Faculty & Staff News


Professor Ball Invited to Participate in NEH Summer Institute

 OrteliusWorldMapProfessor Ball has been selected to attend a month-long Summer Institute on "Empires and Interactions Across the Early Modern World, 1400-1800" in June funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities at Saint Louis University. She was one of a select group of scholars chosen from a nation-wide pool of applicants. The goals of the seminar are to foster academic inquiry into early modern world history so as to enrich undergraduate teaching and learning and to open new avenues of research for the faculty who participate. Congratulations to Professor Ball on her inclusion in this institute! 


[posted 1 May 2013]


Professor Dunscomb's Book Garners Praise

Dr. Dunscomb and his recent book

The reviews are in, and Professor Dunscomb's book Japan's Siberian Intervention, 1918-1922: 'A Great Disobedience Against the People' has been praised in major journals. Writing in Japan Forum, Ian Nish, preeminent historian of prewar Japanese diplomacy, called the book “gripping,” and noted “Dunscomb covers the diplomatic and military sides of the intervention, but he blends them skillfully with public opinion, political party standpoints, newspaper coverage, and expressions of intellectual opinion.” Robert Kane, in the Journal of Japanese Studies, the key journal for Japan specialists described Dunscomb’s  “meticulously researched volume” as “now clearly the standard work on the subject.” Most recently, Walter Grunden, writing for the Journal of Asian Studies, the journal of the Association for Asian Studies, noted how the book “deftly exploits an impressive array of Japanese sources,” and hopes the book “will spark new interest in this often overlooked but very important episode in Japan’s modern history.” Click the links to read the full text of the reviews. Congratulations to Professor Dunscomb!

                                                        [posted 12 April 2013]


The History Department Says a Fond Farewell to Professor Jacobs

Professor Emeritus Jacobs gives lectureProfessor Emeritus Will Jacobs made his final classroom appearance at UAA in Professor Dunscomb's History A390 class earlier this semester. Jacobs, who had been retired from the department but was working in the administration of UAA as Assistant to the Provost for Planning and occasionally continued to teach for the History Department, gave a presentation on "The Defense of the City." Professor Jacobs has now retired from his administrative post at UAA and moved with his wife Mina to St. Paul, Minnesota. While the department wishes them all the best in their new home, they will be sorely missed in Anchorage. 

                                                                                              [posted 5 April 2013]


Professor Ball's Article Published in Comedia Performance

Prof. Ray Ball Professor Ray Ball's article "Water, Wine, and Aloja: Consuming Interests in the Corrales de Comedias 1600-1646," appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Comedia Performance. Comedia Performance is the journal of the Association for Hispanic Classic Theater, which is an organization devoted to the study of the comedia and other forms of early modern Spanish theater. In this article Professor Ball examines the selling and consumption of food and drink in playhouses in cities in early modern Spain and colonial Mexico and argues that eating and drinking at the theater helped to further commodify public theater in the Spanish Atlantic World during the first half of the seventeenth century. She is currently working on another article and book project about the role of theater in shaping daily life, public opinion, and charity in the early modern Atlantic.

                                                                                       [posted 27 March 2013]


UAA Historians Participate in the Alaska World Affairs Council Events

Professors Shannon, Murphy, and Dunscomb at World QuestOn Saturday, February 2nd several UAA historians participated in the Alaska World Affairs Council's World Quest competition for high school students. Professor Paul Dunscomb emceed the event, and Professors Kelly Shannon, Ian Hartman, and Curtis Murphy served as professors for hire as part of the fundraising for the event. They offered their expertise on topics such as the Middle East, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Proceeds from the event are being used to send the winning team of Sophomores from West High School in Anchorage to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Dunscomb address Postwar Japan



Professor Paul Dunscomb also gave an address, "Postwar Japan is Over: So Why Isn't It?" at the Alaska World Affairs Council on February 8th.





