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UNC Press Publishes 11th Brose Book

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UNC Press Publishes 11th Brose Book

In November, UNC Press published The Second American Revolution: The Civil War-Era Struggle Over Cuba and the Rebirth of the American Republic, by Gregory P. Downs. Based on Downs's 2016 Brose Lectures, it is the 11th publication in the Brose Book Series

William Blair Announces Retirement

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William Blair Announces Retirement

Richards Center executive director and Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor of Middle American History William Blair will retire in June after twenty-one years at Penn State. Blair, a Penn State graduate, joined the Department of History faculty in 1998. As the director of the Richards Center, he oversaw its growth into one of the leading sites for the study of the Civil War era in the country. In 2003, George and Ann Richards endowed the center with a naming gift. Two years later, Blair spearheaded the center’s successful application for a We the People challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that contributed $4,000,000 to the center’s endowment. During his tenure, the center has received more than $9,000,000 in pledges, providing critical support for the Center’s mission to promote the advancement of Civil War era studies, enhance graduate education at Penn State, and provide internship opportunities for undergraduates. The Center also has served as a pipeline for establishing four endowed professorships in the Department of History. 

Under Blair’s leadership, the Richards Center has spurred Civil War era scholarship through its signature lecture/book series and peer-reviewed journal. The Steven (’69) and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture and Book series have produced more than 50 lectures and 10 books on Civil War era topics since 1998. Blair also published over 200 authors during his editorship of Civil War History from 2000 to 2010 and the Journal of the Civil War Era from 2011 through 2015. He was the founding editor of the JCWE, which was recognized by the Library Journal as one of the top ten new periodicals in the nation during 2011. In addition to promoting scholarship in the history of the Civil War era, Blair and the Richards Center also assisted teacher education on the history of race, slavery, and the slave trade through the UNESCO Breaking the Silence program. For undergraduates, the Center during his tenure has placed roughly fifty interns at historic sites throughout the country, with about a third of those individuals finding careers in the academy or in public history.

Blair earned his PhD at Penn State in 1995. He is the author or editor of half a dozen books, including, most recently, With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era (UNC Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize in 2015. Blair earned numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching at Penn State, including the Welch Alumni Award and the Class of 1993 Distinction in the Humanities Award, both received from the College of the Liberal Arts in 2003 and 2009, and The President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration in 2011. In addition, the Society of Civil War Historians presented him with its lifetime achievement award during the Southern Historical Association annual meeting in November. In recognition of his scholarship and service to the university and the history profession, he was appointed the Walter L. and Helen P. Feree Professor of Middle American History in 2015. History Department Head Michael Kulikowski reflected, “Under Bill’s leadership, the Richards Center became one of the main sites for innovative, groundbreaking research on the Civil War era, meaningfully expanding the boundaries of what studying the Civil War can mean.” In retirement, Blair will complete his latest book manuscript, Murders and Outrages, which chronicles the vast extent of violence committed against freedpeople in the South, as recorded by the Freedmen’s Bureau during Reconstruction, and wrap up a second book on one hundred years of black history at what is now Arlington National Cemetery.

Blair Receives SCWH Lifetime Achievement Award

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Blair Receives SCWH Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations to William Blair, Walter L. And Helen P. Ferree Professor of Middle American History and Director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Penn State.

On Friday, November 9, the Society of Civil War Historians recognized Bill’s service to the society with their lifetime achievement award. President Nina Silber and society officers Jim Marten and Steve Engle presented Bill with the award during the organization’s Tom Watson Brown Book Award dinner at the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. Since the society’s revival in 2006, the Richards Center has served as its organizational home, planning the biennial conferences and the annual Watson Brown Book Award dinners. In that time, the society’s membership has risen from fewer than 200 to approximately 650, and the Journal of the Civil War Era, which Bill founded in 2011 as the society’s official journal, has established itself as a leading academic periodical in its field.

Call for applications - Postdoctoral Scholar, African-American History

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Call for applications - Postdoctoral Scholar, African-American History

The Richards Civil War Era Center and the Africana Research Center invite applications for a one-year postdoctoral scholar in African-American history, beginning July 1, 2019. All research interests spanning the origins of slavery through the Civil Rights movement will receive favorable consideration. Proposals that mesh with the Richards Center’s interests in slavery, abolition, and emancipation, as well as comparative or Atlantic history, are especially welcome. During their residency, the scholar will have no teaching or administrative responsibilities. He or she will be matched with a mentor, attend professional development sessions and other relevant events, and will be expected to take an active part in Penn State’s community of Africana researchers. The scholar also will invite two senior scholars to campus to read and comment on the scholar’s project.  Successful applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. within the previous four academic years. Salary/benefit package is competitive. To be considered for this position, submit complete application packets including a cover letter describing your research and goals for the scholarship year, a curriculum vita (6 page maximum), and a writing sample of no more than 30 double-spaced pages. Review of materials will begin November 15, 2018 and continue until the position has been filled. Three letters of reference should be addressed to the attention of the ESSS Selection Committee and submitted as email attachments to richardscenter@psu.edu.  Please direct questions about the process via e-mail to richardscenter@psu.edu. Applications must be submitted online at https://psu.jobs/job/83060.

To review the Annual Security Report, which contains information about crime statistics and other safety and security matters and policies, please go to https://police.psu.edu/annual-security-reports, which will also explain how to request a paper copy of the Annual Security Report.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

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).