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Recent NewsHoxie 150

THE CELEBRATION HAS BEGUN! On Tuesday, Feb 28th, the Sesquicentennial Kickoff was held at Krannert Center with a reception and book signing by Emeritus Professor Fred Hoxie who 150 bookwas the editor of The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation.





CHECK OUT It's a brand new website launched by the National Baseball Hall of Fame with la Vida baseballour own Professor Adrian Burgos, Jr. as editor in chief. In his words it showcases, "Latino voices, Latino passion and Latino perspectives". Congratulations Adrian!

DON'T MISS Professor Adrian Burgos, Jr on WILL (AM-580) The 21st Show this Wednesday, 3/1/17 at 11:40 am to talk about the launch of La Vida Baseball, a new multi-channel digital venture on Latinos and Baseball that is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the Editor-in-Chief of La Vida, and it goes live on Wednesday morning.


The History Department is deeply committed to the scholarly exchange of ideas and people across national borders and divisions. The department has been immeasurably enriched by international students, faculty and visiting scholars, who hail from countries and regions around the world. Their contribution has transformed our intellectual community and our understanding of methods and approaches for producing historical knowledge. The History Department, like any institution of higher learning, could not thrive without the diversity provided by these exchanges and these outstanding individuals.

In recognition of these principles, the department voted unanimously to endorse the recent American Historical Association statement regarding the President's Executive Order provisionally barring refugees and visa-holders seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. The statement can be found here:


Don't miss Afrolatinos: An Untaught History. Free screening followed by Q & A with Emmy award winning director Renzo Davia.

Wednesday, Feb 22nd; 5:00-7:00 pm

Foellinger Auditorium


mumford bookNOT STRAIGHT, NOT WHITE... by Professor Kevin Mumford has just been named a Stonewall Honor book in the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award category. Please join us in congratulating Kevin on this prestigious book award!

CONGRATULATIONS to Professor Peter Fritzsche whose newest book, An Iron Wind: Europe Under Hitler, just had a fabulous review in The Wall Street Journal.


PROFESSOR ADRIAN BURGOS, JR. is featured in the premiere of "Cuba: Island of Baseball". Don't miss it on December 13th, 9 pm ET on the MLB Network.


mumford picThe Windy City Times recently spoke with Professor Kevin Mumford regarding his newest book, Not Straight, Not White.




AsakaJOIN US IN CONGRATULATING Professor Ikuko Asaka who was just named as a Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors Scholar.




ANNOUNCING our NEW MINOR in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, & MEDICINE IN SOCIETY. (opens in a new window)13Make an appointment with Wendy Mathewson 14today to talk about the requirements and how you can benefit from it.

FuWilsonTHE DAILY ILLINI recently posted this story in which Professor Poshek Fu15 and Professor Rod Wilson16 discuss their styles of teaching in a multicultural classroom of Chinese and American students. Professors balance American student, Chinese student classroom needs.17


MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW for The SymesLECTURE. (opens in a new window)18 Thursday, October 20th Professor Carol Symes19 will be giving this speciallecture you don't want to miss. All are invited to attend.





BurgosProfessor Adrian Burgos recently had an interview with WILL radio talking about African Americans in major league baseball20.





Fall 16 grad classJoin us in welcoming the Fall 2016 Graduate Class. Adam LoBue, Adrian van der Velde, Lisa Mercer, Thomas Day and Taryn Vaughn. Nicholas Ortiz is not pictured.





THANK YOU to Professor Emeritus Richard (Chip) Burkhardt and Jayne Burkhardt for the generous donation to create the Burkhardt Scholarships of which four (4) $2500 awards will be given each year to deserving undergraduate History majors.


Chip Burkhardt is an emeritus professor of history and former chair of the department. He had a love for being in the classroom teaching history of science to undergrads and took on the challenge of trying to get students from a wide range of fields to think historically. He was well-liked by students and this was proven when he twice received the All-Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Chip's research focuses on the history of science and biology, especially evolutionary theory, mostly in eighteenth-century Europe. He is the author of The Spirit of System: Lamarck and Evolutionary Biology (1995) and Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen and the Founding of Ethology (2005).

Thank you to Chip and Jayne for their most generous donation that will benefit undergraduate students for the next ten (10) years.

ReaganA MINUTE WITH Professor Leslie Reagan comparing a 1960s epidemic with the current Zika scare.

HertzmanA MINUTE WITH Professor Mark Hertzman as he discusses Samba, the music of Brazil, just in time for the opening of the Rio Olympics.

Congratulations to Professor Bob Morrissey who has been selected as a Conrad Humanities Scholar by the College of LAS.Morrissey


Professor Bob Morrissey recently gave a lecture to the East Central Illinois Archaeological Society about some important Native Illinois artifacts, a group of decorated hide robes made sometime in the colonial period. His talk was called "Hiding in the Tallgrass: Painted Hide Robes from Contact-Era Illinois."

convocation 16

CONVOCATION 2016 was held on May 14th and it was a beautiful and joyous day! Pictures and the video can be viewed at the above link.

Professor Kevin Mumford mumfordwas recently interviewed by NBC NEWS about why he chose to write his newest book, NOT STRAIGHT, NOT WHITE: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis.

HertzmanProfessor Marc Hertzman recently wrote an article for NY Magazine regarding the impending impeachment of Brazil's President.

Burgos baseball

UPDATED: Watch the premiere of the Big Ten Network's documentary on Professor Adrian Burgos' research on Latinos and Baseball on May 21st, approximately 6 pm.** In case you missed it, see it here.


role-playingWITH GREAT EXCITEMENT we announce our 2 newest courses being offered for the first time in Fall 2016! REACTING TO THE PAST is a great tool in supporting cross-disciplinary thinking, teamwork and problem-solving. Only 30 spots available per course - reserve your space now. HIST 102A and HIST 102B.


