Events and Activities



Speaker on "Gender and Treason in the Civil War," Monday Nov. 2

The history department is pleased to invite our public supporters to two lectures by Dr. Stephanie McCurry, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

On November 2, Dr. McCurry will discuss “Gender and Treason during the Civil War,” at 7:00 p.m. in the Roberts Recital Hall. On November 3, she will present “Arming Slaves in the Confederacy” during an afternoon Honors Forum from 11:10-12:30 p.m. in Frank Franz Hall Multipurpose Room.

Dr. McCurry’s Master’s of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country changed the way historians think about gender and politics. Her book was also instrumental in focusing scholars’ attention away from Southern planters and onto Southern yeomen, or smaller farmers. This excellent, ground-breaking work won numerous awards, including the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Charles Sydnor Award of the Southern Historical Association.

In the spring, Harvard will publish her newest work, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. In this monograph, McCurry takes a new look at popular politics in the Confederate States of America, concentrating on the disenfranchised and the transformation of the southern body politic before military defeat and Reconstruction. She will be sharing work from this soon to be published work with UAH and the Huntsville community in November.

Both lectures are free and open to the public. Support is provided by the UAHuntsville Distinguished Speakers Series, History Department, Honors Program, and Women’s Studies Program.

Please come and bring a friend!


AIA Talk: Children in Wartime, October 14

Dr. John Oakley of the College of William and Mary, author of critically acclaimed books including The Wedding in Ancient Athens and Coming of Age in Ancient Greece, will examine representations of children in Greek art during the war between Athens and Sparta and then compare this evidence to images of children during war in the modern world. Dr. Oakley will speak on Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 PM in the Shelby Center at UAH. More information at 824-6114.

Two Upcoming Community Events Involving UAH History Alumni

The UAH history department is pleased to announce two upcoming community history events, both of which involve the work of UAH history alumni.

The first is the multimedia production, "Upon their Shoulders: the Merrimack Story," from October 15-19, 2009, featuring the legendary actress Lee Meriwether. It will tell the rich history of Huntsville through the lives of the real people who labored in the city's textile mills. It will trace the lives of three boys beginning in 1911and feature rare photos and film footage and dramatizations of actual events.

Alumna Susanna Leberman has been consulting and helping with images and narration, and the production also quotes from UAH alumna Whitney Snow's history MA thesis, "The Cotton Mills of Huntsville."

The event will be at the Merrimack Performing Arts Center. Further information is available at or 256-534-6455.

The second community event is the annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll, held at Maple Hill Cemetery in downtown Huntsville on October 18, 2:00-4:30 pm. More than 65 costumed characters, representing historic Huntsville personages, will come alive to tell the history of the cemetery and of Huntsville. UAH history alumna Susanna Leberman will participate. Further information is available at

Pictured her see a flyer for "Upon their Shoulders" and a photograph from a previous Cemetery Stroll.


Public History Student Elisabeth Spalding to Give Talk at Huntsville Library on Restoring Old Photographs

On Wednesday June 24, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Huntsville Library, history major Elisabeth Spalding will give a public lecture on "Preserving Your Past: Technology and Digital Restoration." This lecture will be based on the internship Elisabeth completed in the Huntsville Library Archives as part of the class she took Spring 2009 with Dr. John Kvach on "Public History."

Elisabeth will talk about the history of photography including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and CDVs as well as the importance of restoring old photographs. She will also give tips on simple and easy digital photo touch-ups that anybody can do.

Please come and learn about the history of photography and about how to preserve your old photographs!


Public Talk on Alabama During the Civil War by UAH History Major Joseph Richardson

We are pleased to announce that history major Joseph T. Richardson, the winner of the new Dr. John Rison Jones Award in Southern History, will give a public talk on "I.D.W. Cobb: North Alabama Partisan Ranger: Researching a Local Civil War Soldier."

The lecture will be at the Huntsville Public Library on Wednesday April 15, 2008, at 6:30 pm in the Library Auditorium.

Richardson will present his research on I.D.W. Cobb (1847-1933), a local Confederate veteran who took part in North Alabama's untold partisan ranger conflict behind Union lines, serving under Captain Milus E. "Bushwhacker" Johnston and Colonel Lemuel G. Mead.

Starting from scratch with the name of a man he'd never heard of, chosen from a list of local veterans provided by my professor Dr. John Kvach, Richardson's research process helped him illuminate the life of this forgotten soldier in records, photographs, and finally his own words.

Richardson will also present a brief overview of his methods and sources, to encourage others to discover their own Civil War heritage.

