Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of History at Duke University.
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Duke University, September 2002 —
Area of Research: The history of women's activism and political change in post-revolutionary Mexico.
Education: Doctor of Philosophy, history, Yale University, 2000
Major Publications: Olcott is the author of Revolutionary Women in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Duke University Press, 2005), and one of the editors of Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico, Jocelyn Olcott, Mary Kay Vaughan, and Gabriela Cano, eds. (Duke University Press, 2006). Olcott is currently working on a number of book projects; The Greatest Consciousness-Raising Event in History: Transnational Feminism and the 1975 International Women's Year Conference; Sing What the People Sing: Concha Michel and the Cultural Politics of Mexican Maternalism; and Modern Love: Development Schemes and the Politics of Motherhood in Twentieth-Century Mexico
Awards: Olcott is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of History, Duke University, 2006-2007;
Center for the U.S. and the Cold War, New York University, Fall 2007;
Grierson-Bain Travel Grant, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, March 2006;
Duke University, Institute for Critical U.S. Studies Course Development Award, June 2005;
Center for Instructional Technology, Duke University Instructional Technology Innovation Grant,"Voices from the North Carolina Latino Community," Grant co-author and participant, September 2004 — ;
Duke University Arts and Sciences Council Faculty Research Grant, July 2004;
Duke University Latino Studies Course Development Award, September 2002;
Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin, September 2001— May 2002;
Junior/Senior/General Faculty Research Award, California State University, Fullerton, June — August 2001;
Mrs, Giles Whiting Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities, October 1998—September 1999;
Fulbright-García Robles Grant, Fulbright-IIE, January—October 1998;
Henry Hart Rice Research Fellowship, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, January—August 1998;
International Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, September 1995—August 1996;
Summer Research Grant, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, June—August 1995;
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, US Department of Education, September 1994—May 1995;
University Fellowship, Yale University, September 1993—May 1995 and September 1996—May 1998;
Formerly an Assistant Professor, California State University, Fullerton, August 2000 — July 2002.
I started college at a moment when Latin American Studies distinguished itself for its insistence on simultaneous engagement with both scholarship and politics. With its emphasis on Marxist paradigms, Latin American history centered on how power operates at the point of a gun or at the edge of poverty. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with scholars whose stature in the field I recognized only later: Miguel Centeno, Arcadio Díaz Quiñones, and, especially, the late Michael Jiménez. My luck held through graduate school, arriving during a brief window when both Gil Joseph and Emilia Viotti da Costa were training students. If there are shortcomings in my scholarship, I certainly can't chalk it up to inadequately illustrious role models in my field!
I began research in Mexico as an undergraduate working on a senior thesis. In my own Pudd'nhead Wilson fashion, I stumbled on a trove of documents in the national archive: 1930s registrations of Women's Leagues for Social Struggle. It was my first time in Mexico City, and I was unaccustomed to the ways that this revolutionary language and practice pervaded the political culture. I took photos of every march along the Calle 5 de Mayo and every hunger strike on the main plaza - I had never seen such intense political mobilization. I ended up writing about women in the Mexican textile and garment industries but remained fascinated by those women's leagues and convinced they were clear evidence of authentic revolutionary consciousness.
After considering several other dissertation projects - every seminar seemed to raise compelling new research possibilities - I returned to studying these organizations as a window onto the gender politics of postrevolutionary Mexico. Mexico's revisionist historiography had transformed my understanding of them; I now saw them as the imposition of a manipulative, consolidating regime. However, further research and reading pulled me toward what has emerged as a postrevisionist assessment: that the Mexican revolution did generate an atmosphere and a political infrastructure that, no matter how cynically motivated, allowed ordinary people to mobilize and make demands on the state in an unprecedented fashion. Using the language of revolutionary citizenship, women activists demanded radical transformations in their own labor conditions: the acquisition of mechanized corn mills; access to potable water; and the installation of schools, health clinics, and childcare facilities. While Mexican historiography has tended to concentrate on postrevolutionary land reform and labor legislation, it was the changes in the conditions of reproductive labor that revolutionized women's lives.
My repeated readings, mis-readings, and re-readings of this evidence drove home the importance of cultivating relationships with Mexican scholars who could help me develop more informed understandings of the materials I encountered. After completing my PhD, I received generous support from Yale's Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies to initiate what has developed into the International Network for the Study of Mexican Gender History. Since the initial conference in 2001, we have organized three more conferences - another in the U.S. and two in Mexico - published three edited volumes, and developed a truly international network of scholars working in this area. Dozens of scholars from Mexico, the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. have dedicated countless hours to this project, which now involves scholars from the undergraduate level to the most esteemed senior faculty. It has been incredibly exciting to experience a field exploding in the way Mexican gender studies has.
By Jocelyn H. Olcott
About Jocelyn H. Olcott
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin.