Professor Kevin Mumford recently spoke with a member of the Counter Narrative Project regarding his new book: Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis. The Counter Narrative Project is a nonprofit collective dedicated to social justice and visibility around black gay issues.


The news keeps coming! Join us in congratulating Barnes picProfessor Terri Barnes who has been awarded a Fulbright US Scholar grant for 2016-2017 with funding to go to Zimbabwe later this year and in 2017.




CONGRATULATIONS to Professor Harry Liebersohn who has been awarded the extremely prestigious Humboldt Research Award, a lifetime Liebersohnachievement prize in recognition of exceptional achievements in research and teaching. The award comes from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany.

The Daily Illini reporter Samantha Jones Crowston picrecently spoke with our Chair, Clare Crowston, regarding the recent decline in Humanities majors.


The Dept of History celebrated the Annual Awards Reception on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Congratulations to all of the award recipients.

Tabrizi pic

IT IS WITH GREAT PRIDE, that we are able to announce another award for one of our very own! Professor BEHROOZ GHAMARI TABRIZI 10has been chosen as a recipient of the LAS Humanities Council Teaching Excellence Award. 11Join us in congratulating Behrooz on this distinguished award.


The History Department's executive committee met this afternoon (Monday, April 18, 2016) and issued the following statement:

On behalf of the History Department, the elected Executive Committee expresses its support for our colleagues in the NTFC (Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition Local #6546) and calls upon the university administration to bargain in good faith with them. We wholeheartedly support the right of non-tenure faculty to participate in lawful work action without retaliation. If you would like to stand in solidarity with them, please follow this link:

On April 5th, the History Department held its Second Annual Soapbox. The house was packed, and the participants kept the crowd laughing, applauding, and engaged throughout. Clare Crowston, our department chair, won first prize, followed by Anqi Pan, a first-year undergraduate, and Tony Pomonis, a university development officer. Graduate student Beth Eby won the unofficial “People’s Choice” award, though a number of other contestants could lay the same claim. Phi Alpha Theta judged the event, and everyone is looking forward to next year. Get your book ready! You can see the list from this year's participants here.


BurgosProfessor Adrian Burgos was a guest on WILL's "The 21st Show". Listen as he discussed the debut of the PBS documentary on Jackie Robinson, for which he served as an advisor, and Cuban-US relations through baseball.



PLEASE JOIN US IN APPLAUDING two of our faculty who have won prestigiuos 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships!

MathisenProfessor RALPH MATHISEN won for the Classics Field of Study and

Koslofsky pic


Professor CRAIG KOSLOFSKY for the Intellectual and Cultural History Field of Study. Link to the press release.


LISTEN to this StoryCorps discussion with nobili Professor MAURO NOBILI regarding his research and linguistic challenges on the city of Timbuktu.



CONGRATULATIONS to Professor TAMARA CHAPLIN who has been awarded an NEH Summer Stipend for 2016 for her project, "Desiring Women: ChaplinLesbians, Media, and the Struggle for Gay Rights in Postwar France." Summer Stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both.



BurgosA MINUTE WITH Professor ADRIAN BURGOS, JR.. discussing baseball talent from Cuba following the recent visit of President Obama to Cuba.

BE SURE TO WATCH WILL-TV on Monday, March 14th during the annual fund drive in the 9-10:30 pm airing of the Minnie Minoso documentary, "Baseball Has Been Very, Very Good to Me"to see our very own Professor ADRIAN BURGOS, JR.. He will appear during station breaks as well as in the documentary.


CONGRATULATIONS TO Professor HARRY LIEBERSOHN who has been selected as a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin for spring 2017.Liebersohn The academy brings together scholars, artists and policymakers with the goal of furthering trans-Atlantic relations. Each semester, the academy invites a dozen prize fellowships for outstanding recipients from the U.S. Liebersohn is the first faculty member from the U. of I. to receive this honor.



A MINUTE WITH Professor Peter Fritzsche. In the wake of the opening of the movie "Race" which tells the story of Jesse Owens Olympic run Peter Fritzsche picgives his thoughts on the 1936 Olympics in Adolf Hitler's Berlin.



BurtonJOIN US IN CONGRATULATING Professor Antoinette Burton who has been named Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) effective March 16, 2016.



CONGRATULATIONS TO Professor Kevin Mumford Mumford picwhose book Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men fromthe March on Washington to the Aids Crisis (release date March '16) was just named by the Guardian on its list of top reads for Black History Month, hailing it as beautifully written and equally “brilliant" “genius” and “indispensable” as his earlier book, Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century <> . The piece is at:



PROFESSOR LESLIE REAGAN spoke withAnna Maria Tremonti of CBC Radio, The Current, as partoftheir program on Zika virus, Brazil,and the current discussion ofabortion. Her contribution to press coverage of these issues includes quotes in The Guardian and on NPR.


MorrisseyWe are DELIGHTED to ANNOUNCE Professor Bob Morrissey has been named as a 2016-2017 Helen Corley Petit Scholar by the College of LAS. The award is the result of a generous endowment from the late Mrs. Petit, an alumna of the college, to support the development of the scholarship and teaching of early career faculty members in LAS. Please join us in congratulating Bob on this honor.


The Dept of History is mourning the loss of two Emeriti:

E Dawn picErnest Dawn,Professor Emeritus in the Department of History,passed away in Seattle inearly January at the age of 97. Known to all as Ernie, he taught at Illinois from 1949 until his retirement in 1989. Ernie earned an international reputation as a careful andmethodical scholar and researcher in the origins of Arab nationalism in Syria, the history of the Greater Syria concept, and Arab intellectual history. He is best known for his pioneering book From Ottomanism to Arabism: Essays on the Origins of Arab Nationalism(University of Illinois Press, 1973). He is survived by his daughters, Julia Dawn Kuykendall and Carolyn Dawn, and three grandchildren. The obituary can be viewed here.

