The Department of History


The department is pleased to congratulate undergraduate Richard Ruoff, who was selected for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2015-16.

Richard is a student in the History and Near Eastern Studies departments. Coming off a year studying abroad at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Richard hoped to continue his language and cultural studies in the Anatolian heartland, far away from the cosmopolitan metropolis of Istanbul. In applying to the Fulbright Program, he sought to work in a newly-established university in a provincial locale, where he will be able to absorb the language in less urbanized and more traditional parts of Turkish society.

While Richard looks forward to living and learning in a region where English is virtually unknown, he also intends to help his host community take a step toward changing the status quo. Having accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistanceship, he looks forward to providing his future students with prolonged exposure and access to a native English speaker, which Richard knows can be a rare sight outside of Turkey's main tourist cities. He hopes it will be a relationship of great mutual benefit

Richard's work in Turkey will prepare him to continue his education in a graduate program specializing in Ottoman studies, laying the foundation for a successful career in academia.

Read more about Richard's experiences in Turkey here, and more about the award here.




The Department of History was saddened to lose one of its leading lights, Emeritus Professor Jon Bridgman, on March 9th, after more than five decades of teaching at the University of Washington. Bridgman joined the university in 1961, as a specialist in modern European history. After his retirement in 1997, he continued to be an active participant in the life of the university and the department through teaching courses and giving public lectures. His absence will be sorely felt.

Professor Bridgman was an esteemed scholar, having authored Revolt of the Hereros (1981) and The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps (1990). But he is remembered, first and foremost, as an inspiring teacher, and a fierce advocate for the relevance of history to understanding the modern world. Over the years, Bridgman shared his passion for history with thousands and thousands of students, earning their deep admiration.

In the classroom Professor Bridgman had a uniquely engaging presence. As his friend, James Binder, remembered, his nervous energy, story-telling flair and, most of all, his distinctive laugh “would disarm students—within a couple of classes they were hooked.” Bridgman’s style was paired with immense substance. His knowledge was vast, and the clarity with which he organized and presented information allowed students to navigate complex historical terrains with confidence. He wrote each lecture from scratch, with fountain pen and legal pad, and as Binder recalled, “You could take the same class time and again, and every time Jon would present it from a new perspective and you would learn new things.”


As early modern Europe launched its multiple projects of global empire, it simultaneously embarked on an ambitious program of describing and picturing the world. The shapes and meanings of the extraordinary global images that emerged from this process form the subject of this highly original and richly textured study of cultural geography. Inventing Exoticism draws on a vast range of sources from history, literature, science, and art to describe the energetic and sustained international engagements that gave birth to our modern conceptions of exoticism and globalism.