Area of Research: History of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, and Vietnam War
Education: 1999 Doctor of Philosophy, history, Yale University.
Major Publications: Lawrence is author of Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005), which won the 2006 George Louis Beer Prize and Paul Birdsall Prize of the American Historical Association. He has also written many chapters, articles, and reviews on the Vietnam War and other topics in U.S. diplomatic history. He is co-editor (with Fredrik Logevall of Cornell University) of The First Vietnam War: Colonial Conflict and Cold War Crisis, a volume of essays about the French war in Indochina (forthcoming from Harvard University Press in January 2007). He is also the editor, The New York Times Twentieth Century in Review: The Vietnam War (Fitzroy-Dearborn Publishers, 2002), a Two-volume collection of New York Times material (news stories, features, editorials, photos, and graphics) connected to the Vietnam War. Lawrence is currently working on a number of book project including: The Vietnam War: A Very Short Introduction, under advance contract with Oxford University Press for publication in 2007, The United States and the World: A History in Documents co-edited with Jeffrey Engel and Andrew Preston), under advance contract with Princeton University Press, and Broken Promises: American Politics and the Crumbling of the U.S. Relationship with the Third World, under advance contract with Princeton University Press.
Awards: Lawrence is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
American Historical Association's Paul Birdsall Prize in European military and strategic history for Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam, 2007;
American Historical Association's George Louis Beer Prize in European international history for Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam, 2007;
Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006-2008, Department of History, Yale University (two-year residential fellowship in New Haven), 2006;
President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award, University of Texas at Austin. 2004;
Grant from Instructional Technologies Services, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin, for development of on-line teaching materials for U.S. history. 2003;
Research grant from the John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003;
Nominated for Dad's Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2002;
Dean's Fellowship (one-semester research leave), College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin, 2002;
Summer Research Assignment (summer research funding), Office of Graduate Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2001;
Theron Rockwell Field Prize from Yale University Graduate School for outstanding dissertation (one of Yale's two highest dissertation prizes, with $10,000 fellowship), 1999;
Hans Gatzke Prize from Yale University Department of History for outstanding dissertation related to European history, 1999;
John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellowship in International Security Studies, Yale University, 1998.
Formerly Lecturer, Department of History (1998-2000) and Teaching Fellow (1992-1994) at Yale University.
Lawrence worked for the"New York Times" and as a correspondent for the"Associated Press" in Brussels and Strasbourg in the early nineties. He also covered the European Union, NATO, Council of Europe, issues included European integration, reform in Eastern Europe and Russia, U.S.-European relations, Persian Gulf War, human rights, agriculture (1995-1996).
"So you're writing about the origins of the Vietnam War? Do we really need another study on that?" Coming from an accomplished historian of U.S. foreign relations, this was an unsettling question for a slightly insecure third-year graduate student just setting out on his dissertation research. I was aware, after all, that the matter had received more than its fair share of scholarly attention. It seemed like the Civil War or the Third Reich: niches for new research were few and far between, if they existed at all.
And yet I pressed ahead, partly, I can see now, out of naïveté about just how vast the Vietnam scholarship really was. (A trip to Barnes & Noble might have been enough to stop me in my tracks.) But my perseverance sprang, too, from a sense of genuine enthusiasm about the subject and a belief that it was somehow important to lots of people outside the academy. This was well before the Iraq War pushed Vietnam back to the center of popular debate about U.S. foreign policy. During the mid-1990s, the debate was about something different: how the global order should be reshaped after the end of the Cold War. It seemed worth exploring the behavior of the United States and its allies in another period of uncertainty, the years immediately following the Second World War. How in the process of establishing the trans-Atlantic alliance - the cornerstone of Western policy thereafter - did U.S. and West European leaders respond to simmering tensions in the colonial world? More specifically, how did decisions concerning the most economically developed parts of the world contribute to flawed decisions about other areas, not least Vietnam? These were the sorts of questions I hoped to answer.
My risky choices paid off. As I completed my dissertation, I discovered that the Vietnam War had strong appeal to job committees and publishers - perhaps the two most important constituencies for a young scholar. But more important I believe that I was correct in judging relations with the"third world" as the major problem for the United States in the years ahead. The September 11 attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraq war have generated a fascination with the developing world among policymakers, students, and the general public unparalleled since the 1960s. To elucidate the historical background of present-day dilemmas strikes me as a more vital task than ever before.
In a sad but also exhilarating way, then, it is a good time to be a historian of the Vietnam War. When handled with care, the numerous parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq conflicts can help illuminate risks and opportunities in the current situation. Few of us - present company included - have been able to resist the temptation to write about the analogy. But our more pressing task is to show that Vietnam and Iraq, far from historical oddities that echo one another across a chasm of decades, are part of the same broad historical process that has played out across a century - the eclipse of European colonialism and the struggle to establish viable and just postcolonial orders in successor states. The end of the Cold War was just a turn in the story, not a beginning or an end. Viewing the global history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in this way opens up a research agenda that will keep many of us busy for a long time to come.