John R. Dahl, Professor Emeritus in History at Illinois, passed away on January 15, 2016 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He came to j dahl pic the department in 1967, mainly to supervise the advising of students preparing for a career in secondary history and social studies instruction as well as those in the M.A. in Teaching program. During his tenure in the department, the Teacher Education-Social Studies curriculum reached a peak enrollment of over five hundred majors. Before retiring in 1990, he also served as Associate Chair of the department (1972-78). He is survived by his wife, Violet, two daughters, Maureen Newman of Champaign and Lisa (Brian) McClean of Coral Springs, FL, two grandsons and two great-grandchildren. The obituary can be viewed here.

We are delighted to announce that Emily Skidmore6 ,PhD 2011, has won the Audre Lorde essay prize from the AHA,7 which recognizes an outstanding article on LGBT history published in English. Emily currently has a tenure track position in History at Texas Tech and her book is forthcoming in the next year or so.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Professor Emeriti Lillian Hoddeson 8as her new book, "Tunnel Visions" made the Physics World's shortlist for 10 best physics books of 20159.

THE JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY featured an article by Professor Bob Morrissey10 in the Dec 2015 issue. The article, "The Power of the Ecotone: Bison, Slavery, and the Rise and Fall of the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia"11 is available open access through the link above.

Professor Jimena Canales' book, "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate that Changed our Understanding of Time," has recently been chosen as one of the best science books of 2015.

avrutin pic PLEASE JOIN US IN APPLAUDING Professor Eugene Avrutin who has been awarded an NEH Fellowship for 2016-17 for his project, "The Velizh Affair: Ritual Murder in a Russian Border."The National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships are among the most distinguished and competitive in the nation - for any discipline or field.

book image

CONGRATULATIONS TO PROFESSOR Ken Cuno on being awarded the 2015 Albert Hourani Book Prize for his book: Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth - and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt. This is a prestigious and extremely competitive award and we are so thrilled to celebrate one of our own receiving it.

Professor Jimena Canales has just had two pieces on Einstein published. The first, is a blog in Princeton University Press, entitled "ThanksEinstein: Jimena Canales on the ideal figure of Einstein"; and the second is in The New Yorker and entitled, "Albert Einstein's Sci-Fi Stories".

Brosseder picPlease join us in welcoming our newest faculty member, Professor Claudia Brosseder. Claudia specializes in Colonial Latin American history. We are so delighted to announce that Claudia Brosseder has been awarded the American Academy of Religion’s 2015 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Historical Studies. Dr. Brosseder, who joins us as Assistant Professor of History in November, received the award for her book, The Power of Huacas: Change and Resistance in the Andean World of Colonial Peru. (The AAR is a 9,000-member interdisciplinary association for scholars of religion). The Hispanic American Historical Review has designated this book as a "major contribution with a profundity rarely found in the scholarly literature on the topic." The review can be found here.

DON'T MISS THIS SPECIAL LECTURE by Professor Peter Fritzsche. Wednesday, November 18th at 7 pm, 2nd floor ballroom at the Illini Union.

PROCESS - The online blog for OAH is featuring Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, PhD 2010, discussing her current book project, Tough Politics: Criminalization and Degraded Citizenship in 1970s America.

cat newspaper picWe all have things we can't live without. Journalist Erik Moshe spoke with Historians from several major universities about the tools they require to complete their work. He posted the responses in this article from History News Network. "Things Historians Can't Live Without."


The Daily Illini recently posted this thought- provoking article on the value of an LAS education. "Springboard your career with a liberal major" written by LAS freshman, Minju Park.

Don't miss this blog on "30 Reasons it's Smart to Hire a History Student".

PLEASE JOIN US in congratulating our very own History Department Chair, Clare Crowston, who was named a 2015 University Faculty Scholar. This is a very prestigous honor as only seven faculty members from across the Urbana campus were chosen. A reception in honor of the recipients was given by Interim Chancellor Wilson and awards were presented by VP for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre. It was a wonderful night of honor and cheer. Since the program began in 1985 sixteen History faculty members have been awarded this distinguished honor proving, once again, how unparalleled our faculty are!

Congratulations to Grad Utathya Chattopadhyaya who has been awarded the Junior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies for 2016-17! This fellowship is very competitive and will allow him to spend 11 months in India doing research.

DON'T MISS the ANNUAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LECTURE on Wednesday, October 21st at 3:00 pm. Professor James Brennan will be giving a talk entitled "Adult Literacy, Liberation, and 'the Guidelines' in Socialist Tanzania, 1970-1975."

BE SURE TO WATCH ESPN One Nacion on Wednesday, Oct. 14 to see an appearance by Professor Adrian Burgos . The focus will be Afro-Latinos and it airs live from Miami at 6 pm central time.

THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM of American History has invited Adrian Burgos as a panelist discussing Latinos and Baseball. The 2-day event is Thursday, October 15 and is the launch of a multiyear initiative. Photos from the event.

CAREERS NIGHT 2015 was full of inspiration and lively discussions! Four past History degree recipients shared their stories in what led them to their successful careers. Pictures from the evening.

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Only a short time left to register for our REACTING TO THE PAST WORKSHOP on October 16 ad 17. Details can be found here. If you are interested in registering, contact Clare Crowston.

hoxieDid you know...the University of Illinois is about to turn 150 years old? Plans are in the works to celebrate our Sesquicentennial! Our very own Professor Fred Hoxie is spearheading one of the major projects - a literary coffee style book with essays from past and present faces on campus. Be sure to share your own story as we enter into this exciting celebration!


Cha Jua

Professer Sundiata Cha-Jua has been named a columnist for the News-Gazette! His first column ran onSunday, September 13: "Real Talk: Katrina wasAfrican-Americans '9/11".

