Stories Archive

The “Chicano Experience” from Family Memory to Senior Seminar

Three generations of Lindsay Little's family

Sometimes history is about the grand sweep of events, but at other times it can be very personal. Last fall, senior history major Lindsay Little was worried that a piece of history was in danger of being lost—the history of her own family. “On my mother’s side we have a huge family. My grandmother, Maria Cornelia Crisantos, was the eldest of twelve children. She came to the U.S. from Mexico, and for many years lived as a migrant farm worker in California.

Slideshow: "Ever Closer to Freedom: The Work and Legacies of Stephanie M. H. Camp"

The conference "Ever Closer to Freedom: The Work and Legacies of Stephanie M. H. Camp" was held at the University of Washington on May 7th and 8th. Professor Camp was a beloved member of the history faculty, as well as a widely-admired and influential historian of African American slavery, the American South, women and gender. She passed away in 2014.

In 2002, Camp organized a conference entitled "New Studies in American Slavery." A watershed event, that conference sparked tremendous energy in the study of slavery, gender and black history. Among its results was an edited volume, New Studies in the History of American Slavery, edited jointly by Camp and Ed Baptist of Cornell University. Together, the conference and book inspired a generation of researchers in these fields to embrace new ideas, interpretations and methods.

The 2015 conference sought to build on this legacy. The emotional and intellectual energy at the various panels and talks was palpable, creating many memorable moments. A particular highlight was the keynote lecture by UCLA Professor Robin Kelly. In his talk, Kelly underscored the many ways that Camp had advanced the study of slavery in America, while also emphasizing the great relevance of Camp's work to the events which have shaken America's cities in the last year. And, like the 2002 conference, this event is also expected to lead to the publication of an edited volume.

The conference served to advance the fields of study that had inspired Stephanie Camp, but it also allowed those who knew her an opportunity to reflect on her passionate spirit, eloquent scholarship, and warm affection. In this, participants were aided by a pair of special guests, her parents Don and Marie Camp, who attended from Philadelphia.

Click to see conference slideshow

In Memoriam: Jon Bridgman, 1930-2015

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.

History in Action: Department Supports Ferguson Teach-In

Organizers Stephanie Smallwood (right) and Ralina Joseph

Department of History faculty, staff and students played an important part in a one-day teach-in event on the University of Washington campus, entitled “Ferguson and Beyond: Race, State Violence, and Activist Agendas for Social Justice in the 21st Century.” History Professor Stephanie Smallwood took a leading role in organizing the event, in conjunction with Professor Ralina Joseph of the Communications Department, and with the assistance of many units and individuals across the university and beyond.

The teach-in, held January 23rd, drew a crowd of two hundred and seventy people from throughout the Seattle area to the university’s Ethnic Cultural Center. The aim of the event was to connect past, present and future in order to address the pressing issue of racial and state violence in a constructive way. The morning session, “The Past is Always Present,” sought to look back in time and contextualize current events by reference to historical experience. The afternoon portion turned toward the future, by emphasizing the urgent imperative for universal social justice, encouraging student and youth activism as an engine for change, and ending with an open-ended discussion of “The Way Forward.”

Professor Smallwood explained that the format grew out of her own experience attending teach-ins as an undergraduate. “In hindsight,” she said, “those events turned out to be the rare moments to engage faculty outside the classroom, as real people.” A faculty member herself now, Smallwood saw that “we scholars of race, of U.S. history, had something to say, that needed to be said, and wasn’t being said.”

Alumni Profile: Christine Charbonneau

Today, Christine R. Charbonneau (B.A., 1982) is the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, but she started out as a volunteer while studying History at the University of Washington. Planned Parenthood, whose reproductive health mission includes health services, education, and advocacy, is one of the twenty largest not-for-profit organizations in Washington State. Ms. Charbonneau has 500 employees.

Alumni Profile: Jim Maddock

Jim Maddock

When recent graduate Jim Maddock (B.A./B.S. 2014) first came to the University of Washington he had planned to utilize his strong background in math and “hard” science to complete a degree in computer science. However, he recalls, he quickly learned two things about himself:

Alumni Profile: Sarah Lindsley

Sarah Lindsley (Ph.D., 2011) completed her History Ph.D. in twentieth century American history with a focus on gender, sexuality and race. Today, she is a Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist at the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Her successful trajectory from doctoral student to public sector professional, illustrates one of the many diverse career paths open to History graduates.

UW History Professors facilitate NEH workshops, Atomic West, Atomic World

Hanford B Reactor, 1940s

This summer, UW History professors John Findlay and Bruce Hevly shared their expertise with a national audience of K-12 educators as facilitators in workshops on the development of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State. Professors Findlay and Hevly are co-authors of the book Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011). In addition to Findlay and Hevly, a third workshop facilitator, Kate Brown, also has ties to the University of Washington Department of History—she is an alumna, having specialized in Russian history. Brown’s book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters compares the towns around Hanford to equivalent towns in the Soviet Union.

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New Course on American Citizenship Examines the Narrative of “Equal Rights for All” in U.S. History

In Autumn 2014 the Department of History will offer a new course in American history – HSTAA 110 American Citizenship. Designed and taught by Professor John M. Findlay, this course presents a clear, thematic focus on citizenship – an issue that is of enduring interest and importance today -- that supplements the department's introductory survey course in United States history.