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The Richards Center would like to welcome Dara Walker to Penn State as the 2018-19 Richards Center/Africana Research Center Postdoctoral Fellow!

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The Richards Center would like to welcome Dara Walker to Penn State as the 2018-19 Richards Center/Africana Research Center Postdoctoral Fellow!

Dr. Walker holds a PhD in History from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching expertise include African American history, urban history, 20th century U.S. history, public history, and the digital humanities. She received her B.S. in African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2009 as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar as well as a M.A. in Pan-African Studies from Syracuse University in 2011. Dr. Walker is currently writing her book manuscript which examines the role of the high school organizing tradition in the development of black radical politics of the Black Power era. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation’s Dissertation Fellowship, the Walter P. Reuther Library’s Albert Shanker Fellowship for Research in Education, and Rutgers University. She has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS). In addition to her research, teaching, and mentoring, Dr. Walker is a regular contributor to Black Perspectives, the blog site for the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).

Free Summer Mentoring Program for undergrads from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in getting a Ph.D. in History.

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Free Summer Mentoring Program for undergrads from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in getting a Ph.D. in History.

The Richards Center Emerging Scholars Summer Mentoring Program exposes students to doctoral study in the discipline of history. During a one-week summer residential program (June 24-June 29, 2018), Pennsylvania State University faculty and staff demystify the graduate school admissions process and educate participants about the academic profession. Students will participate in a simulated doctoral seminar and attend workshops on a variety of topics, including writing, digital research, and graduate student life. All expenses including travel, housing, meals, and course materials are provided by the university. Penn State’s Richards Center, the Department of History, and the Department of African American Studies sponsor the program in a collaborative effort to attract and enroll students from underrepresented populations.

Follow this link to learn more about the program benefits, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Richards Center Accepting Applications for Undergraduate Internships

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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”
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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

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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.

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