual world and developing a web-based archive of original source material, including video, text, and photographs.

History graduate student Sadie Ritchie began working with professors Connolly and Seefeldt in May to identify some 200 pieces of supporting primary materials related to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West that will be used to create an accompanying digital archive of textual and visual material. The three of them also collaborated to produce several conceptual frameworks for organizing the materials in ways that can be effectively integrated with the virtual world. While there are innumerable examples of rich digital archives and a growing number of virtual worlds designed for scholarly purposes, the integration of the two remains a technical and design challenge, one that Connolly, Fillwalk, and Seefeldt propose to meet by developing the Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West module in a robust and innovative way. The research, archive creation, and virtual world development will continue during the 2014-15 academic year.

Social Studies Education Graduates get Hired

The following BSU graduates either obtained their first teaching positions or were hired at new schools for the 2014-2015 school year:

Emily DeBolt: Homestead High School, Ft. Wayne
Jesse Pruitt: Frankton High School
Evan Snyder: Carmel Middle School
Sara Starkey: New Castle Middle School
Michelle Subler: Carmel High School
Noel Sucese: Carmel High School
Richard Velde: Penn High School, Mishawaka​

James Simmons will serve as a residence counselor​ at Cambridge Institute, Hagerstown, MD.

Congratulations!

Professor Seefeldt Awarded Harvard Fellowship

In an unexpected, but very welcome phone call to his office phone minutes before class last spring, Ball State University Department of History faculty member Douglas Seefeldt was informed that he had been awarded a research fellowship to Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History for the 2014-15 academic year. Founded in 1965, the Charles Warren Center commemorates the distinguished lawyer and legal historian (Harvard class of 1889) through its mission to advance research in a broad range of American historical inquiry. The Warren Center has, over the nearly fifty years of its existence, brought hundreds of fellows to Harvard, of which Seefeldt is among the eight most recent to be so honored.

Joining Professor Seefeldt are new colleagues from Northeastern University, Columbia IMG_0424University, New York University, M.I.T., and Harvard University. Organized around a broad annual theme in American history, the 2014-15 theme is “Multimedia History and Literature: New Directions in Scholarly Design”.This is also the title of a year-long graduate seminar that the fellows participate in led by Harvard faculty Vincent Brown from the Department of History and African and African American Studies, and Glenda R. Carpio, from the Department of English and African American Studies. Professor Seefeldt will spend the year working on his Digital History research projects and aligned print publications, including “The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Memory,” that combines an interactive scholarly work that is a hybrid of archival materials related to the 1857 event and digital tool components that help visualize historiographically significant concerns in local Mormon, Utah, and broader western and American histories.

Professor Seefeldt and his family have relocated to the Cambridge, MA area for the year and are learning their way around Boston via public transportation while enjoying a pleasant New England fall!

Clio: Sept 17, 2014

Parkinson BookScott Parkinson’s book, The Impact of Western Civilization on World History, was published by Cognella Publishing in California late this past summer.  He contributed all of the introduction material for the individual units.

This summer saw publication of two articles and a book review by Abel Alves:
–     “Individuality and the Understanding of Animals in the Early Modern Spanish Empire,” in Animals and Early Modern Identity, ed. Pia Cuneo (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014), 271-290.
–     “The Animals of the Spanish Empire: Humans and Other Animals in Big History,” in Teaching and Researching Big History: Exploring a New Scholarly Field, ed. Leonid Grinin, David Baker, Esther Quaedackers and Andrey Korotayev (Volgograd: “Uchitel” Publishing House, 2014), 248-264.
–     And in the Journal of Latin American Studies 46:3 (August 2014): 594-596, a review of Centering Animals in Latin American History (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2013), edited by Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici.

GeelhoedBruce Geelhoed authored, “‘Oh, she’s a rather rough war, boys, but she’s better than no war at all': The Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the Diarists of the Rainbow Division” in Edward G. Lengel, ed., A Companion to the Meuse-Argonne Campaign (New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2014), 194-212.  It deals with the diaries written by four members of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division:  Vernon Kniptash, Elmer Sherwood, Pete Straub, and George Leach, during the period from October 4-15, 1918.  The chapter describes their impressions of the conflict that raged during the final weeks of World War I on the western front in France.

