You are here: Home / Spotlight

Spotlight

Richards Center Accepting Applications for Undergraduate Internships

Up one level
Richards Center Accepting Applications for Undergraduate Internships

The Richards Center invites applications from qualified Penn State undergraduate students for four paid positions at historic sites during the summer of 2018: two at Gettysburg National Military Park and two at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The internships provide students hands-on experience in the work of public history. These non-credit internships come with a $3,500 stipend and free housing at the national parks.  Follow this link to learn more about these exciting internships.

Acclaimed historian to deliver 2017 Brose lectures

Talks to focus on the “The Death Investigators: Coroners, Quants, and the Birth of Death as We Know It”
Up one level
Acclaimed historian to deliver 2017 Brose lectures


Stephen Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era at the University of Georgia, will deliver three lectures on "The Death Investigators: Coroners, Quants, and the Birth of Death as We Know It," for the 2017 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series. Taking place on Nov. 2, 3 and 4 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, the lectures are free and open to the public.

This lecture series is sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State through the generosity of an endowment by Steven and Janice Brose.

For thousands of years, stretching back to the origins of humankind, human life expectancy hovered below the age of 30. In the West, after a brief dip in the early 19th century, it rocketed upward, with the sharpest gains in the United States coming between 1880 and 1920. The story of this sudden rise is typically told as a series of medical breakthroughs, such as advancements in vaccination.

Berry, however, adds to this story the triumph of bureaucracy: John Adams created the Public Health Service (a series of naval quarantine facilities) in 1798; the Massachusetts state legislature authorized Lemuel Shattuck’s “sanitary survey of the state” in 1849; the Bureau of Vital Statistics established a national death certification system in 1900. Between 1840 and 1920 the government worked tirelessly on behalf of Americans to save their children and to double the length of their lives.

The schedule is as follows:

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2:  "From Coroner to Medical Examiner"
  • 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3: "From Mortality Census to Death Certificate"
  • 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4: "From Burial Clubs to For-Profit Insurance"

Stephen Berry is secretary-treasurer of the Southern Historical Association and founder and co-director of the Center for Virtual History. The author or editor of six books on America in the Civil War Era (including "House of Abraham: Lincoln & the Todds, A Family Divided by War"), Berry also created and maintains CSI:Dixie, a web project devoted to the coroners' offices in the 19th-century South. His work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others.

For more information, contact the Richards Center at 814-863-0151 or visit the website at http://richardscenter.la.psu.edu/.

Richards Center to Host Conference on Rethinking Violence in African American History

Up one level
Richards Center to Host Conference on Rethinking Violence in African American History

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, the Department of African American Studies, and the Penn State Libraries will host a conference, Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma, on October 6 and 7. Free and open to the public, the conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Penn State, University Park. Friday’s session will conclude with a keynote lecture at 4:00 p.m., “Racial Violence, Rendition, and Radical Lawyering: 1930-1960,” by Margaret Burnham, University Distinguished Professor of Law at the Northeastern University School of Law.

Organized by Nan Woodruff, Professor of African American Studies and Modern U.S. History, the conference will explore the impact of the country’s long history of racial violence, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow segregation and the Civil Rights movement to the present. Conference participants include social activists, Penn State faculty, and visiting scholars from the fields of history, anthropology, political science, and law who seek to understand the historical dimensions of racial violence in U.S. history and the terror it created. The conference comes at a time of growing public discourse over the role of race and racism in state violence and the criminal justice system.

Dr. Woodruff notes that “racial violence has been central to U.S. history since the founding of a country built on African slavery. The legacies of racial violence and terror continue to resonate in our society as revealed in the persistence of state violence, the incarceration state, and growing racial inequality.”

Rethinking Violence in African American History will place the contemporary discourse on racial and state violence in a historical context and examine the legacy of violence and trauma that can be found in the historical memories of African American communities, families, and individuals.