Ever wondered what a degree in LAS will get you? There are two opportunities to find out coming up. The first being History Careers Night on Thursday, Sept 17th, and the next at LAS Discovery Day on Sept. 26th. Careers Night will feature four History graduates discussing how History degrees led them to their current jobs. The College of LAS is hosting the day-long event, LAS Discovery Day, to give you the opportunity to hear more about what an LAS education can do for you.

Professor Peter Fritzsche recently posted reviews entitled "Surviving the Nazis" for the NY Times Sunday Book Review.

Check out Rebeca Martinez', class of 2018, blog post in Reading Matters @IPRH regarding the age of the virtual book: What are you reading right now?

Today we celebrated a friend and colleague who is moving on to learn new things. Scott Bartlett has had ties with the History Department for 15 years and he will certainly be missed! Best wishes to you, Scott!

Here's a shot of just a few of those who came to wish him well.Scott last day





Check out Rebeca Martinez', class of 2018, blog post in Reading Matters @IPRH regarding the age of the virtual book: What are you reading right now?

Welcome to our new class of Graduates!Grad class fall 15





Professor Marc Hertzman recently appeared on Al Jazeera America's flagship current events news show, "Inside Story"to discuss the current political situation in Brazil. Click the link above to watch.

Join us in welcoming our new 2015 Chair: Professor Clare H. Crowston.





and incoming Director of Undergraduate Studies:Professor Marc Hertzman






A Minute With... Professor Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi regarding how Iran views the nuclear deal.

We are pleased to share the exhibit produced by students in History 386, Public History, last spring, on the theme of "Innovation at Illinois." Professor Fred Hoxie was the instructor, and the students were assisted by Harriet Green, the Humanities and Digital Humanities Librarian, University Archivist Bill Maher, and Jameatris Rimkus, an archivist on his staff. Simply click on this link to get you there:

Professor Adrian Burgos Jr's commentary in The Sporting News on the Cowherd ESPN scandal.

Read Professor Terri Barnes' blog regarding the recent arguments of flying the confederate flag.

Professor Bruce Levine's recent article in Politico magazine on the racism of the confederate flag.

A Contra Corriente - A Journal on Social History and Literature in Latin America - recently posted this article entitled, "Beyond Renewal" by Professor Marc Hertzman. Scroll to the bottom where it says Full Text: PDF. Click on the PDF to read.

Sign on to FACEBOOK and check out this blurb on PBS History Detectives' page about Professor Bruce Levine's Bestseller, The Fall of the House of Dixie.

Illinois News Bureau Social Science editor Craig Chamberlain spoke with Professor Ken Cuno regarding his studies of how traditional ideals on marriages have varied through the centuries.. Professor Cuno is the author of the recently published book, 'Moderinzing Marriage". In it he focuses on the reinvention of marriage and family in Egypt in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Process, the online blog of the Organization of American Historians, posted a feature on Professor Adrian Burgos Jr's course titled Sport and Society.

Please join us in applauding all of our graduates who didn't let the rain hold back their excitement of Convocation on Saturday, May 16th. We are so proud!

Congratulations to Professor Jimena Canales whose book "The Physicist and the Philosopher" was just named to the Amazon list of best selling new and future releases. Her book is due to be released May 26, 2015.

Professor Ken Cuno was interviewed by the web magazine Jadaliyya for the May 2015 edition. They spoke regarding his new book, "Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Ninteenth and Early Twentieth Century Egypt".

On Saturday, May 9 at 3:00 pm there will be a Celebration of Mark Leff's Life in Room 314 of the Illini Union. All are welcome to attend.

Jennifer "Jen" Guiliano (PhD 2010) was featured for her recently published book Indian Spectacle (Rutgers Univ. Press, 2015) in the May 4 issue of Inside Higher Ed16. Kudos to her on having her scholarship so prominently featured.

Four of the seven faculty members chosen and three of the seven graduate students chosen as recipients of IPRH fellowships for the 2015-16 academic year17 are from the History Department - demonstrating once again our distinction in teaching excellency.

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Kevin Mumford18 was quoted in the June/July 2015 edition of the prominent LGBT magazine The Advocate for the cover story entitled, "The Backlash: Christian Conservatives are Out to Get You".

ONCE AGAIN we get to celebrate our incredible faculty! Professor Bob Morrissey has been named the recipient of the George S. and Gladys W. Queen Excellence in Teaching Award in History for the academic year 2014-2015. What a well-deserved honor, Bob! Congratulations!

Morrissey Queen award spring 15






CONGRATULATIONS 15 Awards poster to all of our recent award recipients! The Dept of History Annual Undergraduate Research Colloquium and Awards Reception was April 18, 2015.






IN DEFENSE OF HISTORY - Thank you to Thomas Dowling, undergrad student of LAS with a passion for History, for the great opinion piece published in The Daily Illini, March 9, 2015!

Professor Bob Morrissey also has a newly published book entitled, " Empire by Collaboration: Indians, Colonists, and Governments in Colonial Illinois Country". Craig Chamberlain, Social Sciences Editor of Illinois News Bureau, spoke with Bob about his tale of colonial Illinois.

Congratulations to Professor Ken Cuno on his newly published book, "Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in the Nineteenth-and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt."

Please help us in congratulating Professor Leslie Reagan in being awarded the 2015 IPRH NEH Summer stipend for her project, Seeing Agent Orange: Quilt of Tears. She was one of only two faculty members nominated from our campus through IPRH.

We are mourning the death of another colleague and friend. Ralph Fisher passed away on April 4, 2015. He taught in the History Dept from 1957 until retirement in 1988. Ralph was very active around campus and founded the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center. He was a great promoter of Russian and Soviet history, and a kind and considerate person.

Ralph Fisher

Ralph's obituary:

Ralph Talcott Fisher, Jr., 94, of Urbana, Illinois, passed away on April 4th, 2015, three hours shy of his 95th birthday.

