Title: Associate Professor of History
Office Location: Wheeler 323
- Ph.D. Modern European History, the University of California, Irvine
- M.A. Modern European History, the Pennsylvania State University
- B.A. Major in History, Minor in Mathematics, Macalester College
Leslie Poles Hartley said that, "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there," and I think that this captures my approach to history. I study history because I love the excitement of discovery of other worlds, other ways of thinking and working and acting. Each of my courses is an exploration of another world, so I like to use lots of primary sources, to let the people in the past speak for themselves. I also focus on helping students develop the skills of reading like detectives: finding clues to cultural ideas, religious views, political ideologies, assumptions about class, race, gender, worldviews, and external influences in every document, every cultural artifact. I think skills such as this not only help students to understand history better, but also to "read" the world they live in, and to understand their own lives, culture and worldviews better.
I teach a range of courses including courses on Gender in Total War, History of the Middle East, European Environmental History, Gender in Modern Europe, The Enlightenment, the Holocaust, Darwinism and Empire, and World History.
My main research interest lies in Twentieth Century European history, especially the interactions of gender roles and political ideologies like fascism and communism. My current work investigates the ways that French journalists and novelists during the Spanish Civil War interpreted that war, and how their own ideological leanings, perceptions of gender and culture, as well as their fears and hopes for society shaped how they saw the war, especially as a symbol and symptom of the stresses of modernity itself. Articles of mine have appeared in the academic journals French Historical Studies, the Intellectual History Review, and National Identities, as well as in various academic books on gender and politics in France, and on war and culture.
I live in Ashland with my two sons. I enjoy furniture making, cooking, skiing (cross country and downhill), biking, swimming, running and generally being the outdoors. I also spend a great deal of time working on repairing and renovating my Victorian house, but I am not sure that is a hobby as much as a Sisyphean life-project. I am originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, and have lived for various amounts of time in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Southern California. I travel to Europe whenever I can, which is never enough. I have a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, as well as a Master\'s Degree from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor\'s Degree from Macalester College.
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