In September, Yaron Ayalon attended the Midwest Jewish Studies Association annual conference at Kent State University in Ohio. He presented a paper titled “Rethinking Leadership in Ottoman Jewish Communities.” The paper explains how Jewish communities in the eastern Mediterranean before the 19th century were loosely organized and had very informal leadership structures – a very different setting from the hierarchy that developed in the 19th century. The paper is an early product of Dr. Ayalon’s new research on 9781107072978ppc.inddJews in the Ottoman Empire, which will eventually become his second book. His first, Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Empire: Plague, Famine, and Other Misfortunes will appear in November with Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Frederick Suppe on the Scottish Referendum and Recent Accomplishments

SuppeFrederick Suppe was interviewed on September 15th by Network Indiana News at WIBC Radio in Indianapolis about the impending Scottish referendum on political independence for that country.  On September 18, 2014 voters in Scotland, which is currently part of the United Kingdom, will vote in a referendum on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Prior to 1707 Scotland was independent and this referendum will decide whether it will remain part of the United Kingdom or will revert to separate, politically independent status.  Scotland has a total population of about 5.3 million and 4.1 million Scottish voters aged 16 and older are eligible to vote in this referendum, including roughly 600,000 who have arranged to vote by mail.  The total population of the United Kingdom is now 64.1 million, with the English numbering about 53 million.  Thus, the Scots are a bit more than 8% of the population of the entire UK.  Recent polls of the voters suggest a slight majority will vote to remain part of the UK, but there remain many “undecided” voters, so the result could go either way.  At present, Scotland has its own Parliament with some devolved political power.  The Scottish Nationalist Party currently dominates this Parliament and its leader, Alex Salmond, has been a forceful advocate for Scottish independence.

Fred Suppe was also recently selected as a member of the Editorial Review Board for The Medieval Review, which is an online journal currently based at Indiana University and which publishes reviews of books on a wide range of medieval topics.  The Editorial Review Board advises the editors about commissioning appropriate expert scholars to review recently published books.

Fred Suppe has once again accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the Fulbright National Selection Committee for Ireland this academic year.  He has served on this committee twice previously.  The committee will meet in New York City later this semester to review more than 70 applications from scholars applying for Fulbright Fellowships to support research in Ireland and will recommend perhaps 4 to 6 applicants to the Irish government to receive fellowships for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. Ken Hall’s Summer Abroad and at Home

Ken Hall presented a University lecture on “Commodity Flows and Diaspora Networking in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region, c. 800-1500” at the University of Michigan Sept. 12.  His presentation KHallSummer2014represented his current research on early Indian Ocean networking among the Ocean’s regional (Middle East, East Coast Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China, Japan, and Korea) sectors and diverse communities that exchanged commodities and ideas prior to Western entry in the post-1500 era.

Over the past summer Ken Hall has done research and made presentations in Korea and Singapore, based in new “borderless society” historiography that places emphasis on wider interactive regional space rather than one bounded competitive political domains.   In Singapore, he had “hands on” opportunity to view the remains of a 9th-century Indian Ocean shipwreck that was recovered off the Java coastline (and advised on how to best display these remains in the Singapore National Museum), as this factors into his study of contemporary inscriptional evidence from south India ports-of-trade that were transit points on the Middle East to China maritime network, and other regional archeological evidence.Field Museum June 2014

In addition, Ken Hall worked with the museum staff at the Field Museum in Chicago to identify artifacts and develop their presentation of a 13th-century Indian Ocean shipwreck cargo that the Field Museum recently acquired.  During July and early August he reviewed international studies grant proposals (focal on South and Southeast Asia) in Washington, D.C. for the United States Department of Education and Fulbright Research programs.

Dr. Sergei Zhuk on Soviet Culture and Cold War History

Jeffrey Brooks, Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, and Sergei Zhuk in Baltimore, the end of August, 2014

Jeffrey Brooks, Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, and Sergei Zhuk in Baltimore, the end of August, 2014

Sergei Zhuk  (with Jeffrey Brooks)​  published a new article: “The Distinctiveness of Soviet Culture, 1932-1992,”  in the Oxford Handbook of Modern Russian History, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 48 pages. Using various archival documents, memoirs, diaries, periodicals and more than 70 personal interviews with contemporaries of the events, this essay is an attempt to show the paradoxes of the cultural Cold War in Soviet consumption of the American visual media – films and television from the United States.

