Department News

Stay up to date with the latest news from the Department of History!


2018-19 Academic Year News

  • Long-time History Colleague David Gardinier Passes Away

    Read Phillip Naylor's Tribute to David Gardinier

    David E. Gardinier (1932-2019)

    Professor David Gardinier, my dissertation director, offered this advice before I left for my overseas research: “Bring flowers with you.” Flowers? Where? To whom? To French librarians and archivists, I learned. It was a question of not only politesse (politeness; civility) but also a matter of pragmatism--two qualities that characterized Professor Gardinier. Indeed, while at a North African research center in Aix-en-Provence, I recall the unanticipated appearance of recently declassified French embassy in Algiers documentation on my table after I delivered a bouquet! I was the recipient of his sound advice for decades. Wanting to extend my academic breadth and depth, Dr. Gardinier had me audit a course on existentialism with Sartrean scholar Professor Thomas Anderson to deepen my understanding of Frantz Fanon, the subject of my Master’s Essay. I questioned his decision that I take Father Francis Paul Prucha’s seminar on the American West: “It’s not my field,” I audaciously complained. Professor Gardinier leaned across his desk and responded: “It would be good for you.” And, as usual, it was. Dr. Gardinier insisted that I take economics courses concurrently with my doctoral coursework to expand and sharpen interpretations of the French-Algerian post-colonial relationship. That was an adventure! Nevertheless, it increased my awareness of the multiple importance of economics. During my dissertation defense, renowned European historian Alfred Low suggested that a study of a year or two of the bilateral relationship would have sufficed. Professor Gardinier conspicuously shook his head and defended my pluralist, wider approach, which was also his. I dedicated my editions of the Historical Dictionary of Algeria to David and am proud that I am listed with his Historical Dictionary of Gabon.

    David was more than a graduate student director. He was an exceptional scholar as his obituary notes, for example, his editing of the African section if the American Historical Association’s Recently Published Articles, a great gift to scholars. This was also highlighted by his co-founding of the French Colonial Historical Society which enabled graduate students to begin their publishing record and to meet important figures in the field, including French scholars. He also was that organization’s president from 1978 to 1980. We would travel together to FCHS meetings or meet on-site. I was proud to be recognized as David’s student. In October 1994, France’s Ministry of National Education honored Professor Gardinier by naming him a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his scholarly contributions to French colonial history.

    I want to step away from academics and briefly address David’s musicianship. He was a superb organist. I vividly remember a conversation. He said he was 67 and was going to retire. Why? He wanted to devote more time to his music. I found this rationale for his retirement from one of the most distinguished scholars in his field to be laudable.

    I admired and was even apprehensive of his honesty. His intentions, however, always meant to benefit me. Indeed, David and Josefina—what a couple(!)-- genuinely cared about me and my well-being. I am thankful. They included my family with their families’ important events, like last year’s birthday party for David. (He would have been 87 on 13 October.) We appreciated being invited to join the extended Gardinier family.

    David served his family, his friends, his university, and his department. I will deeply miss mon cher directeur.

    Phillip Naylor, PhD

  • Recent Awards and Fellowships by History Faculty and Graduate Students

    Award and Fellowship Recipients 

    Assistant Professor Bryan Rindfleisch received two external research grants: The Huntington Library awarded him a travel grant of $3500 (plus airfare) for study in the England this summer.  (The Huntington awarded only six fellowships to forty-two applicants.) He also received a British Academy Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society for Research in London for 2019-2020.

    Assistant Professor Sergio González was recently accepted into the 2019 cohort of the Young Scholars Symposium at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies.  The program includes a seminar in April and a meeting with the institute’s senior scholar, who this year is Vicki Ruiz, a professor of history at UC-Irvine who has written or edited more than a dozen books and is a former president of the American Historical Association (2015-2016). Sergio will present a completed chapter from his book manuscript on the Mexican community in Milwaukee. The award provides funding for travel to the symposium and an honorarium of $500. 

    PhD candidate Lisa Lamson received an Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellowship for 2019-20 to support research and writing on her dissertation, which explores Baltimore City’s educational system, in both faith-based and public institutions, to understand the intersections of race, gender, class, and age in nineteenth century America. Her dissertation director is James Marten.

     PhD candidate Peter Borg received a 2019 graduate student teaching award from the Marquette University Graduate School in the “Instructor of Record” category.  In addition to teaching sections of 1101: Introduction to American History, Peter also taught HOPR 1953H – “Exploring the History of Racial Segregation in Milwaukee’s Churches,” a topic inspired by his dissertation research.

     First-year MA Student Tyechia Price was the only finalist from a Humanities department in the Graduate School’s recent “Three-Minute Thesis” competition. Her topic, which is based on papers she’s writing for Daniel Meissner’s and James Marten’s seminars, is on “The Material Witness: A Wearable Story of Chinese Women in the Late 20th Century​.” Watch her presentation.

  • History Department Retirements

    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.