A memorial service will be held at Clark Lindsey Retirement Community in Urbana, Illinois, on Monday, April 13th at 10 a.m. Pastor Emily Labrecque of the Community United Church of Christ in Champaign will be officiating.

Ralph Talcott Fisher, Jr. was the son of Ralph Talcott Fisher of Oakland, California, a bank officer at American Trust Company and Margaret Merriam of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Both of Ralph’s parents were active and public-spirited members of their church and community. Ralph was born in Washington, D.C. where his father was working briefly to help set up the Veterans’ Administration after WWI.Ralph was reared in Oakland and graduated from University High School and the University of California, Class of 1942. He was president of the Associated Students in 1941-42.Upon receiving a B.A. in History, he got an assignment of second lieutenant in the Army during WWII.After serving in the U.S. and in China and earning the rank of major, he returned to school— first at the University of California in Berkeley for his master’s degree, and then at Columbia University for his doctorate, with a specialty in Russian and East European history. He taught for 6 years at Yale University, working closely with George Vernadsky and Sergei Pushkariev.In 1957 he became a professor at the University of Illinois in the History Department.

Collaborating with librarians Larry Miller, Marianna Tax Choldin, and others, Ralph led the effort to build an outstanding research library in the Russian and East European field, which continues to attract scholars from all over the world. His decision to focus significant funds on the library also drew eminent professors to join the University of Illinois faculty. His contributions to the Slavic and East European field are enormous. Ralph officially retired from the University of Illinois in May 1988, though he continued his involvement in university and community activities.

Ralph married Ruth Meads, Berkeley class of 1943, social worker, and they have enjoyed 72 years together. They had three children: twins, Tad and Meg,and younger son Alby. Besides for being a wonderful father, his children will remember him for playing cowboy songs on his guitar, rough-housing with them on the living room rug, and keeping a well-stocked backpack. They will also remember how he memorized all of Pushkin’s poem Eugene Onegin,which took three hours to recite. The family will remember a wonderful sabbatical year in Vienna, Austria, and bus trip into the U.S.S.R. that same year. Ralph also led the family on a series of summer trips to California, by a variety of routes, visiting family, friends and national parks on the way.

Ralph has enjoyed hiking, singing and making cabin repairs every summer with his extended family at Upper Echo Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where his father, class of 1901 at UC Berkeley, had been a guide at the turn of the century.Ralph’s father built the Echo Lake cabin in 1924, and the family still gathers there.This is Ralph’s favorite place on earth.

Ralph is predeceased by his brother and best friend, Galen Reid Fisher.He is survived by his wife Ruth, his son Tad (Ralph Talcott) and wife Yeshodara Menon (Seattle, WA), daughter Meg (Margaret Manson) and husband Arn Krugman (Sunderland, MA), and son, Alby (Albert Meads)and wife Marina Talet (Sao Paulo, Brazil).He is also survived by his sister Margaret Fisher Mellen, sister-in-law, Mary Ann Quackenbush Fisher, five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center. Please send donations for the Ralph and Ruth Fisher Endowment Fund #773497 to:

University of Illinois Foundation, P.O. Box 3429, Champaign, IL 61821-3429

The family wishes to thank the staff at Carle Hospital for its excellent care of Ralph and his family during this past week. They would also like to thank Ralph’s colleague and friend, Susan Schnuer for her warmth and helpful guidance at this time.


A Minute With...Professor Bruce Levine, 6historian of the Civil War era, discusses the consequences of the Civil War7.8

Professor Marc Hertzman's9 book, "Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil" is highlighted along with an interview with him in this week's Inside Illinois10.

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Professor Adrian Burgos, Jr.12, was honored to be invited by the Chicago White Sox to deliver one of the eulogies13 at the funeral service14 of Minnie Minoso. A full expanded version15 of the eulogy can be read here. (Adrian Burgos Jr., Minnie Minoso photo courtesy of Adrian Burgos Jr.)

photo of Adrian Burgos and Minnie Minoso




ICES forms turned in from Fall 2014 have been tabulated and 25 History instructors have made the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students. Please join us in congratulating them for their distinction and dedication to our students.

Professor Adrian Burgos, Jr., expert on sports history, has been busy with several media interactions regarding the death and legacy of Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso. He did an interview and in-studio appearance on "Chicago Tonight" on WTTW (Chicago Ch. 11) that can be viewed here. An appearance on The Morning Shift, WBEZ Chicago and wrote as a contributor with Always so proud to see our own experts being called on for their insight. (if you have any problems opening a link, please try a different browser)

We are mourning the death of our colleague Mark Leff, who passed away on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Mark H. Leff
(January 23, 1949 - February 22, 2015)
Mark H. Leff, 66, of Urbana, died in his home on Sunday, February 22, after a year of living with cancer....
Mark, son of Sam and Melitta Leff, was born in 1949, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Washington DC. He received a B.A. in Economics from Brown University and a Ph.D. in History from University of Chicago. He taught American History at the University of Illinois from 1986 to 2012. He married his wife of more than forty years, Carol Skalnik Leff, in 1971.

Mark LeffHe will be remembered and deeply missed by Carol and the rest of his loving family including: his daughter Alison Leff Washabaugh, her husband Bill Washabaugh, and their son Rowan; his son Ben Leff and Ben's fiancee Melissa Schoeplein; his sister Deborah Leff; and his stepmother Adele Leff.

Mark was a passionate, devoted and challenging teacher who was beloved by his students and believed the study of history helped create informed, engaged citizens. Among numerous teaching awards, he was named the Carnegie Professor of the Year for the state of Illinois in 1998. He cared deeply for his family and many friends and constantly reminded them how much he loved them. Mark was a kind, warm, person with a quirky sense of humor who routinely put others before himself in his personal life as well as in involvement in community social justice organizations. And he was self-effacing to a fault; if given the chance, he would have quickly (and incorrectly) pronounced himself unworthy of the preceding praise.

