The Department of History

News Spotlight

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 Professor of intellectual history and former director of the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID), Professor John Toews has been a crucial member of the College of Arts and Sciences for thirty-five years. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Giovanni Costigan Endowed Professorship in History, and the Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professorship in Western Civilization, John Toews has been a significant force in his field for decades. At the University of Washington, though, Professor Toews is best known for his contributions to the CHID Program.

Featured Story

Historian Phillip Thurtle draws on genetics, comics, film, and a vast array of cultural mythology to probe a question that haunts our collective past: Why don't humans have wings? Bridging science and humanities, Thurtle's digital showcase, Gothic Wings, invites viewers to explore his argument in whatever order they choose. Thurtle's innovative, multimedia project uses Scalar, a platform developed by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at the University of Southern California, which allows for flexible nonlinear storytelling.

Faculty Book Corner

In Motherless Tongues, Vicente L. Rafael examines the vexed relationship between language and history gleaned from the workings of translation in the Philippines, the United States, and beyond. Moving across a range of colonial and postcolonial settings, he demonstrates translation's agency in the making and understanding of events. These include nationalist efforts to vernacularize politics, U.S. projects to weaponize languages in wartime, and autobiographical attempts by area studies scholars to translate the otherness of their lives amid the Cold War. In all cases, translation is at war with itself, generating divergent effects. Over the course of this journey, Rafael delineates the untranslatable that inheres in every act of translation, asking about the politics and ethics of uneven linguistic and semiotic exchanges.