By Mark Atwood Lawrence
About Mark Atwood Lawrence
Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University
Area of Research: Caribbean, French, Comparative Slavery and Emancipation
Education: Ph.D. in Anthropology and History, University of Michigan, August 1998
Major Publications: Dubois is the author of A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804, (published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 2004), winner of the 2005 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, winner of the 2005 David Pinkney Prize, Society for French Historical Studies, winner of the 2004 Prize in Atlantic History, American Historical Association, winner of the 2004 John Edwin Fagg Prize, American Historical Association. He is also the author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004), A Best Book of 2004, Non-Fiction, Los Angeles Times, A Notable Book of 2004, Christian Science Monitor, First Runner-Up, Best Book, Adult Non-Fiction, Society of Midland Authors, 2004-2005. Dubois is also the co-author with John Garrigus of Slave Revolution in the Caribbean: A History in Documents, (Bedford Press, 2006). Dubois also has two of his book published in French: Les Vengeurs du Nouveau Monde: Histoire de la Revolution haïtienne (Rennes: Les Perséides, 2005). Translatation of Avengers of the New World by Thomas Van Ruymbeke, with Preface by Jean Casimir, and Les esclaves de la République: l'histoire oubliée de la première émancipation, 1789-1794 (Paris: Calmann- Lévy, 1998), This was a translation of a part of his dissertation, with some new introductory and concluding material Dubois wrote in French.
Dubois is currently working on a number of book projects; A History of the Caribbean, with Richard Turits (under contract with University of North Carolina Press), "Give Me the Banjo!": America's Instrument from Africa to America (manuscript in preparation), and Zidane, Thuram and the Empire of French Soccer, (manuscript in preparation).
Awards: Dubois is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Research Grant, Intramural Research Grant Program, Michigan State University 2005-06;
Research Grant, French Ministère d'Outre-Mer 2005-06;
Fintz Excellence in Teaching Award 2004;
M.S.U. Teacher-Scholar Award 2002;
Research Grant, Intramural Research Grant Program, Michigan State University 2001-02;
Seed Grant, Institute on Race, Urbanization, and Social Injustice, Michigan State University 2001;
Ford Africanist Fellow, W.E.B DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University 1998-99;
Columbia Society of Fellows (declined) 1998;
Fulbright Advanced Student Grant (France) 1996-97;
Lurcy Education Trust Fellowship 1996-98;
Rackham Graduate School Regent's Fellowship 1992-96;
Council for European Studies Pre-Dissertation Grant 1994-95;
National Science Foundation Ethnology Training Grant 1993;
Afro-American Studies Senior Thesis Award, Princeton University 1992.
Dubois was interviewed for the BBC Documentary"Race Across Time," January 2007.
He was a Visiting Assistant Professor Department of Afro-American Studies, Harvard University, 1999.
He was also the Co-Coordinator, France and the French Atlantic Research Team, ACLS Collaborative Research Network, which brought together scholars working in the U.S., Paris and the Université Antilles-Guyane, Martinique 2001-03.
I did much of the research for my book A Colony of Citizens in Aix-en-Provence. I initially arrived in Aix essentially by chance. A graduate student in a program in Anthropology and History, I was planning on doing a dissertation about contemporary Caribbean healers in metropolitan France. As I was finishing up my second year in graduate school, I learned about an opening as the assistant for a study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence. I knew the French colonial archives were there, and jumped at the chance to spend what my father quickly dubbed “A Year in Provence.” I wasn't renovating a beautiful old house: I lived in a tiny room in a French dorm, though with a nice view of Mont Saint-Victoire. My job was to help culture-shocked and frequently hung-over undergraduates navigate the French university system. But I was lucky to have as my boss Edris Makward, a specialist on African literature who gave me plenty of time to work in the archives.
One sunny September morning I arrived at the archives optimistically, and quickly realized I had no idea what to do. But there was one part of the history of the Caribbean that particularly intrigued me: the revolutionary period of slave revolts and emancipation. I had read about in the period in two novels by Alejo Carpentier and Daniel Maximin, and I also knew that if I wanted to pursue my interest in questions of citizenship and belonging in France it was reasonable to follow the well-trodden path back to the French Revolution.
I asked the archivist whether I might find any information about this topic. He told me confidently: “No.” It was a useful lesson about French bureaucracy, where no is almost always the first answer to any query, by institutional and philosophical necessity. Actually, of course, there are cartons and cartons, registers and registers, of material that deals directly with the topic I was interested in, more than I could ever get through in my entire life. But life, and particularly my year in Aix, was short. Where to begin?