The date and location of a celebration of Mark's life will be announced later. In lieu of other gestures of condolence, gifts may be made to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank or the ACLU of Illinois.

Congratulations to Rebecca Mitchell who has recently accepted a postition as Asst Professor (tenure track) at Middlebury College, Vermont.

We proudly share Ph.D. candidate Kyle Mays' article 10from Indian Country Today Media Kyle is a scholar of urban history, Indigenous Studies and Indigenous popular culture. In this article he speaks of Black-Indigenous Histories Beyond the Norm.

Congratulations to the winners of the First Annual History Soapbox event to choose the book that changed the world, and bravo to all participants. The winner, chosen by a jury of History honors students, was Carol Symes's presentation of the Emperor Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law, 529-534 C.E.)Second place went to Fred Hoxie, for The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1771); and third to Silvia Escanilla Huerta, for Andres Garcia de Cespedes, Regimiento de navegacion (Regiment of Navigation, 1606).Also dramatically making their cases were Peggy Brennan, for Christopher Columbus, Libro de las Profecias (Book of Prophecies, 1502); Mark Steinberg, Thomas More, Utopia (1516); John Randolph, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); Mark Micale, Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on a Theory of Sexuality (1905); Utathya Chattopadhyaya, Mao Tse Tung, Little Red Book (1964); Marc Hertzman, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965); Terri Barnes, Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, eds., This Bridge Called My Back (1981).

Professor Sundiata Cha-Jua, expert on the civil rights movement, speaks of the importance of the new film, "Selma"on A Minute With....

A Minute With... Professor Tamara Chaplin, modern France historian speaking of The Christmas Truce of WWI.

Carol Symes has recently been named the executive editor of "The Medieval Globe" journal. She has introduced the inaugural issue with a discussion of The Black Plague.

The Dept of History is proud to announce that Antoinette Burton and Robert Morrissey have won the coveted 2015 NEH Fellowships. Antoinette for her project, "Wars Against Nature? Environmental Fictions of the First Anglo-Afghan Wars," and Bob for "The Illinois and the Edge Effect: Bison Algonquians in the Colonial Mississippi Valley." We also congratulate Bob for being appointed a CAS Fellow for next year. We salute you, Antoinette and Bob!

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies just awarded our Chair, Diane P. Koenker, with the Outstanding Achievement Award during the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies held in San Antoinio, Texas. We celebrate you, Diane! Congratulations!

Professor Craig Koslofsky on the PBS series, "How We Got To Now".

CONGRATULATIONS to Professor Jimena Canales who was named the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in the History of Science.

H-France online forum featured our Clare Crowston's book, "Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France." Read the essays of the four reviewers and the response by Clare.

Read How Did the Nazis Become So Popular? 13An article in the LAS News where our own Peter Fritzsche 14discusses how the Nazi party came to power.

CAREERS NIGHT 2014 (opens in a new window)15 was an enlightening evening of discussion with four of our very own alums. We learned how they were able to go from being History graduates to where they each are today.

We recently welcomed the Fall 2014 Incoming Graduate class.1What a fun group of scholars! We are looking forward to working with them in the coming years.


The Department of History faculty overwhelmingly voted to approve the following resolution at its meeting on September 3, 2014.

Whereas academic freedom and a commitment to fairness and transparency in all academic procedures and practices, including faculty hires, form the foundations of the American public higher educational system;

Whereas Chancellor Phyllis Wise, on August 1, 2014, summarily and without faculty consultation, informed Dr. Steven Salaita that she would not forward his contract to the Board of Trustees, thereby voiding every preceding review by faculty and administrative personnel;

Whereas Chancellor Wise’s August 22, 2014, explanation for her action in the name of “civility” threatens to undermine the protection of tenure and the right to free speech, and obscures the role played in this decision by political pressure;

Whereas President Robert Easter and the Board of Trustees endorsed this violation of shared governance, due process, and academic freedom on August 22, 2014;

Whereas the American Association of University Professors in an August 29, 2014, letter to Chancellor Wise expressed its “deep concern,” and stated that “Aborting an appointment in this manner without having demonstrated cause has consistently been seen by the AAUP as tantamount to summary dismissal, an action categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process and one aggravated in his case by the apparent failure to provide him with any written or even oral explanation”;

The faculty of the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign declares its lack of confidence in the leadership of the current Chancellor, President, and Board of Trustees. We call on the Chancellor, the President, and the Board of Trustees to reverse this decision by reinstating Dr. Salaita.


War is everywhere on our minds right now, war in the present and war in history. Here is our Peter Fritzsche's minute comment on the meaning of the Second World War.

A Minute With....Mark Steinberg. Our own Mark Steinberg, Professor of Russian history, talks about Vladimir Putin and today's Russia

CONGRATULATIONS to our newest Dean's List and Bronze Tablet honorees. We have 58 students on the Spring 2014 Dean's List which is comprised of the top 20% of a college class or curriculum. We are also very proud of our five Bronze Tablet graduates: Holly Gooden, Steven Grosso, Neha Nigam, David Rahimi and Grant Snyder! The Bronze Tablet honors only the top 3% from each college's graduating class. You can see the complete lists here.

A Minute With......Sundiata Cha-Jua. Sundiata speaks of the significance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Take a look at the June 13, 2014, "A Minute With..." . Our own Jerry Davila, LeMann Professor of Brazilian History, gives insight on Brazil and the World Cup. He also authored an article in The Huffington Post: "World Cup Protests Signal Democratic Progress for Brazil." and was cited in the NY Times article: "Brazil on Edge as World Cup Exposes Rift."

We are extremely pleased to announce the news that Kristin Hoganson and Erik McDuffie have both been named Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholars. Hearty kudos to both!

Join us July 10th for the Chicago Friends of History Book Club Event featuring a discussion with Professor James Barrett about his book, "The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multiethnic City."

