Department News

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2018-19 Academic Year News

  • History Department Retirements | 2019

    Two long-time colleagues and friends retired at the end of the spring 2019 semester: Dr. Julius Ruff and Fr. Michael Zeps, SJ.

    Dr. Julius Ruff

    RuffJulius began teaching at Marquette in 1980.  He is the author of two major monographs, Crime, Justice and Public Order in Old Regime France, and Violence in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800, and co-author of Discovering the Western Past a textbook that went through several editions.

    Among his academic honors were a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (1987), his selection as a Sesquicentennial Distinguished Alumni Lecturer  at Guilford College (1988), and his election as Co-President of the Society for French Historical Studies. At Marquette Julius taught sixteen different courses on topics ranging from the Ancien Regime in France to the 1960s. One of his great successes was History and Philosophy of Crime and Punishment, which he co-developed and taught many times.

    Somewhat more recently, he began teaching a course on the First World War, which quickly became  avorite among history majors and non-majors alike. In 1998 Julius received the John P. Raynor Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, while in 2007 he won the Excellence in Advising Award in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He was a long-time Director of Graduate Studies and in 2013 served as Acting Chair.

    Fr. Michael Zeps, SJ.

    MikeMike finished forty years at Marquette in fall 2018.  He has taught classes ranging over several continents and centuries: modern Europe, both halves of Western Civilization, European intellectual history, and American military history. He published the monograph Education and the Crisis of the First Republic—on post-war Austria—and continues to work on a photographic and historical survey of public housing in Vienna and its association with Nazi architecture and politics.

    Mike has for many years and continues to be the resident minister in Cobeen Hall. He has been responsible for weekly masses at Joan of Arc Chapel and in Cobeen (some in Latin), and has been asked to deliver prayers to begin and end countless campus occasions. He has married—and buried—many students and former students. Besides his role as a Jesuit, Mike’s great love is music. That’s him playing “Ashokan Farewell” at the beginning of the History Department video History Matters.

    In addition to his long-time association with the Marquette University Symphony Orchestra, he plays with numerous ensembles at the university and in the community, and has performed at many weddings, campus gatherings, and off-campus events. One of his most successful classes was a research seminar hat combined music, intellectual history, and technology.

  • Staudenmaier, Nestor, and Bethel Receive MU Research Funding

    Peter Staudenmaier

    Peter Staudenmaier was awarded a 2019 Summer Faculty Fellowship (SFF) of $5500 to work on his latest book project, Accomplices to Genocide: Racial Ideology and the Path to the Holocaust in Fascist Italy. Peter describes the project thusly: Although the Fascist regime was Nazi Germany’s main European ally, Italy is often viewed as an outlier in the history of the Holocaust, a place where Jews escaped annihilation because of Italian opposition to German genocidal policy. Recent research has challenged this image, giving renewed attention to Italian perpetrators and Italian traditions of antisemitism and racial animus. My project brings together three distinct strands of transnational scholarship on this controversial question: research on the history of Fascism and the development of Mussolini’s racial laws; research on the role of allied regimes in implementing increasingly radical measures against Jews; and scholarship on the complex relations between racial ideology and the execution of the Holocaust. Through detailed examination of Italian intellectuals and institutions, I aim to illuminate the steps by which Nazism’s ‘final solution’ was extended to Fascist Italy. My eventual goal is a book-length study centered on Italian “accomplices to genocide” and their interactions with German counterparts, as a contribution toward clearer historical understanding of the Holocaust.

    Ben Nestor and Patrick Bethel

    Two history PhD students received $2000 grants from the Marquette University Center for Transnational Justice.

    • Ben Nestor received funding for his doctoral project on “Einsatzgruppe C in the District Galicia: Ideology, Situational Violence and Mass Murder,” which he’s writing under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Staudenmaier. Through its focus on actors and events in Ukraine during World War II, the project explores critically important questions as to what motivates the perpetrators of genocide. The project is particularly noteworthy for its proposed inquiry into the “mid-level bureaucracies and functionaries” that engage in mass killings. The grant will help Ben conduct archival research at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Advanced Center for Holocaust Studies in Washington D.C.
    • Patrick Bethel received funding for his doctoral project on the effects of contending conceptualizations of justice during Ireland’s Land War years, 1878-1882 (with Tim McMahon as dissertation director). The project explores the extent to which the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s rhetoric and actions were influenced by republican political movements espousing transnational ideals of egalitarianism and human rights, or affected by more indigenous concepts of justice rooted in understandings of extended kin group and community responsibility. The project offers potential insights into the historical Irish case as well as for ongoing deliberations over the meanings and paths to justice. Pat will use the grant to help fund archival research at the National Archives of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, and the University College Dublin during May-June 2019.