There was, at that time, one large table for all researchers to work at, and one electrical plug near it. There were several other researchers who, like me, were using laptops, all of which needed to be plugged in. The man who engineered a solution to this problem - by bringing in a jerry-rigged multi-plug configuration - was Stewart King, a student at Johns Hopkins University, who was doing a dissertation on free people of color in Saint-Domingue. When I told him with what must have exuded bewilderment about what I was interested in, he responded with a grace and generosity that was remarkable, and transformative.
He showed me how, from notarial registers, he was drawing out information about the social networks, economic life, and military service of free people of color. He showed me the database he was constructing. Thanks to Stewart, I suddenly had a research strategy, and I got to work.
By Laurent Dubois
About Laurent Dubois
Associate Professor of History, University of California, Davis, 2005-present.
Area of Research: The Politics of Memory, Civil War and Reconstruction, The Built Environment, Environmental History, U.S. Borderlands, U.S. South, Native American, Historical Geography.
Education: Ph.D. History, Brown University, May 1998.
Major Publications: Kelman is the author of A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 2006) which received the 2004 Abbott Lowell Cummings Award. He is currently working on A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, under contract). Kelman has also authored a number of scholarly essays in the Journal of American History, Suburban History, and Historical Geography He also authored book chapters including;"New Orleans's Phantom Slave Insurrection of 1853: Racial Anxiety, Urban Ecology, and Human Bodies as Public Spaces." In Andrew Isenberg (ed.), The Nature of Cities: New Directions in Urban Environmental History, (University of Rochester Press, 2006).
Awards: Kelman is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
The Huntington/National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, 2005."The Redemptive West: Nationhood and Healing in the Post-Civil War American West";
National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 2004-2005;
Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation Research Fellowship, 2004-2005;
Colorado State Historical Fund Education Grant, 2004-2005;
Abbot Lowell Cummings Award, 2004. Presented for A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans;
Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Program Grant, 2002;
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Publishing Subvention Grant, 2001-2002;
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, 1999. “The Built Environment \ of the American Metropolis, Public and Private Realms";
Martha Joukousky Dissertation Prize, 1998. Runner-up;
John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization Fellowship, 1997;
American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Research Grant, 1996;
Historic New Orleans Collection Williams Research Fellowship, 1995;
University of Denver Learning Effectiveness Program Teaching Award, 2002;
Brown University President's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1995.
Formerly Associate Professor of History and Department Chair at the University of Denver, 2000-2005, and Reach for Excellence Honors Professor and Assistant Professor of History and Geography, at the University of Oklahoma, 1998-2000.
Kelman has been involved in a number of public history and documentary projects. He was the Principal Series Advisor and On-Camera Commentator for"New Orleans," for PBS, The American Experience Documentary Series, 2005-2007; Series consultant for"Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America", for The History Channel, 2004-2006. Kelman was , On- and off-air consultant on BBC Radio for"Katrina" and"When the Music Stopped" radio documentaries, 2005.
He has also written for a number newspapers and magazines including The Nation, House and Garden, Slate, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Baltimore Sun among others. .
My career has become a case study in historical contingency.
On August 28th, 2005, I was settling into a new job in the history department at UC Davis. Throughout the day, I organized notes for my current book project, on the politics of memory surrounding the Sand Creek Massacre. Then, late in the afternoon, as I sifted through a transcribed oral history, the phone rang, startling me. It was the first time someone called me in my new office; I hadn't even known the phone worked. When I picked up, a breathless journalist from the New York Times asked if I could comment on the hurricane bearing down on New Orleans. The storm's name was Katrina, he said, and it looked like a real"whopper." I answered first that I didn't"do" New Orleans anymore, and second, I hadn't paid much attention to Katrina, which seemed to be tracking along a relatively benign path."The city," I quipped,"had weathered worse."
By the next morning, when the Times reporter called back, generously offering me a do-over, it was clear that I had been wrong twice over: I still"did" New Orleans, and the city had never seen a more destructive hurricane. Another thing was clear as well: my career had taken a rather sudden turn. Like I said, historical contingency.
Prior to Katrina, I enjoyed a pretty ordinary academic life. My first book, A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans, died a dignified scholarly death: it won a prize, got me a job and tenure, and occupied a place of honor on my parents' bookshelf. Then, after the storm, it was reborn, and with it a new stage in my career. I would be an [Author ID1: at Wed Feb 28 15:13:00 2007 ]instapundit and then a public intellectual, whatever that means. I appeared on TV once and wasn't good; I have the perfect face for print. I did a slew of radio interviews, which went somewhat better. Apparently especially in Australia, from whence a disembodied voice explained, I had become a"media sensation on par with The Wiggles." And I wrote essays published in middlebrow and glossy periodicals, including a short piece in"House and Garden." My graduate advisors must have been so proud.
