Stories Archive

Reviving the Language and Culture of Sephardic Jews

Professor Devin Naar of the Department of History was recently interviewed for a feature article in the March 2014 edition of Columns: The University of Washington Alumni Magazine. There, he describes his own journey which began when he came into possession of a stack of old letters from relatives who had lived in Greece during the Second World War and were murdered during the Holocaust. It was the process of decyphering these letters--written in Ladino, the centuries-old Judeo-Spanish language of the Sephardic Jews--that set Naar on the path that would later lead him to his present task, leading a project dedicated to keeping the Sephardic language and culture alive.

Research by UW History Students Helps Shape Exhibit on Seattle's Historic Wooden Fishing Boats

Photo credit: Abby Inpanbutr

A new exhibit at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, features research conducted by UW History students. Undergraduate history majors Letha Penhale and Victor Aque and history PhD student Ross Coen all contributed to the exhibit “Highliners: Boats of the Century,” which tells the history of Seattle's century-old fleet of wooden fishing boats. Their research, conducted under the guidance of Department of History Professor Bruce Hevly, who specialized in the history of science and technology, "explored technological changes that have kept the old boats viable, the social history of those who built and operated the vessels and how the fleet and related activities helped shape Northwest coastal communities" (Seattle Times).  Some ships featured in the exhibit were built as long ago as 1913 and continue to participate in the Alaskan fishing season to this day. Thus the work of these history students not only explains the role of these fishing boats in Seattle history, but helps exhibit visitors learn how fishing continues to play a part in Seattle's present.

New Course on the History of Global Health

Using a course development grant from the Department of History, Professor Adam Warren has crafted a new undergraduate course that is of value not only to students of the past, but also to those training to shape the future of global health. Part of the University of Washington’s new Minor in Global Health, this course considers how a historical approach may help experts address complex political and ethical concerns within the global health movement.

The course has proven so popular, with both history and science majors, that Professor Warren plans to teach it again in Autumn 2014.

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Prof. James Gregory featured in CNN piece on Washington State and Workers' Rights

University of Washington History Professor James Gregory, director of the Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects, was recently featured in a CNN article titled "Washington State and Worker's Rights: Two Peas in a Pod." The article explores why Washington state has been "lengths ahead of other states when it comes to worker pay, benefits, and workplace protections." To answer this question, the author asserts, "you have to go to the history books." We couldn't agree more.

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Translation: An Interview with Vicente Rafael

In May 2013 Siri Nergaard interviewed Vicente Rafael at the Nida School of Translation Studies (NSTS) in Misano Adriatico, Italy, where Rafael gave a lecture entitled "The War of Translation: Colonial Education, American English and Tagalog Slang, 1920s -1970s." In the interview Rafael discusses how he became interested in translation and his discovery of the connections among translation, colonization, and conversion in the Philippines.

Read more about the interview in Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal here.

Watch the video of the interview here.

Becoming an Historian

Professor Stephanie Camp was an historian of African Americans, slavery, the American South and women and gender. She taught classes on slavery in the United States, nineteenth- century America, African Americans and beauty and the body. She wrote Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. Learn more about her research and her decision to become an historian.

Graduate Student Profile

Ross Coen is a second-year Ph.D. student in the History Department where he is studying the 20th century American West, in particular the intersections of environment, technology, and politics in Alaska fisheries. He is the author or Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil (University of Alaska Press, 2012), which examines the political and technological history of the SS Manhattan, an icebreaking tanker that transited the Northwest Passage in 1969 in order to test the viability of shipping Alaska North Slope crude oil via circumpolar marine routes.