Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Professor Carrie Janney’s The Next Lost Cause?” was recently published in the Washington Post. Here is an excerpt from Carrie’s insightful piece: “Even as Confederate monuments tumble this summer, we may be witnessing an attempt to form a new lost cause. Today, President Donald Trump describes his opponents as “unfair,” the pandemic sapping his popularity as a “hoax,” the polls that show him losing to Joe Biden as “fake,” and the election in which he’ll face ultimate judgment in November as “rigged” or potentially “stolen.” His defenders are already laboring to cast him as a righteous, noble warrior martyred by traitors and insurmountable forces. They rely on the same tools that were used to promulgate Confederate myths: manipulating facts, claiming persecution, demonizing enemies and rewriting history. In other words, Trump is laying the groundwork to claim moral victory in political defeat — and to deny the legitimacy of the Democratic administration that would displace him.” 

Professor Jim Loeffler has published a wonderfully informative article in The Atlantic, “The Problem With the ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition.” In this article, Jim explains why the concept , “Judeo-Christian Tradition,” was always an unstable foundation on which to build a common American identity. 

Professor Philip Zelikow’s recent article in The American Interest, “Lessons from the Second World War: A Reply to President Putin,” turns our attention to the European Parliament’s and President Putin’s recent debates about World War II.  In the article, Philip argues that “the European Parliament’s proclamation about the cause of World War II is wrong. It offers a fundamentally inaccurate version of the most important episode in modern history. President Putin’s rebuttal is serious, yet it, too, is deeply misleading. The net result is to deepen Europe’s divides, not overcome them.”

Professor Jennifer Sessions was interviewed for a series on contested monuments by the podcast Paroles d'Histoire. As many of you know, in recent months, statues and monuments associated with slavery and colonialism have been contested and sometimes overturned. The eruption of memorial issues in public space is the subject of Paroles d'Histoire’s five podcast show. Jennifer’s insightful commentary provides a much needed global perspective on monuments and our collective reckoning with the past. 

In the latest installment of UVaToday’s special series, “UVA and the History of Race,” Professor Christian McMillen examines the George Rogers Clark and Lewis and Clark statues. In this article, Christian details how the George Rogers Clark and the Lewis and Clark statues were “also monuments to white supremacy” and “instrumental in creating and perpetuating the myth of brave white men conquering a supposedly unknown and unclaimed land.” 

This month, Professors Will Hitchcock and Siva Vaidhyanathan started a new podcast series: “Democracy In Danger.” The series interviews leading scholars about the erosion of democratic norms in the US and around the world. Each week Will and Siva address a different topic, from populism and xenophobia to the dark web and the role of social media in the democratic process. The impressive line-up includes scholars such as Nicole Hemmer on right-wing media; Federico Finchelstein on fascism in Latin America; Matt Hedstrom on Christian Nationalism today; Erika Lee on xenophobia in America; Leah Wright Rigueur on Black Lives Matter; Elizabeth Hinton on Mass Incarceration; Nina Jankowitz on Russian disinformation tactics; and Carol Anderson on voter suppression. Two episodes are live now; they will be adding one each week through the November election. The series runs from July 2020 through the election cycle and beyond. New episodes post on Tuesdays. Subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts and tweet your thoughts @UVAMediaLab.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Table Magazine published an article by Prof. Jim Loeffler on capitalism, music, and Jewish politics. The article, “The ‘Lust Machine’” is adapted from his article “The ‘Lust Machine’: Recording and Selling the Jewish Nation in the late Russian Empire” which was published this year in Polin Studies in Polish Jewry.  

Prof. Loeffler was also featured in a UVA Today Faculty Spotlight: “For James Loeffler, Musical Path led to the Apex of Jewish Studies."

The New York Times published an op-ed by Prof. Andrew Kahrl: “Who Will Get to Swim This Summer?” 

Prof. Kahrl was also featured on The Takeaway podcast's July 2nd’s episode, “Restrictions on Beach and Pool Access Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic,” and quoted in two articles: Pew’s “Black Homeowners Pay More Than ‘Fair Share’ in Property Taxes” and the Washington Post’s “Black families pay significantly higher property taxes than white families, new analysis shows.”