Overall, it was a surreal and discomfiting experience. In part because New Orleans remained under water, then soggy, and finally dry but desolate. I felt removed from the suffering and guilty writing about suffering secondhand. But also because I had my first experience working outside of the geological timeframe typical of academic publishing. Not only did I have to meet deadlines of hours or days instead of months or years, but I often got feedback from readers immediately after my essays appeared in print.
Now, I've just returned from another trip to New Orleans, where I led a tour of a city in which disaster voyeurism may be the only booming industry. And some day soon, I'll get back to writing about Sand Creek. But I, and my career, will never be the same. I've become a better historian, more attuned to unpredictable winds of change.
By Ari Kelman
About Ari Kelman
Associate Professor, Department of History, Brown University
Area of Research: urban history, the history of race and American political culture, post-1945 U.S. society and culture, and gender in the mid-century city
Education: PhD, Department of History, University of Washington, 1998
Major Publications: Self is the author of American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton University Press, 2003), the winner of 4 prizes including: 2005 James A. Rawley Prize, Best Book on U.S. Race Relations, Organization of American Historians, 2005 Best Book in Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Association, 2004 Ralph J. Bunche Award, Best Book on Ethnic Pluralism, American Political Science Association, and 2004 Best Book in North American Urban History, Urban History Association.
His currently working on The Politics of Gender and Sexuality in America From Watts to Reagan which examines the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race in U.S. political culture between the Watts riot and uprising in 1965 and the election of Ronald Reagan.
Self is the author of a number of journal articles and book chapters including:"The Black Panther Party and the Long Civil Rights Era, 1935-1975," in In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement, Jama Lazerow and Yohuru Williams, eds. (Duke University Press, 2006); :Prelude to the Tax Revolt: The Politics of the 'Tax Dollar' in Postwar California," in The New Suburban History, Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue, eds. (University of Chicago Press, 2006); and"'To Plan Our Liberation': Black Power and the Politics of Place in Oakland, California, 1965-1977," Journal of Urban History 26/6 (September 2000), winner of Best Article on Urban History, Urban History Association, 2000, among others.
Awards: Self is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
W. Turrentine Jackson Award for Best Dissertation on the Twentieth-Century West, American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch, 1998;
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2008-2009;
Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), 2007-2008;
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University;
Residential Fellowship, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University (declined), 2007-2008;
Cogut Center for the Humanities, Faculty Fellowship, Brown University (declined), 2007-2008;
Edwin and Shirley Seave Faculty Fellow, Pembroke Research Seminar, Brown University, 2006;
Wriston Curricular Development Grant, Brown University, 2005-2006;
Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University, 2005-2006;
W. M. Keck Foundation and Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library, 2004;
Graduate School Research Committee, Research Grant, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2002-2003;
Rackham Summer Interdisciplinary Institute Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2001;
Office of the Vice President for Research Faculty Grant, University of Michigan, 2000;
American Philosophical Society, Research Grant, 1999;
Book Club of California, Manuscript Writing Grant, 1999;
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dissertation Fellowship (year-long), 1997-1998;
National Science Foundation, Dissertation Grant (year-long), 1997-1998;
Rondeau Evans Dissertation Fellowship, History Department, University of Washington, 1997-1998;
Harry Bridges Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Washington, 1995.
Formerly Assistant Professor, History and Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2002-2004.
Self was the Rackham Fellow, Michigan Society of FellowsUniversity of Michigan, 1999-2002, and the Fellow in the Study of the North American West, Stanford University, 1998-1999.
Late in the afternoon in summer, usually around three or four, fog rolls through the"golden gate" from the Pacific Ocean, crosses the San Francisco Bay, and slams against the Oakland Hills. If you are lucky enough, and have enough money, to live in the hills, this is both an extraordinary sight and an exhilarating form of air conditioning. The daily fog keeps the hillside neighborhoods cool, while temperatures on the eastern side of the hills climb into the nineties and typically push one hundred.
On the western side, down below, lie the"flatlands" of Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond. The fog is slower to arrive there, and the heat can stay trapped for longer. Much of the flatlands was plotted in the first half of the century for workers: small bungalows, workers' cottages, and Victorian duplexes to house the dock, warehouse, railroad, ferry, oil, and factory workers who made up the East Bay's mid-century laboring classes.
Those classes, much like today, were multi-racial and international. African American, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Mexican American, Irish, Eastern European, they lived in eclectic neighborhoods of dense work, leisure, and residential life. Their labor made the East Bay a prosperous place, and when World War II arrived their labor (and the addition of perhaps a quarter of a million migrants) made it a booming place. You can catch them still in the amazing photographs of Dorthea Lang.
In between the working-class neighborhoods of the flatlands and the air-conditioned hills is the middle-class foothills. Packed with churches and commercial strips, these neighborhoods are a crazy-quilt of curving streets and secluded, tree-lined nooks. In the last decade, the housing bubble has pushed the modest homes in these neighborhoods into the six- and seven-hundred thousand dollar range. On the edges of these neighborhoods, even more modest flatland homes now stare down gentrification.
