The Department of History

News Spotlight

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Robin Stacey introduced an inventive course, Reacting to the Past: Religion and Politics in Medieval Europe, which is based on a program originally developed at Barnard College. As part of this curriculum, students transform themselves into historical characters and, utilizing role play and strategy, immerse themselves in historical events which may or may not turn out the way that history claims they did. Dr. Stacey’s course has created such a dynamic environment that last year’s students have returned with enthusiasm to tell this year’s students about their experiences, including how the course created a friendship within the group that has expanded beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Former participant Josie Rollins, a recent graduate from UW’s History Department, continues to express her enthusiasm for Dr. Stacey’s course by trying to create a Reacting to the Past group at Cambridge, where she is currently pursuing a PhD.

Featured Story

The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project introduces a new component to its website—LGBTQ Activism in Seattle, a history project compiled by graduate student Kevin McKenna. This important new resource documents LGBTQ history and activism in Seattle and Western Washington since the late-nineteenth century and features oral histories with activists and introductory essays about key issues and communities. The project also serves as a gateway to the LGBTQ Special Collections and Archival Resources of the University of Washington Libraries. Follow the link to explore LGBTQ Activism in Seattle.

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.