The schedule is as follows:

-- 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday, October 6, Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma, day one 

--4:00 p.m. Friday, October 6, Keynote Address: “Racial Violence, Rendition, and Radical Lawyering: 1930-1960,” by Dr. Margaret Burnham

-- 9:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m. Saturday, October 7, Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma, day two

For more information on the conference, the keynote speaker, or the Richards Center, contact the center at 814-863-0151 or visit the website at Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma.

Congratulations to Carol Reardon!

Up one level
Congratulations to Carol Reardon!

After twenty-six years at Penn State, Carol Reardon retired at the end of June. The George Winfree Professor of American History, she has been one of the most highly regarded practitioners of U.S. military history in the nation and an important scholar-in-residence of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

Carol joined Penn State as an assistant professor in 1991. By 2010, she was appointed the Winfree Professor in recognition of her contributions to scholarship, to Penn State, and to the military profession.           

During her career she published a number of fine books, all of them providing insight into various aspects of military operations, military philosophy, and the intersection of war and society. For the Civil War, her book on Pickett’s Charge in Memory and History (1997) captivated readers in her analysis of the difference between perceptions and historical knowledge of an event. It was extremely popular and underwent multiple printings by the University of North Carolina Press. She also wrote a very engaging book in the Brose Lecture/Book Series, With a Sword in One Hand & Jomini in the Other (2012), in which she expanded our knowledge of the contributors to military thinking and demonstrated the wear and tear of continuous operations on common soldiers.            

Lately, she has set a new standard for producing battlefield guides. Together with co-author Tom Vossler, she has opened fresh insight into the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam, and shared some of these findings with participants on the Richards Center Executive Tour.           

She also provided important and significant service to the historical profession, serving a stint as the first woman named President of the Society for Military History.           

Also distinguishing Carol’s career was her dedication to reaching out beyond the academy, sharing her hard-earned knowledge with the military and the public. For the former, she served important posts as visiting professor at both the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She also became famous for her staff rides of battlefields that showed military personnel how they could apply lessons in leadership from the past to contemporary situations. And she has been in high demand to give public talks, with her talents amply demonstrated during her year as the Penn State Laureate. 

“Carol has been an extremely important person in the history of the Richards Center,” said Director Bill Blair. “Her presence provided the cache´ that we were not only a serious center for scholarly research, but also a disseminator of that knowledge to the public. Her expertise in military history and her capacity to engage with the public have been unsurpassed. She will be greatly missed even as we wish her all the best on her transition.”

                                                                                                                                                                             

Richards Center Hosts Second Annual Undergraduate Mentoring Program

Up one level
Richards Center Hosts Second Annual Undergraduate Mentoring Program

From June 25-30, the Richards Center hosted its second annual Emerging Scholars Undergraduate Mentoring Program. The program is designed to increase interest in Penn State’s graduate History program among students from historically underrepresented backgrounds and especially to expose them to Penn State’s unique dual degree programs in History and African American Studies and History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Twenty-three students applied for the program, and the 10 students who were accepted came from eight different states and the territory of Puerto Rico. They represented a variety of institutions, including Mississippi State, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Arizona, Florida A & M (the only historically black institution in the Florida state university system), and the University of Puerto Rico, among others. During the week-long program they took part in panel discussions with current Penn State faculty and graduate students on such topics as writing compelling admissions statements, choosing a graduate program, and developing a successful research project. They also participated in a simulated doctoral seminar that introduced them to the practice of history at the graduate level. In their post-workshop survey, students praised the program. One commented that "the program more than met my expectations. It really helped to demystify grad school for me," while another student told us, "I can't wait to bring information about this program back to my university and encourage other students to apply."

When the program was launched in 2016, Crystal Sanders, Associate Professor in the Departments of History and African American Studies and one of the summer initiative coordinators, remarked that the Richards Center's program will not only diversify Penn State, but also, the academy: “The center's commitment to increasing the number of PhDs from underrepresented minority groups is exciting and commendable. Diversity among both students and faculty in the classroom fosters excellence and ensures that higher education reflects the demographics of our world.” The undergraduate mentoring curriculum already is bearing fruit. One of the participants in last year's inaugural event will enroll in the History department's PhD program in August.