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Greetings from the Chair

Dear Friends, Alumni, and Fellow Historians, Greetings from the UNC History Department! I’m writing at the end of the semester in which UNC returned to semi-normal operations and in-person instruction. We did it! Though many challenges and heartaches remain, I’m delighted to report that students were taught and inspired, research resumed, and historians cautiously carried on with our mission of public education. Hearty congratulations and thanks to all who participated in this effort. In her memoir Song in a Weary Throat, Pauli Murray wrote, “What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.” With those words, the …Read more here

Update from the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Our majors are an impressive bunch. The faculty see this in the classroom every semester, as our students progress through their years at Carolina. It is not always easy, however, to keep track of their persistent excellence outside the halls of Pauli Murray (aka Hamilton) Hall. (As evident from our departmental LinkedIn account, we know they go to achievement in virtually every field and line of work). Every once and a while, a news item comes across my radar that reminds me and my colleagues of the great things our majors accomplish beyond our department. Here are just two examples. …Read more here

Update from the Director of Graduate Studies

Most of our graduate students returned to campus this fall. Others who had put their research on hold were finally able to begin their travel and take up their fellowships. Because they will need extra time to complete their degrees after pandemic-related delays, the History Department did not admit a new class. We did, however, hold our first comprehensive orientation for the graduate students beginning their second year. This was an experiment, trying to figure out what new cohorts would need in the future. It was a very successful day, and kudos go to those who organized it: students Morgan …Read more here

The Sallie Markham Michie Trust Legacy Continues for 2021

For the past six years, the Sallie Markham Michie Trust has awarded funding to a graduate student within the University of North Carolina’s History Department. Sallie Markham Michie established the trust before her death in 1993, and it continues to be overseen by the Orange County Daughters of the American Revolution and the Magna Carta Dames Society, in both of which she was an active member. Over 25 years after its creation, the trust continues her legacy. The Trust’s chair, Sarah Snow, outlined in an interview that “the intent [of the trust] is to challenge students to research and publish …Read more here

Professor Chad Bryant publishes Prague: Belonging in the Modern City

This spring, Professor Chad Bryant published his second book with Harvard University Press. Prague: Belonging in the Modern City has received favorable reviews in The Economist and the Times Literary Supplement, bringing his work to a broader public. As Bryant explained in an interview this fall, he wrote this book for both experts and interested laypeople — particularly those planning a trip to Prague, a city that has become an essential stop on any tourist’s Central European itinerary. Its architecture looks familiar enough to a foreign visitor, while its history and culture are unfamiliar enough for these visitors to attach …Read more here

Pauli Murray’s Powerful Legacy

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (1910-1985) was one of the most remarkable intellectuals and human rights advocates of the 20th Century. She also had strong personal ties to North Carolina, to UNC, and to the intellectual work carried out in this building. These reasons support the proposal to rename our building in Pauli Murray’s honor. Pauli Murray’s work as an activist, women’s rights advocate, and lawyer is reflected in her scholarship, as her poems, articles, and books critique the anti-Blackness of the US legal system and call for greater gender equality in the Civil Rights Movement. Though Murray began publishing in …Read more here

Alumnus Alex Hodges advocates for the value of historical training

When asked how he would advise parents who want their children to major in something other than history, Alex Hodges ‘90 needs no time to respond: “I’m happy to talk to the parent.” Hodges, who is currently Vice President & General Manager Americas for the Global Products Division of Owens & Minor, a FORTUNE 500 global healthcare logistics company, knows a thing or two about the career preparation provided by a history degree. As a member of the department’s Career Mentor Coalition (described in last Spring’s newsletter), Hodges partners with other alumni of the department to provide professional advice and …Read more here

Sarah Shields Receives Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Undergraduate Education Award

Professor Sarah Shields has received this year’s Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Undergraduate Education Award. The award, which was announced at MESA’s Annual Meeting (held virtually) in December, recognizes “outstanding scholarship on teaching or other material contributions to undergraduate education in Middle East Studies.” This recognition from America’s preeminent academic society promoting the study of the Middle East will come as no surprise to Shields’ students, colleagues, and to others familiar with her efforts to get students thinking out of the box. Shields is firmly committed to active learning. “What I learned from being a parent and teacher to my …Read more here

Professor Lloyd Kramer Receives Thomas Jefferson Award

This September, History Department professor Lloyd Kramer received UNC-Chapel Hill’s Thomas Jefferson Award, a yearly award recognizing faculty members who “best exemplify the ideals and objectives of Thomas Jefferson” through their scholarship and teaching. At a meeting of the Faculty Council held over Zoom, chair Mimi Chapman related that numerous people had raised objections to the award over the previous year: “Why were we giving an award named after someone who enslaved people [and] who had a relationship that, by definition, could not be voluntary with an enslaved woman?” The Faculty Council, she explained, is currently considering the future of …Read more here

History Graduate Students establish European History Seminar

A shared pivotal experience in every early-graduate school career, it seems, is one’s first seminar. The professors know each other, older graduate student ask insightful questions, and first and second years don’t know where to begin. It was on the basis of these experiences that Oskar Czendze and Till Knobloch, two Ph.D candidates in modern European history, decided to found the European History Seminar for Graduate Students in January 2019. The goals of this group are simple: to provide a “safe space” for graduate students to present their work, test ideas, and ask questions of each other without the pressures …Read more here

The History Department is a lively center for historical education and research. Although we are deeply committed to our mission as a public institution, our “margin of excellence” depends on generous private donations. At the present time, the department is particularly eager to improve the funding and fellowships for graduate students.

Your donations are used to send graduate students to professional conferences, support innovative student research, bring visiting speakers to campus, and expand other activities that enhance the department’s intellectual community.

Make a Gift

To make a secure gift online, please click “Make a Gift” above.

The Department also receives tax-deductible donations through the Arts and Sciences Foundation at UNC-Chapel Hill. Please note in the “memo” section of your check that your gift is intended for the History Department. Donations should be sent to the following address:

UNC-Arts & Sciences Foundation
Buchan House
523 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Attention: Ronda Manuel

For more information about creating scholarships, fellowships, and professorships in the Department through a gift, pledge, or planned gift please contact Ronda Manuel, Associate Director of Development at the Arts and Sciences Foundation: or (919) 962-7266.