Please come and bring a friend!

Film Showing Friday April 10: Conspiracy (2001)

All students and community members are welcome to watch the HBO Film "Conspiracy," made in 2001, on Friday April 10, 2009 at 1:00pm in Roberts Hall 423 (the history seminar room). The film stars Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci and examines the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 at which leading Nazis formalized plans for the "Final Solution" to kill all of the Jews in Europe.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Molly Johnson at

Please come and bring a friend!


AIA Talk: Cahokia and the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex

Dr. John E. Kelly of Washington University in St. Louis is an expert on eastern North American archaeology, particularly Mississippian culture as evidenced at the extensive site of Cahokia, just outside of St. Louis. Cahokia, a World Heritage UNESCO Site, possesses approximately 120 mounds, including Monk’s Mound, the largest mound in North America. It is also the location of the intriguing “Woodhenge,” a monument that marked the solstices and equinoxes much like Stonehenge in England. Dr. Kelly has been working frequently at Cahokia and other nearby Mississippian sites since 1969. He is interested in the role of ritual and kinship as manifested in the imagery and dispersal of various artifacts and techniques. This manifestation of Mississippian culture is referred to as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC).

March 30
"Cahokia's Mound 34 and the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex" Chan Auditorium 7:30 PM


Film Viewing of "Downfall": Friday March 27

All students and community members are invited to view the German film "Downfall"
(2006). This film recounts the final days of Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazis in the spring of 1945 in Berlin. It is based in part on the memoirs of Hitler's secretary as well as on the works of leading historians.

The film will be shown at 1:00 p.m. in Roberts Hall 423 (the history department's seminar room).

Please contact Dr. Molly Johnson with any questions:


After a earning a Loyola University master's degree in public history, Brian Coffey worked as a public historian for both public and private institutions. He has published articles on American industrial history and participated in several historic preservation projects. For the last decade, he's served the National Park Service as a historian. In his role as NPS Historian in the Southeast Region, Brian has traveled to and worked in dozens of National Parks from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Great Smoky Mountains. He will be discussing this work from an "inside the NPS" perspective Tuesday, March 24th, at 7:30 in RH 419.


AIA TALK 10 March: The United States vs. Art Thieves: Tales from the FBI's Real Indiana Jones

Robert K. Wittman joined the FBI as a Special Agent in 1988 and was until a few months ago assigned to the Philadelphia Field Division. As a result of specialized training in art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification, he served as the FBI’s investigative expert in this field worldwide. He has been responsible for the recovery of more than $225 million worth of stolen art and cultural property and has been instrumental in the prosecution and conviction of numerous individuals involved in these crimes. Because of this unique experience, SA Wittman was the Senior Investigator of the FBI’s rapid deployment national Art Crime Team (ACT), working under cover in a variety of roles.

SA Wittman’s investigation of a theft at the Pennsbury Manor, the historical home of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, resulted in the first prosecution and convictions under the federal Theft of Major Artwork Statute (18 USC 668). Other highlights of his most recent recoveries include one of the original 14 copies of the Bill of Rights, which is valued at $30 million. The original had been sent to North Carolina for ratification in 1789 and was later stolen by a Union soldier during the Civil War. Wittman led an international undercover operation that netted $50 million worth of paintings stolen from a private estate in Madrid, including two paintings by Goya. He was involved in another undercover operation responsible for the recovery of Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait” which was stolen from the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm and valued at $36 million. SA Wittman recovered three of five Norman Rockwell paintings stolen from a private gallery in Minneapolis from a farmhouse in Brazil. Also in South America, he led the operation to return a 2,000 year-old golden Pre-Columbian piece of body armor known as a “Backflap,” created by the ancient Moche people and looted from the Royal Tomb of the Lord of Sipan in Peru. For his efforts, the President of Peru awarded Wittman the “Peruvian Order of Merit for Distinguished Service.” In 2004, the Smithsonian Institution presented SA Wittman the “Robert Burke Memorial Award for Excellence in Cultural Property Protection” at the National Conference on Cultural Property Protection in Washington, D.C.

He has given presentations at the American Association of Museums (AAM) Annual Conference; National Conference on Cultural Property Protection at the Smithsonian Institution; the International Conference on Museum Security (ICOMS) in Basel, Switzerland; the J. Paul Getty Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the San Diego Museum of Art; the Princeton Art Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston; the Minneapolis Institute of Art and many others.

