Public History Faculty
Faculty throughout the History Department are engaged in Public History practice to varying degrees. UMass faculty members have sat on the boards of local museums and historical societies, served as consultants on exhibits and documentary films, contributed their expertise to public policy analysis, and an array of other such activities. Our program, however, is guided by Professors Marla Miller and David Glassberg, and Jon Olsen, whose research, writing and professional activities encompass and emphasized the special concerns of Public Historians.
Director, Public History Program, and Assistant Professor
Research Interests and Professional Activities:
Though Professor Miller's primary research interest is U.S. women's work before industrialization, over the course of her career she has worked in museums, preservation agencies, and archives, and continues to consult with a wide variety of historical organizations. Her teaching interests extend to the Introduction to Public History, American Material Culture, and Museum and Historic Site Interpretation, as well as independent studies in Archives and Historic Preservation. She also works closely with the M.S. in Design/Historic Preservation UMass offers in collaboration with the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA, and directed by Professor Max Page.
Research Interests and Professional Activities:
Professor Glassberg's research concerns the history of popular historical consciousness in America as represented in politics, culture, and the environment. Among his publications are American Historical Pageantry: The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century (1990), and Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life (2001). He is also interested in governmental history and the intersections between public history and climate change.
Office: Herter 609
Telephone: (413) 545-6767
Fax: (413) 545-6137
Personal Homepage http://people.umass.edu/jon
Research Interests and Professional Activities:
Public history and New Media/Digital History, as well as memory and historical consciousness in Modern Germany, especially the role of monuments, museums, and commemorations in East Germany. His dissertation, which he completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004 and is currently under revision, is titled "Tailoring Truth: Memory Culture and State Legitimacy in East Germany." Before coming to UMass, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at George Mason University and worked at the Center for History and New Media as the editor of an e-learning Website commemorating the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989). He offers graduate courses in Digital History and Comparative Memory, as well as German and European History.
Public History Allied Faculty
Faculty across the UMass Campus and throughout the Five Colleges contribute to our Public History curriculum. Students regularly take courses with faculty in other departments, work with them on special projects, and read with them for exams. Some faculty whose interests are most closely related to our program's include:
Joyce Avrech Berkman
Department of History
Telephone: ((413) 545-6759
Joyce Berkman welcomes interested students to participate with her in a variety of her regular public history undertakings -- consulting for theater companies, conducting workshops for K-12 teachers, undertaking and supervising oral history projects, co-directing the five college faculty/graduate student oral history seminar and serving the Valley Women's History Collaborative, of which she is a founder, until recently its director and now treasurer and oral history coordinator. She offers a combined advanced undergraduate and graduate course in oral history.
Madeleine H. Blais
Department of Journalism
Telephone: (413) 545-5924
Madeline Blais, professor, earned a bachelor’s degree at the College of New Rochelle in 1969 and a master’s from the School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1970. She was a reporter for the Boston Globe, the Trenton Times, and Tropic Magazine of the Miami Herald from 1979-87. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing while at the Miami Herald. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in class of 1986. She has written for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Northeast Magazine in the Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, Nieman Reports, Detroit Free Press, Boston Globe, and San Jose Mercury News. She is the author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle (1995), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in nonfiction and named one of the Top 100 sports books of the 20th Century by ESPN; The Heart Is an Instrument; Portraits in Journalism (1992); and Uphill Walkers: Memoir of a Family (2001), honored with a Massachusetts Book Award. She is a member of the advisory board for Goucher College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction and she serves on the editorial boards of Riverteeth and Doubletake: Points of Entry. Professor Blais is the writing advisor for students applying for postgraduate fellowships such as the Rhodes and serves as Journalism’s honors coordinator. Her courses include The Art of the Profile, Literature and Film in the Documentary Tradition, and Diaries, Memoirs and Journals. There are honors components to all her classes.
Robert S. Cox
Head of Special Collections and University Archives W.E.B Du Bois Library
Telephone: (413) 545-6842
Rob Cox has an interest in the history of the early national period and 19th century America, with an emphasis on both religion and history of science. As Head of the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) in the Library, he teaches courses in archival management at both UMass and the Graduate School of Library Studies at Simmons College, and is glad to work with students on independent study or internship projects in history, varieties of digital history, or archival studies. SCUA is interested in assisting local and regional historical societies in collections management and would be glad to involve students in its efforts.
Department of History
Jennifer Fronc specializes in early twentieth century U.S. history, with a focus on urban, social, and cultural history. Her book, New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2009. In addition, Professor Fronc is currently collaborating with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum as a consultant on forthcoming exhibits and new tours, and is assisting in the education of the museum's costumed interpreters. She has also worked for Big Onion Walking Tours, the Digital Libraries Project at Columbia University, and the Museum of Sex. Professor Fronc is available to talk with students who are interested in the intersections of urban immigration and public history.
Lecturer of Regional Planning
Telephone: (413) 545-6608
Lecturer in Regional Planning. B.A. History and B.A. Philosophy, Brown University; Ph.D. History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania. Instructor for Reg Pl 651: Planning History and Theory; (Fall 2003) Env Des 140: Awareness of the Physical Environment; (Spring 2003) Env Des 205: Dynamics of Human Habitations; (Fall 2002) Reg Pl 693A: Research Methods; and (Spring 2002) Reg Pl 692h: Technology and Urban (Re)Form. Previous teaching as Temporary Assistant Professor in Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University and Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Special research interests include: urban infrastructural and technological history; social-cultural perspectives on environmental risk, security, and 'quality of life' in cities; and changing food ecologies/economies.
