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Presidential Scandals' Jan Term course sparks critical thinking


Professor Bryn Upton chose the topic of his Jan Term course “Presidential Scandals” for its timely and universal appeal, but he designed the course to compel his students to flex their critical-thinking skills while contemplating events that have rocked the White House in the past 200 years.

Among the topics up for debate are the questions surrounding President Obama’s citizenship, the hard-to-come-by freezer delivered to Truman’s home in Missouri, and Watergate, which ended the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Because the class has its share of history buffs and others interested in the political arena, Upton takes five minutes at the beginning of each class to talk about the current presidential race.

“This Jan Term takes a subject that nearly everyone has some interest or knowledge in,” said sophomore Joseph Wright. “It conjures up an abundant amount of imagery for not just the history-intensive student but also those who would not even consider taking history.”

History Overview picture of a McDaniel professor with his class

Overview

Graduate study or careers in business, banking, education, and law are some of the options for McDaniel history students. The study of history is an engagement with the past – the individuals, societies, and civilizations that have shaped the modern world. The Department offers more than 30 courses and seminars on topics ranging from the High Middle Ages to Russian History to the American Revolution. In addition to the major, other options in History include: minors in History, American History, European History, and Classical Civilization, and Teacher Certification Secondary (middle/high school) in Social Studies.

Location
Hill Hall, 3rd floor

Contact
Dr. Stephen Feeley
Department Chair
(410) 871-3357

History Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

The McDaniel History Department offers courses in the social, cultural, and political history of the ancient world, America, Europe, and Asia. History majors have gone on to graduate school and to a wide range of careers, including law, business, education, and government. Students who wish to combine the study of history with another discipline may obtain a dual major in History and Art History, History and English, History and Foreign Language, or History and Political Science.  Students also have the option to minor in history, with a concentration in American History, European History, or Classical Civilization.

Faculty

Associate Professor and department chair Stephen FeeleyAssociate Professor and department chair Stephen Feeley

(Ph.D., The College of William and Mary), a specialist in Colonial America, Native American and 19th-century America, has recently collaborated with one of his students at the rich archival resources in early American history in Philadelphia through a SHEAR/Mellon summer fellowship and other research projects on such topics as covered wagon communities, varied roles of horses in the Civil War, and others.

Professor Donna EvergatesProfessor Donna Evergates

(Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University) a scholar in both the Classics and women’s studies, teaches courses featuring women’s history and Greek and Roman history, including a First Year Seminar about Alexander the Great, which reinforces the liberal arts tradition of never trusting one source, and frequently collaborates in research with students, most recently to catalog the college’s collection of 119 Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts.

Professor Theodore Evergates

(Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University), is an internationally recognized scholar and expert in Medieval France, whose books “The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300” and “Aristocratic Women in Medieval France” reflect the passion for medieval history he passes along to his students in the classroom as well as in collaborative research studies.

Assistant Professor Qin FangAssistant Professor Qin Fang

(PhD., University of Minnesota), is the college’s expert in East Asian history with a focus on China, who helped five of her students secure a $30,000 grant from the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows Program to spend a month in Wuhu, China, conducting research on Tiehua, the art of iron painting, which resulted in a professor/student collaboration on the professional paper presentation, “Tiehua in the Eighteenth Century.”

Associate Professor Paul MillerAssociate Professor Paul Miller

(Ph.D., Yale University), a scholar who studies World War I and memory, is on leave through 2013 with an International Fellowship from the Marie Curie Action Program, the major research funding mechanism of the European Union, to be affiliated with the Centre for First World War Studies in the School of History and Cultures at the University of Birmingham in the UK, where he will complete the manuscript for his book project on the memory of the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand tentatively titled “June 28, 1914: A Day in History and Memory.”   

Associate Professor Bryn UptonAssociate Professor Bryn Upton

(Ph.D., Brandeis University), specializes in American History, teaching such courses as “Greed, Gangsters and the Great Depression: The United States 1898-1940,” “Black America and the Civil Rights Movement, 1865-1968” and “U.S. Intellectual Tradition” and presenting his research, most recently on topics that include "Bourne at the Right Time: Film and our post-Cold War Identity" and "Leftist Legacies: How Personal Politics and Memoirs are Rewriting the 1960s."

Resources

Internships and independent studies allow students to work at local museums or historical societies, to research old buildings in the area, or to explore early American history at the many museums of Washington, D.C., an easy drive from campus. Most years, history majors pursue internships and off-campus study as close to home as the Carroll County Historical Society and as far away as Europe (through the Junior Year Abroad program). During the last several years, students have carried out projects in Washington at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the United States Holocaust Museum, in Annapolis at the Maryland State Archives, in Baltimore at the Maryland Historical Society, in Westminster at The Historical Society of Carroll County, and in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at the U.S. Army War College Library.

Another way students can make use of off-campus experience is to place that experience into historical context by registering for independent studies. For example, one student wrote a history of the modern juvenile justice system in New Jersey as a result of working at a youth center during summer vacation.

Historians are employed as researchers in business and government, as archivists and preservationists, and some work for themselves or in partnerships as consultants. Recent graduates have joined business and brokerage firms, enrolled in law and graduate studies, and begun military and government service.

Recent student-faculty research collaboration:

Student Professor Topic
Ashley Conroy Dr. Donna Evergates U.S. Propaganda during the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Study of Television News Broadcasts
Gabriela Branda Dr. Stephen Feeley, Ms. Darcy Kern Tudor Religious Persecution: Writers’ Changing Perceptions during the Tudor Era
Earl Crown Dr. Bryn Upton When Dissent Isn’t Dissent: Madisonian Federalism and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1966
Gregory Nolen Dr. Stephen Feeley, Dr. Jakub Zejmis U.S. Foreign Policy and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution: Why Didn’t the U.S. Intervene?

A campus History Club gives students the opportunity outside the classroom to share their interests and promote history studies through films, lectures and other extra-curricular activities. Annually, senior history majors give their best advice to juniors on how best to plan and carry out a successful capstone research project and everyone gets invited to the annual History Picnic.

McDaniel’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, national honor society in History, promotes the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of ideas. Students are nominated and selected by faculty of the History department. To be eligible, students must complete a minimum of four courses in History, achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and must be in the top 35% of their class.