Slate recently published an article by Prof. Grace Hale, “The Birth and Death of Pylon, America’s Best Rock Band,” adapted from her recent book, Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture.

The Annual Review of Criminology published an article, “Mass Criminalization of Black Americans: A Historical Overview,” co-authored by Elizabeth Hinton and DeAnza Cook, who graduated from our history program with distinction in 2017. DeAnza currently studies at Harvard and is working on a dissertation project that “traces the rise of proactive "community, problem-solving" policing and data-driven law enforcement in Boston and beyond at the dawn of the twenty-first century.” 

Streaking the Lawn featured an interview with recent graduate and decorated student athlete Leah Smith, who minored in history during her tenure at UVA. In the interview, Leah noted George Gilliam and his courses, ““History of Virginia Pre1865” and “History of Virginia Post 1865,” as the most impactful classroom experiences of her undergraduate career. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Prof. Xiaoyuan Liu’s new book, To the End of Revolution: The Chinese Communist Party and Tibet, 1949-1959, was just published by Columbia University Press. In To the End of Revolution, Liu “draws on unprecedented access to the archives of the Chinese Communist Party to offer a groundbreaking account of Beijing’s evolving Tibet policy during the critical first decade of the People’s Republic.” Congratulations, Xiaoyuan!

Prof. Holly Shulman has been awarded the Association for Documentary Editing's 2020 Lyman H. Butterfield Awards for her work on the Dolley Madison Digital Edition. This award honors the memory of Lyman Henry Butterfield, whose editing career included contributions to The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, the editing of the Adams Family Papers, and publishing the Letters of Benjamin Rush. Congratulations, Holly! 

Prof. Karen Parshall was recently named co-editor, along with Sergei Tabachnikov, of The Mathematical Intelligencer, a journal published by Springer Nature dedicated to the history and culture of mathematics, emergent mathematical communities around the world, new interdisciplinary trends, and relations between mathematics and other areas of culture. Congratulations, Karen! 

The Journal of Asian Studies has  just published an article co-authored by Prof. Joseph Seeley and Aaron Skabelund, ““Bite, Bite against the Iron Cage”: The Ambivalent Dreamscape of Zoos in Colonial Seoul and Taipei.” The article “examines the zoological gardens established by Japanese imperialists in colonial Seoul (1908) and Taipei (1914). Drawing on multilingual sources, it argues that zoos explicitly exposed the unequal interethnic and interspecies hierarchies that undergirded the colonial project.” To access the article, click here.

Prof. Paul Halliday’s "The Suspension Clause: English Text, Imperial Contexts, and American Implications" (Virginia Law Review 2008) was recently cited in the U.S. Supreme Court, in three of the opinions and on both sides in a detention case involving judicial oversight of political asylum claims. 

On June 19th, The Washington Post published an article by Prof. Grace Hale, “Video alone can't solve the problems of policing.” Hale writes, “the long history of images of racial violence in the United States suggests that we need to question...the idea that more cameras -- not just bystanders with phones but police body cameras and other forms of surveillance -- will fix the problem of law enforcement violence.” To read the article, click here.

On June 26th, National Geographic published an essay by Prof. John Mason, “Why does this legendary Black photographer's work continue to resonate today?”, on the work of Gordon Parks and protest photography in Minneapolis. You can read his essay here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Jotwell, a journal of legal history, has published a review of Prof. Sarah Milov’s book, The Cigarette: A Political History: read here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Foreign Affairs has published an article by Prof. Philip Zelikow, co-authored with Eric Edelman, Kristofer Harrison, and Celeste Ward Gventer, on “The Rise of Strategic Corruption: How States Weaponize Graft.” You can find Philip’s article here

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

In this Q&A with UVA Today, Prof. Kevin Gaines compares modern protests to the civil rights movements of the '50s and '60s. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Click here to read Prof. Mason's essay titled "Photos can show protests’ complexity—or they can perpetuate old lies."