May 2014 Congratulations, graduates and new alumni! Best of luck for your brilliant futures! View Convocation photos here.

Bob Morrissey's article, "Kaskaskia Social Network: Kinship and Assimilation in a French-Illinois Borderland," has just won the Lester J. Cappon Award for Best Article in the William and Mary Quarterly in 2013.

On behalf of the CHI/programming committee and its "A Book in Common" (ABC) subcommittee we are pleased to announce the ABC book selection for 2014:

Marc Bloch, Strange Defeat (Norton, 1999; originally 1940).
This book is Marc Bloch's account of France's defeat in WWII, written in 1940 and first published in French in 1946. It raises interesting questions about the relationship between military events and deeper structures, the political investment of historians, the possibilities and limits of writing histories of the present, and the meaning of history when written from a perspective of loss and defeat.

Copies of the book are currently available in the History office (309 Gregory Hall) for those faculty and students planning on joining us for the meeting to discuss the book. Our discussion is scheduled for Wednesday August 27, 2014 (time and place TBA).

April 19, 2014, The Department of History held the Annual Awards Celebration and Reception. The day began with a Friends of History Board Meeting, followed by the Honors Colloquium (which showcased senior honors theses') and the Awards Ceremony. Click the link above to see pictures.

Please join us for our celebration of the history work done all over campus, our annual "Historians Among Us" lecture. This year, we feature Daniel Schneider, of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, speaking on Wednesday, April 16, at 3 pm in 307 Gregory Hall, on "Monopolizing 'Nature's Means and Methods': Sewage Treatment, Patents, and the Foundations of Modern Biotechnology."

Please join us in celebrating the announcement that Tariq Ali has won the Sardar Patel Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation written on South Asia in any institution of higher learning in the United States for 2012. He will be honored at a ceremony at UCLA in May. Congratulations, Tariq!

We are pleased and delighted to announce that Kristin Hoganson has been invited to hold the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professorship in American History at Oxford University for 2015-2016. Inaugurated in 1922, the Professorship has been held by many of the most eminent historians of America and is tenable on a year-long basis. Since 2001, holders of the Chair have been affiliated to both Queen's College, Oxford, and the Rothermere American Institute. She joins a list of fellows that reads like a Who's Who of American history.

Please join us for the annual Friends of History lecture (opens in a new window)on Thursday, April 3, at 3 pm. Professor Nick Cullather of Indiana University will speak in 311 Gregory Hall on "Doris Day and the Economists: Imagining the Expert in the Development Decade."

Congratulations to Marc Hertzman, whose book, Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil has just been awarded Honorable Mention by the Bryce Wood Book Award Committee of the Latin American Studies Association. The award is given at each Congress of the association to an outstanding book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities published in English in the United States. Not just first book, not just history book -- this is a huge prize. Bravo, Marc!

We are very pleased to share the news that Tamara Chaplin, who has already won the LAS Teaching Award, has been selected as the winner of the campus Undergraduate Teaching Award. We are very proud of Tamara and her commitment to excellence in teaching. Thanks also to the awards committee for preparing the award-winning nomination. Brava, Tamara!

History Alums! Here’s your chance to share your love of history with hundreds of Chicago-area students. Please volunteer to serve as a judge for the 2014 Chicago Metro History Fair. Judges evaluate historical research projects produced by Chicago-area students in grades 6-8 or 9-12. Details here.

Join us Celebrating 100 Years of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois. View a timeline of the College's History.

Professor Bruce Levine, a prominent scholar of US slave emancipation, was interviewed on Feb 12, 2014, by the editor of The After Slavery Project.

We take great pride in announcing Faculty members Terri Barnes and Dana Rabin and Graduate students Kyle Mays and Patryk Reid as the recipients of the 2014-15 IPRH Fellowships.

Congratulations to Professor Tamara Chaplin and TA Sandra Henderson, who have been selected as recipients of the LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

The Department of History at the University of Illinois wishes to express its support of the statements issued by both Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies with respect to the social media assaults on Chancellor Wise, and on the whole notion of free speech, represented by the Twitter events of January 27th and 28th, 2014. We join with our colleagues in condemning both the speech acts themselves and the climate of disrespect and violence that such acts reflect and produce. We are committed to both academic and civic work that challenges the view that these are simply acts of misguided individuals. As historians we understand the high cost of ignoring structural explanations and the equally high price that racialized minorities, indigenous communities, women and LGBTQ people pay when institutionalized forms of racism, sexism and homophobia go unchallenged. We ask colleagues across campus to stand in solidarity with Chancellor Wise. We urge all members of our community to remember the responsibility each of us has for fostering a campus where difference is respected as a core element of our work as students, teachers and co-workers.

A Minute With....Diane Koenker, our Chair and expert on Russia and the Soviet Union, on the historical background to Sochi as a destination in the Soviet Union and on the political contexts of the Sochi Olympics which officially opens February 7, 2014.

2013 Graduate Class is pictured here

A Minute With ...Terri Barnes, our own historian of Southern Africa regarding Nelson Mandela.

Best-Sellerdom! We congratulate Bruce Levine, whose 2013 book, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South, is the number 2 Best Selling Civil War title for 2013, as reported by the magazine, Civil War Monitor.

Congratulations to James R. Brennan, who has won the 2013 Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize, awarded by the African Studies Association for the best book on East African Studies for his book: Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania. Read the news announcement.

The Council of Editors of Learned Journals has awarded The Journal of Late Antiquity, which is edited by Ralph Mathisen, the 2013 recipient of the distinctive Codex Award.

View Inside Illinois' front page article about Clare Crowston's study of the "regime of credit" which she wrote about in her new book: Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France.

On November 20, 2013, History alumna Christina Brodbeck, a tech industry entrepreneur and founding member of YouTube, spoke about Building a Career on an LAS Foundation. Her profile can be viewed here.