Laura L. Lovett
Associate Professor of History
Telephone: (413) 545-6778
Laura L. Lovett is an Associate Professor in the Department of History specializing in twentieth century U.S. Women's History and the History of Childhood and Youth. Her research has explored the intersections of history and public policies concerning eugenics, child health, education, and housing. She has also involved in public history projects on local women's history from the past 50 years. Her most recent publication is When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made. Professor Lovett would be happy to talk with students interested in the intersections between 20th century U.S. public history and policy and to advise students wishing to complete a certificate track with an emphasis on public policy and/or 20th century U.S. History.
Professor of Architecture and History
Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives
Telephone: (413) 545-6952
Professor Page is the author of The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940 (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which is the winner of the 2001 Spiro Kostof Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. He is coeditor of Constructing America: American Writings on Architecture, Urbanism, and Place, 1789 to the Present (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002) and coeditor of Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States (projected, 2002). He is also involved in a number of public history projects including the development of the Henry Luce III Center for American Culture at the New-York Historical Society.
Department of Anthropology
Telephone: (413) 545-2658
Bob Paynter studies and practices historical archaeology, something he thinks of as the investigation of the global development, spread, and resistance to capitalism and European expansion. He starts this work with the material culture – the artifacts and landscapes – produced and consumed by people caught up in these processes. These material traces are then woven with documentary traces to develop holistic understandings of how the world of today came into being. He has found it crucial to read the theoretical and historical perspectives on capitalism and conquest developed by authors positioned variously throughout the globe, bringing perspectives of people who know the various political economies and cultural forms of the peoples of Africa , the Americas , and Europe . This global focus frames his field work on sites in Western Massachusetts in the US , including work in Deerfield Village in Deerfield and at the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington. This said, he encourages and sponsor students interested in these local areas as well as those interested in studying capitalism and conquest elsewhere around the globe. Finally, he holds to the idea that historical archaeology is best understood within a broad anthropological perspective, one that compares and contrasts the workings of the modern world with those of archaeologically known ancient and pre-state societies. He find he can best do this work with colleagues in the Anthropology department as well as people interested in Native American Indian studies, Afro American Studies, and Women's Studies. Reflecting my concerns, he teaches an introduction to general anthropology for non-majors, "Anthro 100 Human Nature," co-teacesh courses on Native studies, and co-directs the UMassSummer Field School in Archaeology.
Department of English
Janine Solberg is an Assistant Professor of English. She joined the UMass faculty in the Fall of 2007 and teaches in the Department's Professional Writing and Technical Communications Program http://www.umass.edu/pwtc/ . She holds a Ph.D. in English with a specialization in writing studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests span the field of rhetoric and composition, though she is particularly interested in technical communication, digital media, gender, and histories of technology and literate activity. She is currently working on a book-length project that analyzes the intersections of gender, technology, and literacy in early twentieth century American career advice texts for women. At the University of Illinois, she directed the Programs in Professional Writing and helped develop and run communication workshops for the Mid-America Earthquake Center. She has taught courses in business and technical writing, web design, and an advanced composition course called Writing with Video http://writingwithvideo.net/ .
Professor of History and American Studies, Amherst College
Telephone: (413) 542-5371
Kevin Sweeney came to Amherst College in 1989 after working for almost a decade in history museums. Trained as a colonial historian at Yale (Ph.D. in 1986), he teaches courses on colonial North American history, the era of the American Revolution, early American material culture and architecture, and Native American histories as well as American Studies departmental courses. His research and writing has focused on the history and material culture of seventeenth and eighteenth-century New England.
Adjunct Research Associate
Degree: Ph.D., Tufts University (2004)
Fields of interest: Public history, tourism, museums, commemoration, myth and ritual, cultural performance. Cathy Stanton is a cultural anthropologist who studies the uses of the past in contemporary life, particularly in the U.S. Her 2006 book, "The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City" (University of Massachusetts Press) won the National Council on Public History Book Award. She has served as a consultant to the National Park Service for many years, and is currently working on a study for Salem Maritime National Historic Site of the Polish-American community in Salem, Massachusetts. Stanton recently completed her prizewinning ethnography, "Plant Yourself in My Neighborhood": An Ethnographic Landscape Study of Farming and Farmers in Columbia County, New York (for Martin Van Buren National Historic Site/National Park Service/Northeast Region Ethnography Program, 2012).
Department of English
Telephone: (413) 545-5519
David Toomey is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Program for Professional Writing and Technical Communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He teaches Introduction to Professional Writing, Advanced Software for Professional Writers, and Nonfiction Writing and Commercial Publishing. In Fall 2007 he taught a graduate course entitled "Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Literary Culture," and in Fall 2009 he will teach a graduate course entitled "Cosmology and 17th and 18th Century British Literature."
Toomey holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Virginia (1998), where his dissertation was Dreams of Different Things: The Experience of Schizophrenia as Represented in Journals, Clinical Accounts and Fiction of the Modernist Period.
His research interests are science writing and mental illness and literature. His most recent book is The New Time Travelers: a Journey to the Frontiers of Physics (W.W. Norton, 2007). Other books include Stormchasers: the Hurricane Hunters and their Flight into Hurricane Janet (W.W. Norton, 2002), and (with Leslie Haynsworth) Amelia Earhart's Daughters: the Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age (William Morrow, 1998) and (as second author with James Collier) Scientific and Technical Communication in Theory, Practice and Policy (Sage Publications, 1997).
James E. Young
Professor of English and Judaic Studies
Chair, Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
Telephone: (413) 545-5872
Degree: Ph.D., University of California (1983)
Professor Young is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (1988), The Texture of Memory (Yale University Press, 1993), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 1994, and At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (Yale University Press, 2000). Professor Young has worked with numerous city agencies on their memorials and museums. He served as Guest Curator of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York City, entitled "The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History" (1994). He was also appointed by the Berlin Senate to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany's national "Memorial to Europe's Murdered Jews," and most recently, he was appointed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition.