This year, the Department of History is honoring Professor Richard Johnson, who is retiring after forty-four years at the University of Washington. One of our department’s many recipients of a Distinguished Teaching Award, Professor Johnson taught early American history. Professor Johnson spent his career focused on training students how to be historians. “I am interested in conveying history as a discipline, as a method of argument, not as a rote memorization of facts and dates,” he stated. When discussing why undergraduate education was so important, Professor Johnson pointed to a drawer filled to capacity with notecards.
If asked the question “what can you do with a Bachelor’s Degree in History?” history majors will provide many different answers. Recent graduate Josie Rollins’ response to this question was to go to graduate school. A former recipient of the Department of History’s Sleizer Scholarship and the Magna Carta Society Prize, Josie has decided to take what she learned at the UW and pursue an advanced degree. Now at Cambridge University in England, Josie is pursuing first an M.Phil, the British equivalent of an M.A., and then a Ph.D. While at the UW, Josie took as many history classes as she could, but found herself increasingly drawn to medieval history. Her favorite courses at the UW were Professor Charity Urbanski’s Medieval England class and Professor Robin Stacey’s Reacting to the Past. When asked why these classes were her favorites, Josie said “they challenged me to examine my assumptions about medieval history and see how many gaps there are in our knowledge about the period.
Faculty Book Corner
Serious and silly, unifying and polarizing, presidential elections have become events that Americans love and hate. Today's elections cost billions of dollars and consume the nation's attention for months, filling television airwaves and online media with endless advertising and political punditry, often heated, vitriolic, and petty. Yet presidential elections also provoke and inspire mass engagement of ordinary citizens in the political system. No matter how frustrated or disinterested voters might be about politics and government, every four years, on the first Tuesday in November, the attention of the nation—and the world—focuses on the candidates, the contest, and the issues. The partisan election process has been a way for a messy, jumbled, raucous nation to come together as a slightly-more-perfect union.