The Department of History

News Spotlight

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 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.

Featured Story

Mapping American Social Movements Through the 20th Century is a collaborative project which seeks to create maps and visualizations of America’s twentieth-century social movements. The project encompasses all types of social movements including radical, labor, civil rights, environmental, and women’s rights movements. By mapping all types of social movements, the project hopes to find patterns and links between different social phenomena. The project was featured on UW Today. To read the article, click on the link UW Today Article.

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.