No one who traverses San Francisco's East Bay can escape the geography of class and race that has been engraved into the terrain for more than a century. The flatlands are still a port of entry for the nation's immigrants and the least privileged, 14th Street (now International Boulevard) an emblem of global flows of labor. The dock and railroads no longer provide employment, but Walmart and Best Buy, hospitals and nursing homes do as well as not a few of the hillside lawns and gardens.
You can travel to the flatlands from the hills in less than 10 minutes, but for more than a century it's not been a distance you can measure in miles or driving time.
By Robert O. Self
About Robert O. Self
Professor of History, Faculty member of the Institute for Military Studies and
20th Century Studies, Kansas State University
Area of Research: Diplomatic History and International Affairs, Military History, European History, Russian History
Education: Ph.D, History, Yale University, 1997
Major Publications: David Stone is the author of Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union, 1926-1933, (University Press of Kansas, 2001) was a recent selection of the History Book Club. It also was named the winner of the 2001 inaugural Best First Book prize of the Historical Society and was co-winner of the 2001 Shulman Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. He is also the author of A Military History of Russia From Ivan the Terrible to the War in Chechnya, (Greenwood Press, 2006) Stone's has numerous journal and book chapters published including"Imperialism and Sovereignty: The League of Nations' Drive to Control the Global Arms Trade" in the Journal of Contemporary History, April 2000;"Tukhachevskii in Leningrad: Military Politics and Exile, 1928-1931" in Europe-Asia Studies, December 1996;"The Balkan Pact and American Policy, 1950-1955" in the East European Quarterly, September 1994;"Soviet Intelligence on Barbarossa: The Limits of Intelligence History" in Peter Jackson and Jennifer Siegel, eds., Intelligence and Statecraft: The Use and Limits of Intelligence in International Society (Praeger, 2005), pp. 157-171, and"The Russian Civil War, 1917-1921,""The Russo-Polish War,""Ideology and the Rise of the Red Army, 1921-1928," and"Industry and the Soviet Army, 1928-1941," all in Robin Higham and Frederick Kagan, eds., The Military History of the Soviet Union (St. Martin's / Palgrave, 2001).
Awards: Stone is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Inaugural Best First Book Prize from the Historical Society for Hammer and Rifle, 2001;
Co-Winner of the Shulman Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies for Hammer and Rifle, 2001;
Winner of Kansas State University's Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2001;
Fellow of Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA, 2005/6;
International Research and Exchanges Board grant for research in Moscow (additional support from History, 2003;
Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Military History and Twentieth-Century Studies);
Summer Fellow of Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, for the workshop"Contentious Politics: Seeking Causes," 2000;
University Small Research Grant, Kansas State University for research on"US Financial Diplomacy and the Soviet Bloc;
Mellon dissertation writing fellowship;
Jacob Javits fellowship for graduate study (US Department of Education);
Smith-Richardson summer research fellowship;
MacArthur dissertation and summer research fellowships;
Olin fellowship for graduate study in Military and Strategic History.
Stone has also taught in the history department at Hamilton College and in the International Security Studies Program at Yale University.
Stalin dismissed historians as"archive rats," but Russianists have proudly adopted the label. Moscow in the early 1990s was an astounding place to do research. The archives were thrown open, and my passport and relative wealth shielded me from the miseries I saw every day. But things were more complicated than I realized.
My research made me recognize how Western I was. I naively assumed that there would be clear rules for what was secret and what wasn't, and access would be equal. Russia didn't work that way. Non-Russianists often assume this means archivists were corrupt, but that wasn't the case. I was never asked to trade money for access, and the highly-professional archivists would have been offended at the suggestion. Instead, access was fuzzy, and centered on relationships. I still had to establish myself as a serious and responsible scholar. That meant I had to show up, and keep showing up, day after day. My funding let me do that. At Yale, Paul Kennedy had established International Security Studies, an interdisciplinary research center, and attracted the foundation grants to make it thrive. ISS provided me the backing to go to Moscow early and stay late.
Time and guidance let me feel my way through the maze of Russian archives dealing with the Soviet military in the 1920s and 1930s. While limited archival access had been available to foreigners even before communism began to disintegrate, military and foreign policy materials had been strictly off-limits. This meant I had little secondary literature to rely on and had to build the basic chronology of events for myself. The payoff, though, was that I and the other scholars working on the Soviet military could truly break new ground.