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Prof. Erik Linstrum was featured in a UVA Today piece as a recent recipient of the Berlin Prize. Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Prof. Grace Hale has published an article in the Washington Post in which she explores the link between the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s death and lynching photos. Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

History department grad student Alexi Garrett has received one of UVA's 15 Graduate Student Teaching awards. UVA Today has provided a write-up of all UVA recipients: click here to view the article

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Click here to access the graduate ceremony video, recorded from Zoom. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Congratulations to all of our graduates! 


Friday, May 15, 2020

The Corcoran Department of History will host an online, pre-filmed graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EDT. Saturday’s virtual celebration will feature the reading of graduate names, the announcement of departmental prizes, and brief faculty messages honoring and celebrating graduating students. Students and their family and friends can view the ceremony on the department’s website. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Prof. Andrew Kahrl wrote an op-ed, “Preserving Postal Service and mail voting is essential”, for the Columbus Dispatch on the looming crisis facing the U.S. Postal Service and the devastating impact that efforts to privatize postal service would have on rural communities.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Jim Loeffler who has just been elected a permanent Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research.  Fellows of the AAJR — the oldest organization of Judaic scholars in North America — are nominated and elected by their peers and comprise some of the most distinguished and senior scholars teaching Judaic studies at American universities. Congratulations Jim on this wonderful accomplishment!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The UVA Department of History offers an MA (“4+1”) track to a small number of highly qualified UVA undergraduates who seek an MA in History in addition to the BA in either History or another discipline. The MA in History can be completed in one year after completion of the BA if the student has completed at least six graduate credits in History at UVA as an undergraduate. (Typically, this would mean taking two 5000-level History seminars that are not being counted toward the major or any college requirement.) Otherwise, the MA in History will take two full-time semesters plus one additional part- or full-time semester to complete after receipt of the BA.

Students who apply to this program are typically in the third year of undergraduate study, although second-year students are also eligible to apply.

The admissions process is streamlined, and there is no application fee or GRE requirement. The application consists of the following components:

1/ Biographical Cover Page, including the following information: Full name; email address; contact phone number; current year in college; current major(s) and minor(s); GPA within current major(s); overall GPA; proposed area of specialization*; name(s) of proposed History MA faculty adviser(s); and the names of both recommenders;

2/ List of History Courses taken at UVA, including the course number and title, semester taken, instructor last name, and grade received;

3/ Statement of Purpose of up to 500 words in length in which the applicant explains why s/he is seeking an MA in History;

4/ Unofficial UVA Transcript;

5/ Two Letters of Recommendation from UVA faculty with whom the applicant has studied. Ideally, at least one of the referees should be a member of the History faculty.

Items #1 - #4, above, should be emailed to the Director of Graduate Studies ( as a single .pdf file titled “[Last Name]_4+1 app.” The two letters of recommendation (Item #5, above) should be emailed to the Director of Graduate Studies ( by the faculty referees.

The deadline for applying is typically May 1st, but during the 2019-20 academic year the deadline has been extended to May 11, 2020. A further extension may be granted in exceptional circumstances upon request to the Director of Graduate Studies (,

At this time, there is unfortunately no financial aid available for students who matriculate into the MA program after completing the BA.

*NOTE: Areas of Specialization are too numerous to list comprehensively. Examples include: colonial America; 19th- or 20th-century U.S.; modern, early modern, or medieval Europe; Ancient Greece and Rome; East Asia; South Asia; Latin America; Middle East; Africa; global history; international history; legal history; economic history; environmental history; Jewish history; gender and sexuality; war, genocide, and human rights; etc.

For more information, please contact the History Department’s Director of Graduate Studies (

Monday, April 20, 2020

Christian McMillen wrote a column for The Indian Express about what the histories of pandemics can teach us. Click here to read.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Sarah Milov won the 2020 PROSE Award for North American/U.S. History for her book, The Cigarette: A Political History. Please join us in congratulating Sarah on this wonderful accomplishment. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $22.2 million in grants for 224 humanities projects across the country.  Among the awardees were our colleagues Max Edelson and Kristen Alff. 

Max received an NEH Summer Stipend for his digital project, “Among Towns/Along Paths: How Native Americans Imagined the Colonial South.” Kristen received an NEH Summer Stipend for her project, “The Business of Property: Levantine Joint-stock Companies, Land, Law, and Capitalist Development Around the Mediterranean.”   

Click here to read more.