[posted 15 February 2013]


Professor Murphy Discusses the Enlightenment in Eastern Europe

On Monday November 26, 2012 Professor Curtis Murphy gave a talk on his latest research at the UAA Campus Bookstore. His presentation "From Federalism to Centralism: The Enlightenment of Eastern Europe" focused on the dynamic traditions of self-government at the local level in communities in Eastern Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His talk is part of a larger book project that centers on the conflict between the Enlightenment Era centralization policies and the dynamics of urban self government in Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia. He will be presenting further findings at a conference on the Micropolitics of Small Town Life in Eastern Europe in March at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Rachel Epstein and the crew at the UAA Bookstore have prepared a podcast of Professor Murphy's talk, which can be found at the link below:

Prof. Murphy's Podcast.


UAA Historians Present Current Research

Drinking Depicted in a Seventeenth Century WoodcutProfessor Ray Ball recently attended the annual meeting of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference in Cincinnati, where she chaired a panel about the management of natural resources and concerns about ship-building and navigation in the early modern Atlantic World. She also presented a paper entitled "Wine, Water, and Aloja: Consuming Interests During the Reign of Philip IV" as part of a panel on Literature, Theater, and Music in Golden Age Spain. This piece explores the buying, selling, and throwing of food and drink at the theaters in seventeenth-century Spanish cities as lenses for viewing theatrical events and commercial practices. She is now working on expanding that piece for submission to an academic journal.

Professor Curtis Murphy will be presenting "From Federalism to Centralism: The Enlightenment in Eastern Europe" at the UAA Campus Bookstore on Monday, November 26 from 5:00 - 7:00pm. All are welcome to attend as he discusses his research on a new way to understand political developments and the role of government in Eastern Europe during the early 1800's. Professor Murphy's presentation is part of a larger book project. 

[posted 31 October 2012]


 Ray Ball in MadridThe History Department Welcomes Prof. Ball After an Eventful Summer

At the beginning of May, I finished up my teaching responsibilities at Minnesota State University and hopped on a plane to Columbus, Ohio to run a half-marathon. I traveled from there to Madrid, where I spent almost a month doing research on sentiment and legislation directed against the theater in early modern Spain and on the buying and selling of food in Renaissance theaters. While I was in Madrid, I attended a performance of seventeenth-century interludes and visited the house and garden that belonged to the famous playwright and poet Lope de Vega. After I returned to the U.S., my time was largely split between finding a home in Anchorage and two trips to New York City. My time in New York was devoted to working at the Hispanic Society of America as a co-investigator on a project funded by the Mellon Foundation. I also managed to get in a number of runs in Central Park and devote some time to looking for the best cupcake in New York City. I'm now looking forward to getting fully unpacked and exploring Alaska.


[posted 17 September 2012]


Curtis and Sam

Prof. Murphy Joins the Department After a Busy Summer

I spent most of my summer preparing to move myself, my wife, Amanda, and my now seven-month old son, Samuel, from Waterville, Maine to Anchorage. In late May and early June, I participated in the tenth “Recovering Forgotten History” conference in Poland, hosted by Lazarski University in Warsaw. The conference aims to promote the contributions of East Central Europe to European History and correct common errors and misconceptions for the benefit of American textbook authors and scholars. I was fortunate to have two Polish scholars provide commentary on my dissertation for future publication. In June, my article, “Burghers vs. Bureaucrats: Enlightened Centralism, the Royal Towns, and the Case of the Propinacja Law in Poland-Lithuania, 1776-1793” appeared in Slavic Review. Since arriving in Anchorage in August, I have been busily arranging our apartment and preparing for classes.

[posted 17 September 2012]


The History Department Looks Forward to a Fantastic 2012-2013 Academic Year

History Department photo

The UAA historians pause from their work for a group photo.

From left: Professor Myers, Administrative Assistant Woodhead, Professors Dunscomb, Dennison, Murphy, Ha, Hartman, Shannon, and Ball.

[posted 17 September 2012]