Attention Illinois History Alumni-
The department's annual newsletter, History@Illinois, wants your news for its next issue, to be published in spring 2014. Please send your updates and achievements to The editors would appreciate receiving your notes by November 15, 2013 (You can find a link to last year's issue on line on our web site.)
Thank you!

CONGRATULATIONS to Professor Jerry Dávila, who was invested on October 16th as the first Jorge Paulo Lemann Chair in Brazilian History. Mr. Lemann, the benefactor of the chair and of the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, attended and was recognized by Chancellor Phyllis Wise for his generosity toward the University of Illinois. Chancellor Wise and LAS Dean Brian Ross presented Professor Davila with a medallion signifying his position. Diane Koenker introduced Jerry, who then spoke eloquently about his vision of Brazilian history at Illinois. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

We are thrilled to announce that Adrian Burgos has been selected to receive the 2013 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity. He will be honored at the 28th Annual Celebration of diversity on November 8, 2013. This is an honor richly deserved for all the work Adrian has done in the classroom, in the graduate program, and in between on behalf of diversity as practice. Congratulations, Adrian!

On October 18th, Bruce Levine gave a plenary address at the Newberry Library's conference on the "Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North." His talk: "Reshaped by the 'Logic of Events': Changing Views of Slavery and Race in the Union and Confederacy."

Professor Dana Rabin gave the annual Associate Professor Lecture in the History Department on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 3pm in Greg Hall 317. This was an occasion where we had the privilege of hearing work from a book in progress and discussing it with the author. The title of Dana's talk was "’Wedding and Bedding’: Making and Unmaking Law in the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland (1801)"

Kristin Hoganson gave the 2013 IPRH Annual Distinguished Lecture on September 26th. She spoke from her new work in progress on the topic, "Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Pork and Corn: How Anglo-Saxonist Pigs Can Help Us Reconsider the Roots of the Modern American Empire."

Swanlund Professor Fred Hoxie has been named the winner of the 2013 Caughey Western History Association Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West: This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made (Penguin, 2012).

Check out this "minute with" Fred Hoxie on the current American Indian mascot controversies.

Congratulations to Adrian Burgos, an LAS Centennial Scholar, and to all the Centennial Scholars announced this week.

LAS Centennial Scholars : Ten faculty have been named Centennial Scholars in honor of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Congratulations to Brian Ingrassia (Ph.D. 2008), whose book, The Rise of Gridiron University: Higher Education's Uneasy Alliance with Big-Time Football (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), has just won the 2013 Book Award, in their monograph category, from the North American Society for Sport History.

Kudos to grad student Derek Attig whose research is quoted in a NY Times Sunday Book Review section in an article on prisoner library at Guantanamo Bay. Read the article here.

Hearty Congratulations are due to several of our current graduate students and a recent Ph.D. for their accomplishments:

Diana Georgescu has been awarded a Mellon-Council of European Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2013-14.

Rachel Koroloff has been named a Junior Fellow for 2013-14 at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Troy Smith, Ph.D. 2012, has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in US History at Tennessee Tech University.

The chosen book for A Book in Common AY 2013-14 was The Earth After Us: What legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks? by Jan Zalasiewicz (opens in a new window), The talk was held Wednesday, 9/25.

The first annual History Career Night was September 19, 2013 7:30-9:30 pm

Fred Hoxie has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Historians Among Us Lecture
Jonathan Ebel, Dept. of Religion
"This is my body: Soldering, Salvation, and American Civil Religion."
April 17, 2013 - 3:30pm, 307 Greg Hall

More from our sports historian and film commentator, Adrian Burgos...

Interview he did with Jeff Bossert was excerpted as part of their 12 O’clock newscast

And was also featured in the Afternoon Magazine (April 15),

Graduate Student, Derek Attig's research has recently been quoted in a NY Times Sunday Book Review section in an article based on the prisoner library at Guantanamo Bay.

Robert Morrissey has been awarded a Faculty prize from The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) for "Kaskaskia Social Network: Kinship and Assimilation in the French-Illinois Borderlands, 1695-1735," published in The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Serial, 70, number 1, January 2013.

IPRH has awarded T.J. Tallie, a Graduate Student Honorable Mention, for "White Liquor; Settler Colonialism and the Racial Politics of Alcohol in Colonial Natal, 1856-1897," written for History 599: Dissertation Research and Writing in Fall 2012, under the direction of Antoinette Burton.

David Roediger and Elizabeth Esch have been awarded the International Labor History Association (ILHA) Book of the Year Award for 2012 for "The Production of Difference," published by Oxford University Press.

Bruce Levine's NPR broacast may be viewed at

Peter Fritzsche's W.D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor Investiture Ceremony, November 5, 2012 Fritzsche-Trowbridge

Jerry Davila has been elected vice-president and president-elect of the Conference on Latin American History, an affiliate of the AHA and an organization representing 1,100 Latinamericanist historians. Jerry will be serving a four-year term in the various leadership capacities, stewarding this important organization into the future.

Bruce Levine taped a brief interview for a program called "Law and Disorder" on WBAI-Pacifica radio, based in NYC (99.5 FM) re: the new "Lincoln" film and the historical reality it's meant to portray. It aired today (Wednesday) at 9AM on WBAI and throughout the week on 50 affiliate stations, and also on the web at <>

Craig Koslofsky's book, Evening's Empire, which is listed among The Atlantic's Books of the Year 2012, has been listed in the 15 best books reviewed in The Atlantic or published in 2012: for the Top 5 and the 10 Runners Up, see

For all those interested in the brave new world of online teaching, please check out Terri Barnes's blogpost on Coursera, just published in South Africa.

We are pleased to share the news that Bruce S. Hall (PhD 2005), who now teaches at Duke University, is the co-winner of the AHA Martin A. Klein Prize in African History in 2012 for his book, A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Congratulations, Bruce!