March 10
"US vs. Art Thieves: Tales from the FBI's Real Indiana Jones"
Chan Auditorium
7:30 PM


Dr. LeeAnna Keith to Speak on "Alabama Fever": Wed. Feb. 25, 7:00 p.m.

The History Department at UAHuntsville is pleased to welcome Dr. LeeAnna Keith to campus. In addition to meeting with undergraduate and graduate students in Dr. John Kvach's course on "Public History," Dr. Keith will give two public lectures:

History Forum: "Alabama Fever: Slavery and Western Expansion in Antebellum Huntsville"
Wednesday, February 25, 7:00 p.m., Roberts Hall 419

Honors Forum: "The Colfax Massacre"
Thursday, February 26, 11:10 a.m., Frank Franz Hall Multipurpose Room

In the first lecture, Dr. Keith will examine the role that “Alabama Fever” had on the development of antebellum Huntsville and Madison County. “Alabama Fever” became a term commonly used to describe the excitement created by the opening of new land after the United States government defeated the Creek Nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Enticed by fertile land, navigable rivers, and the possibility of spreading slavery to new territory, thousands of settlers from the South Atlantic seaboard moved into present-day Alabama, creating the foundation for an agricultural, slaved-based plantation economy that would exist until the Civil War.

In the second lecture, Dr. Keith will discuss her book, The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction . Her website describes the book as follows:
"On Easter Sunday, 1873, in the tiny hamlet of Colfax, Louisiana, more than 150 members of an all-black Republican militia, defending the town's courthouse, were slain by an armed force of rampaging white supremacists. The most deadly incident of racial violence of the Reconstruction era, the Colfax Massacre unleashed a reign of terror that all but extinguished the campaign for racial equality.

LeeAnna Keith's The Colfax Massacre is the first full-length book to tell the history of this decisive event. Drawing on a huge body of documents, including eyewitness accounts of the massacre, as well as newly discovered evidence from the site itself, Keith explores the racial tensions that led to the fateful encounter, during which surrendering blacks were mercilessly slaughtered, and the reverberations this message of terror sent throughout the South. Keith also recounts the heroic attempts by U.S. Attorney J.R. Beckwith to bring the killers to justice and the many legal issues raised by the massacre. In 1875, disregarding the poignant testimony of 300 witnesses, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in U.S. v. Cruikshank to overturn a lower court conviction of eight conspirators. This decision virtually nullified the Ku Klux Klan Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871--which had made federal offenses of a variety of acts to intimidate voters and officeholders--and cleared the way for the Jim Crow era.

If there was a single historical moment that effectively killed Reconstruction and erased the gains blacks had made since the civil war, it was the day of the Colfax Massacre. LeeAnna Keith gives readers both a gripping narrative account of that portentous day and a nuanced historical analysis of its far-reaching repercussions."

Dr. Keith's visit is co-sponsored by the History Department and the Honors Forum at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Please contact 256-824-6310 with questions.


2009 Classics Week: Professor Robert Kaster of Princeton University

The Society for Ancient Languages at UAHuntsville is pleased to announce the 2009 Classics Week, featuring Professor Robert Kaster, Professor of Classics and Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin at Princeton University. Kaster will give two lectures on Friday, February 27, both in 419 Roberts Hall. At 11:30 a.m., he will discuss "Roman Values and Virtues," and at 7:00 p.m., he will discuss "Cicero in Mourning."

Professor Kaster received a BA degree from Dartmouth College in 1969 and MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University in 1971 and 1975. His specialities are Roman rhetoric, ancient education, and Roman ethics. He has published six books, including Guardians of Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity, which won the Goodwin Award of Merit in 2001. His works in progress include an annotated translation of Seneca's De ira and De clementia and an edition of Macrobius's Saturnalia.

Please come to one or both talks and bring a friend! Please contact Dr. Richard Gerberding, Professor of History and Director of Classic Studies at

Film Showing: Sophie Scholl, the Last Days

ed to view the German film "Sophie Scholl: The Last Days" (2005) on Friday February 20 at 1:00 p.m. in Roberts Hall 423 (the seminar room). This film recounts the actions and interrogation of Sophie Scholl, key member of the White Rose student resistance group based at the University of Munich during the Nazi era. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This is one of several films Dr. Molly Johnson is showing as part of her class on "Nazi Germany and the Holocaust." Please contact her with any questions at


AIA Talks: Aspects of Africa, Feb. 17-19

Dr. Paula Girshick comes to Huntsville as a Humanities Center Visiting Eminent Professor. She is a Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Indiana University, where she is also affiliated with the Center for Archaeology in the Public Interest.