Access was never complete. Archivists denied that some collections even existed. When I brought in books by well-connected Russian scholars with precise citations to those collections, the stone-faced denials never changed. Still, by patiently chipping away at archival barriers, I was able to assemble a comprehensive picture of Soviet military policy. Using multiple archives (military, party, economic, and state), each with different filing systems and different sets of classified and unclassified documents, helped enormously. So did the remaining irrationalities of archival policy. Documents that I couldn't see in reading rooms were perfectly accessible, as long as I read them in the bowels of archive conservatories. My clear intent to write up and publish what I found in those sources was not a problem. The result was that I ended up finding what I needed.
One downside to working on the Soviet military, even sixty years later, was suspicion. Military history in the USSR was an exclusively military preserve (an excellent argument for keeping military history vigorous in our universities), and a foreign civilian studying the military was naturally presumed a spy. I was asked directly, more than once, whether my true employer was the CIA.
The golden age ended even before I left Moscow. Putin's administration has been rightly blamed for chipping away the liberties of the Yeltsin era, but the archival reversal began well before Putin. In my experience, the key moment was Chechnya. The outbreak of open warfare in December 1994 had an immediate (and palpable) effect on archivists' attitudes, and limits on research became much tighter. Things are nowhere near the bad old days of the Soviet Union, but it's hard not to miss those first heady years.
By David R. Stone
About David R. Stone
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Utah State University, 2004-present
Area of Research: U.S. Southwest Borderlands, the American West, cultural, environmental, and urban history, and the histories of tourism, recreation, architecture, and urban planning.
Education: Ph.D. in History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004
Major Publications: Culver is the author of the forthcoming book The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America which is a revision of his prize winning dissertation"The Island, the Oasis, and the City: Santa Catalina, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Southern California's Shaping of American Life and Leisure" for which received the 2005 Rachel Carson Prize for the best dissertation in Environmental History, a prize awarded annually by the American Society for Environmental History.
He is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters including:"Promoting the Pacific Borderlands: Leisure and Labor in Southern California, 1870-1950." In Disrupted Boundaries: Consumption in the United States-Mexico Borderlands. Ed. Alexis McCrossen. (Forthcoming, Duke University Press and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies);"America's Playground: Recreation and Race in Los Angeles," in The Blackwell's Companion to Los Angeles History. Eds. William Deverell and Greg Hise, (Forthcoming Blackwell Press);"From Public to Private Nature in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles," in The Place of Nature in the City. Studies in International Environmental History Series, Eds. Dorothee Brantz and Sonja Dümpelmann, (Under consideration by Rowman & Littlefield and the German Historical Institute);"Connecting Myth to History: Interpreting the Western Past at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center," Western Historical Quarterly, (Winter 1998, 515-519.);"Economic Aspirations and the Politics of National Park Creation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 1919-1929," in People and Place: The Human Experience in Greater Yellowstone, Eds. Paul Schullery and Sarah Stevenson, (National Park Service and Yellowstone Center for Resources, 2005), 180-194;"From Last of the Old West to First of the New West: Tourism and Transformation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming," in Imagining the Big Open: Nature, Identity, and Play in the New West, Eds. Liza Nicholas, Elaine P. Bapis, and Thomas J. Harve, (University of Utah Press, 2003), 163-180; and"The Literature of Tourism and Its Discontents: Auto Tourist Travel Narratives, 1915-1940," in Reading Under the Sign of Nature: New Essays in Ecocriticism, Eds. John Tallmadge and Henry Harrington, (University of Utah Press, 2000), 36-48; among others. He has also published reviews in journals including the Western Historical Quarterly, Environmental History, and the Southern California Quarterly.
Awards: Culver is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation in Environmental History (U.S. or World), American Society for Environmental History, 2005;
Excellence in Instruction for First-Year Students Award, Utah State University, 2007;
John Topham and Susan Redd Butler Faculty Fellowship, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, 2007;
Utah Humanities Council Grant, 2007;
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library, 2006;
Historical Society of Southern California Haynes Foundation Research Award, 2006;
Utah State University New Faculty Research Grant, 2005;
Western History Association - Martin Ridge Fellowship, Huntington Library, 2005;
Historical Society of Southern California Haynes Foundation Research Award, 2005;
American Society for Environmental History Donald Worster Travel Award, 2004;
Historical Society of Southern California Haynes Foundation Research Award, 2004;
UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2003-2004;
Historical Society of Southern California Haynes Foundation Research Award, 2001;
Autry Museum of Western Heritage Summer Research Fellowship, 2001;
UCLA Summer Research Mentorship Fellowship, 2000;
UCLA Regents/Carey McWilliams Fellowship, 1998-2002;
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies Research Award, 1997.
Culver has also written for a number of popular history magazine including:"Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design,""Spur: Magazine of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage," and"Points West: Magazine of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center."