“The quintessentially Soviet element of cultural development in the USSR between 1932 and 1991 was Socialist Realism. The period prior to the 1930s was its preface and that from the mid-1950s a long post-script. By the mid-1980s, Soviet publics had moved irreversibly beyond Socialist Realism in all the arts, and no viable new contender could assume the particularist mantle. The best official offerings to compete with new Western movements after 1945 were too little and too late. In the absence of a viable particularist contender and with institutions of isolationism eroding, Soviet culture inexorably drew closer to its counterparts abroad. By 1991 it had been gone so long that its formal passing was hardly noticed.”

Sergei Zhuk will also have an article published this month in Cold War History titled: “Hollywood’s Insidious Charms: The Impact of American Cinema and Television on the Soviet Union during the Cold.” Cold War History, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 4, 24 pages.

Revised AP U.S. History Framework for Teachers

The College Board recently revised the AP United States History (APUSH) Framework and began implementation this fall. Critics of these revisions have raised their voice in opposition, prompting responses in support of the Framework by the National Council for History Education, the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians.

Read reports on criticism of the Framework in Newsweek and Education Week.
Read the NCHE Position Statement.
Read the AHA Position Statement.
Read the OAH Position Statement.
View the APUSH Framework.
Information from History News Network.
Responses from the College Board here and here.

News from Our Public History Program Spring and Summer 2014

Two of our Public History majors completed internships during the spring semester.  Andrew Luce interned at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. The highlight involved his researching and helping fabricate the exhibition Spies, Lies and Paranoia: Americans in Fear, which interpreted Cold War-era spycraft and anti-Communist witch hunts. Andrew was even pictured in a front page Kansas City Star article standing next to the exhibit’s introductory panel.  His three site supervisors stated in Andrew’s performance evaluation that he was the best intern they had had in twenty years!

Lukas Ramey also interned at a presidential museum: the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, which preserves the house that Harrison lived in before and after he served in the oval office.  Lukas developed a smart-phone walking tour app that interprets the surrounding historic neighborhood.  He also developed two educational programs for middle-school students, one that teaches math and geography skills by tracing Harrison’s early 1890s cross-country trip by rail and the other on Indiana history, entitled Crossroads of America.  His site supervisors deemed his contributions to be “indistinguishable from those of staff members” in terms of their quality and professionalism.

We had four students do internships over the summer semester.  Erin Bretz was the first intern we have placed at Minnetrista in several years.  She processed several archival collections and also worked in the object collections area, where she did cataloguing and helped with inventorying, photographing, and the storage of artifacts.  Frank Lacopo had much the same archival and curatorial duties at South Bend, Indiana’s Center for History.  He catalogued hundreds of objects and re-housed them in the collections storage area, while also assisting with the installation a new exhibit. Luke McNamee interned at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.  He reviewed proposed projects protected under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, coordinated with a Department-wide committee to improve its social media presence, and digitized records for uploading to the Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database. Christina Newhart became the first intern we have placed at Mounds State Park in Anderson, Ind. where she served as an interpretive ranger.  She planned programs for the Summer Solstice, involving members of the Miami Nation of Indiana at the site of the Great Mound, and also for Hoosier Heritage Days and helped staff the State Parks booth at the Indiana State Fair.  Her primary project involved creating an interpretive plan for the park’s 19th-century Bronnenberg House.

News from our alumni include Andrew Luce’s recent announcement that after graduating this past May, he was hired to a full-time position as Development Assistant at the Asia Society Houston Center in Texas.  Another of our May graduates, Lyssa Falk, who took Prof. Doug Seefeldt’s Digital History course, has joined the staff of HistoryIT in Indianapolis (where she is a colleague of PHP alumnus Jacob Dobbs [B.S.’12]).  Heather Williams has been appointed Manager of Muncie’s Building Better Neighborhoods Program, which is affiliated with Ball State’s Building Better Communities Program.  Michelle Fullenkamp (B.A. with Honors, ‘09)  is Volunteer Coordinator and Interpretive Assistant at The Clubhouse-Jackson Hole Children’s Museum in Jackson, Wy.  Allison (Siekman) Kartman is now Youth Services Librarian at the Hamilton East Public Library in  Noblesville, Ind.  And Nicole Griffetts (B.A. ‘13), who is Education Coordinator at the Allen County-Fort Wayne (Ind.) History Center, has been accepted into Masters in Public Management Program at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.  Jenn Collins (B.A. ‘14) has been hired as Publication Manager for several neighborhood magazines in both Indianapolis and West Lafayette, Ind.

For more information about our Public History program contact Michael Doyle.