Dr. Girshick has had a distinguished career doing significant field research on the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, and analyzing the cultural, political, and historical significance of the highly ritualized royal art of the Benin. She is an expert on the priestesses devoted to the powerful deity Olokun. She has published significantly on Benin art and her book, The Art of the Benin, published by the British Museum Press and the Smithsonian Institution, remains the most important survey of Benin visual culture.

More recently, Dr. Girshick has turned her attention to the use of art and museums in establishing national identity in post-Apartheid South Africa. She also investigates the dynamics of the South African market for so-called “traditional” African art.

At Indiana University Dr. Girshick teaches a wide range of fascinating courses that relate to her research areas: “Art and Commodity,” “Exhibiting Cultures: Museums, Exhibitions, and Worlds’ Fairs,” “Theories of Material Culture,” “The Anthropology of Tourism,” and “Public Art: Monuments and Memorials.”

February 17
Paula Girshick, Indiana University
Humanities Center Visiting Eminent Scholar Program
"Molders of the Gods: the Priestess as Artist in the Benin Kingdom, Nigeria"
Roberts Hall 419, 12:45 PM

February 17
Dr. Paula Girshick, Indiana University
Humanities Center Visiting Eminent Scholar Program
"There Are Three Things in the Palace That Are Threatening": Royal Ritual Symbolism in the Benin Kingdom, Nigeria"
Chan Auditorium
7:30 PM

February 18
Dr. Paula Girshick, Indiana University
Humanities Center Visiting Eminent Scholar Program
viewing and discussion of film "In and Out of Africa"
Union Grove Gallery 12:30

February 19
Dr. Paula Girshick, Indiana University
Humanities Center Visiting Eminent Scholar Program
"National Monuments and the Re-figuration of the Past in Post-Apartheid South Africa"
Chan Auditorium
7:30 PM

Research Talk by Dr. Christine Sears

On Monday February 16 at 5:30 p.m. in Roberts Hall 423 (the seminar room), Dr. Christine Sears, Assistant Professor of History, will give a talk on her research entitled "'American Livestock:' Masculinity, Slavery and Barbary Pirates."

This event is co-sponsored by the History Club and the Phi Alpha Theta history honorary.

Please come and bring a friend!


Film Showing: Schindler's List, 1:00 p.m. Friday February 13

You are invited to watch Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List , winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993, on Friday February 13 at 1:00 p.m. in Roberts Hall 423. This film tells the true story of how German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over 1000 Jews from Poland during the Holocaust.

This is the first of four films to be shown in conjunction with Dr. Molly Johnson's course on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Please contact her with any questions at

Please come and bring a friend!


Iraq and Afghanistan: What the News Leaves Out

The History Club and Phi Alpha Theta are co-sponsoring a presentation by Dr. James Isbell, lecturer of history, and George Preussel, senior history major, on Monday February 2 at 6:00 p.m. in Roberts Hall 419 (the art history lecture hall).

Dr. Isbell was stationed in Afghanistan in 2007 as a Lieutenant with the Navy Intelligence Unit. George was stationed in Iraq in 2005 as a Marine Staff Sargeant. They will share their experiences with students and answer student questions.

Please come and bring a friend! This promises to be a very interesting discussion!


History Club Movie Night

On Thursday January 22, the History Club will show the movie "Mongol" at 6:15 p.m. in Roberts Hall 419 (the art history lecture hall).

Please come and bring a friend!

AIA TALK: January 20 City of the Grim Reaper

Dr. Paul Zimansky received his undergraduate degree in Classics at Johns Hopkins University and then did his PhD at the University of Chicago in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He has taught at UC Berkeley and Boston University before his current position as Professor of Archaeology and Ancient History at SUNY Stony Brook, where his wife and frequent collaborator, Dr. Elizabeth Stone, is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Prior to the outbreak of the recent wars in Iraq, Dr. Zimansky participated in and led excavations at Nippur, Bastam, Tell Hamide, and Mashkan-shapir, which will be the site he presents to us. Mashkan-shapir is approximately 100 miles southeast of Baghdad and in its hey day was larger than the famed Sumerian city of Ur. Mashkan-shapir was dedicated to the deity Nergal, the Mesopotamian god of death, and its rulers were rivals of the famed Babylonian king, Hammurabi. Recent satellite and aerial photography reveals that this once thriving city that contained extensive, well-preserved and highly significant archaeological remains has been looted on an industrial scale.

"City of the Grim Reaper: Rediscovery and Demise at Mashkan-shapir, Iraq"
Chan Auditorium, 7:30 PM
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