He has also worked in field of public history as an employee of the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Institute for the Study of the American West, the Museum of the American West, and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, all of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and as an historical researcher for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Someone who studies leisure and tourism in American history is likely to encounter bewilderment, not to mention some humor, at their expense. I first encountered this as an M.A. student, studying tourism and how it had transformed Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The staff at the local historical society were baffled – fur trappers, farmers, cowboys and Indians – that was history. Skiers and auto tourists? Not so much. Later, as a doctoral student, friends ribbed me about my “research trips” to places such as Palm Springs. Even though I visited numerous archives, conducted oral history interviews, and plowed through vast amounts of tourist ephemera, somehow it was difficult to prove that I had not simply reinvented dissertating as a vacation.
And yet the histories of tourism and recreation can tell us much about our history, and how people chose to have fun certainly tells us as much about them as how they chose to work. If I consider my broader research interests – environmental and urban history, and the history of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands and American West, I find that examining leisure illuminates each of them in new ways.
One of the ironies of the history of Los Angeles and Southern California is that a region relentlessly promoted as the playground of the world also expended vast energies trying to prevent many residents from even occupying recreational space. Los Angeles County, with 75 miles of coastline, mandated that all beaches were white only, with one tiny strip – adjacent to a sewage outlet – available to African Americans. Property deeds in Malibu not only banned non-Anglo homeowners, they even stated that a person of color could occupy the beach only if they were working for a white homeowner. Today, millionaires (and billionaires) in Malibu are still trying to restrict access to local beaches, even though all are public land under state law, in an urban region where millions have limited access to scant parkland and recreational space.
Then there is the role of leisure in our individual lives. The resorts of Southern California, aided by Hollywood, popularized many aspects of modern recreation, from sun tans to the backyard swimming pool. Even the ranch house, that icon of postwar suburbia, was popularized by resorts such as Palm Springs, and offered resort-style living not as a vacation, but as a way of life. They also incorporated yards and patios as social space, bringing the outside in. How ordinary people incorporated nature into their homes and their recreation can help us more fully understand popular environmental attitudes.
Labor and leisure are inextricably and problematically intertwined in the U.S. Southwest. Perhaps there is no better example of how Anglo Americans have misapprehended and misremembered the history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands than the spectacle of Anglo American residents of a Sunbelt city such as Phoenix railing against illegal immigrants and the federal government – the two things most responsible for the growth of that metropolis. Undocumented workers built the houses and landscaped the yards, care for suburban kids and clean suburban homes, and water from federal dam projects keeps the lawns green and the entire city viable. Who labors, and who has the luxury of leisure, tells us much about issues of race, class, citizenship, and power in the past, as well as the present.
[What] I really enjoy about being an historian is using and communicating historical knowledge in very different ways -- in research and writing withing the profession, through teaching, from surveys to graduate seminars, and through public history -- in museum exhibits, public advocacy, and in research projects, such as one I completed examining race and access to recreational space in Los Angeles. That report is now being used to advocate for increased parkland and access to recreational opportunities for all the residents of L.A. Being able to use historical knowledge to help people in the present is an especially rewarding aspect of being an historian.
By Lawrence Culver
About Lawrence Culver
The winning manuscript considers the lifestyle of leisure in Southern California, arguing that Catalina Island, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles contributed to the formation of a distinct American suburban culture in the twentieth century, and that these landscapes of leisure have proved to be at least as influential as the nineteenth-century suburban"hearths"--places like Westchester County, New York. Lawrence Culver asks us to think about all the ways that Palm Springs changed the way Americans thought about leisure: modernist desert architecture, the golf-course residence, and the Hollywood vacation colony. He also writes compellingly about segregated pools and beaches in Los Angeles--how African Americans resisted segregation and how they created their own places of leisure, like Val Verde, known as the"Black Palm Springs."
The manuscript explores the idea that leisure shaped the development of Southern California and"ultimately influenced the nation as a whole." Perhaps most important of all, Culver refuses to look at these places as mere backdrops for certain attitudes about leisure or from the point of view of tourists but as emerging communities themselves--as suburban societies, in which people with competing interests and conflicting assumptions struggled over development.
We found this argument compelling, and we were very impressed by the skillful way that Culver situates it in the literature of tourism. He writes gracefully and tells tight, witty stories. Kavita said of the manuscript that it is"a successful piece of interdisciplinary scholarship that creatively integrates urban and suburban studies, architectural history, and cultural politics." Neil said that the author did"a wonderful job weaving cultural and social history with the history of tourism and leisure," and he thought that Culver"succeeded in linking his local history with larger events in U.S. history generally." Neil called it innovative and said that it"pushes environmental history in interesting directions."
And that might be the most important criteria for a winner of this prize. The 2005 Rachel Carson Dissertation Prize is awarded to Milton Lawrence Culver for"The Island, the Oasis, and the City: Santa Catalina, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Southern California's Shaping of American Life and Leisure."
Congratulations for writing a significant book. -- Rachel Carson Prize Committee for 2004: Steven Stoll, Chair; Neil Maher; Kavita Philip