Friday, March 28, 2014

My Time as a History Major at Bonaventure by Max Schneller

My decision to choose history as my major in college was a relatively easy one. I grew up in Hurley, New York, a town that was established by the Dutch in 1662. Many of the old stone houses of the Dutch colony still exist along Main Street. This historic site along with many others is where I grew up and, ever since I was young, my parents told me about my area's history. Because of this constant exposure to history I quickly grew to love it.

My decision to choose Saint Bonaventure was also in large part because of young exposure. My grandfather and uncle both went to Bonas and so throughout my childhood and high school career I heard stories of Bonaventure. I truly knew that Bonaventure was where I was going to spend my college career, however, when I first visited the school and saw the history section of Friedsam Library. As a high school senior, I had never seen so many books devoted to history in one place. Even now, in my senior year at Bonaventure, I enjoy going down to the History section and simply skimming through the books.

Perhaps my favorite part of being a history major at Saint Bonaventure has been the way that I have expanded my knowledge of the histories of many regions and countries that previously I had no exposure to. These regions include the Middle East, Latin America, and East Asia. Before coming to Saint Bonaventure, I took many classes on European and American history, both of which I have learned a lot about at Bonaventure. However, once at Bonaventure, I immediately decided to take classes on Asian and Latin American history to broaden my historical knowledge. By my sophomore year, I was also taking Middle Eastern history classes. These classes offered a new challenge and were particularly interesting because of the way that all of the information was new. For truly expanding my knowledge in history and changing the way I look at the world I have to thank Dr. Horowitz, Dr. Zabad from the Political Science Department, Dr. Robbins and many other professors throughout this wonderful school.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

History 494: History of the Future

I've been getting some questions about the Fall semester schedule. In particular, I've been asked about the special topic course "History of the Future." What the heck is that? One way to answer is with the course subtitle, which is too long to fit onto the schedule, "Science Fiction, Then, Now, and Things to Come." Yep. It is a history course about science fiction course that I'm team teaching with Paul Spaeth. We're going to start with the greats, Vern, Wells, Shelly, who created the genre and work our way to the present looking at the development of the genre in its historical context. We'll be looking at different mediums, including but not limited to novels, pulps, radio, movies, and, yes, comic books. This is the second time we've taught the class. Last time it was a lot of fun, and we learned a lot.

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Time as a History Major at Bonaventure by Christina Zoppi

Photo courtesy of Chelsea O'Connor-Rosiek
I love history! I think I will always be fascinated by learning about the past. My decision to declare history as my major was strongly influenced by the movie, “National Treasure.” All Nicolas Cage jokes aside, I thought (and still think) it was so cool that his character was able to recount historical facts off the top of his head. In fact, even today when people ask me what I plan on doing with my history degree I jokingly, and somewhat seriously, say that I am going to find the National Treasure. The truth is that no matter how cool it would be to find a lost map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, I do not plan to pursue a career in history.

During my junior year, as I seriously considered a career in Speech and Language Pathology, I began to tell people that I would not be using my history degree. I know plenty of people who majored in history as an undergraduate and are not presently working in the historical field: my dad works in hospitality, his college roommate is a podiatrist, some guy I sat next to on a plane once helps develop companies. I used to think none of these people were really using their degrees in history. I was sorely mistaken. While these careers may not directly reflect characteristics of history, they do incorporate the skills of a historian.

There is a very slight connection between a speech therapist and a historian; however, I am determined to incorporate the skills I have learned as a history student at St. Bonaventure University into my future career endeavors no matter what they may be. After taking many classes with Dr. Horowitz, I have learned to read large amounts of material while still being able to understand and discuss what I have read. Dr. Payne has taught me to be flexible and to have an open mind when dealing with new material. He has also taught me that there may actually be a zombie apocalypse and to be prepared for it. All of my history professors have taught me to be innovative in ways that are outside of the box. 

The skills that I have learned from studying history are irrefutable. Even if my career may not involve history in a direct way, I will be able to use the insights I have gained through being a history major in many aspects of my life. History will always be my first love, and I do not regret choosing to major in it. Who knows, maybe someday I will find the National Treasure, and I will be sure to thank all of my history professors in my recognition speech.

Monday, March 17, 2014

History Club Meeting on St. Patrick's Day!

The History Club will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in the Plassmann Lounge. This semester's trip will be discussed, among other topics. You need not be a history major to join!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

History Major Rachel Farrell Reporting from Austin, TX

 As a full-time employee, parent and history student, it is hard to find a proper balance among all the roles I’m expected to play. Working 40 hours a week; taking classes that fit around my work schedule; keeping the house and kids organized; making time for doctor appointments, parent/teacher meetings and extra-curricular activities; it all takes a tremendous amount of creative time management. So, when I can combine two of the three “roles,” and satisfy my love of history while meeting a parent obligation, life is sweet!

During spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas and tour St. Edwards University campus with my daughter, since it is one of her college options. I just happen to be a native Texan, so this trip was certainly no hardship! And, Austin is in the middle of the Texas hill country, with beautiful views and lovely weather this time of year. This incentive, in addition to the lure of learning the history of the beautiful campus and the foundation of a great Catholic university, made my spring break fun and memorable.

Father Edward Sorin, who also founded the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, came to Austin in 1878 to establish a school for boys, which he named St. Edwards Academy in honor of his patron saint. In 1885 the school received its college charter to become St. Edwards College and acquired its university charter in 1925. The magnificent main building on campus was built in 1889 and was designed by Nicholas J. Clayton, who was at that time a very well known and respected architect.

In 1903, almost all of the main building was destroyed by a fire except for the beautiful front doors with its panels of stained glass. The building, with its original and distinctive red doors, was rebuilt and opened again by fall of the same year, and continues to be a significant facet of the university to this day. The contrast between the doors, blue accents in the stained glass, and the white limestone common to Texas are quite eye-catching.

Despite the beauty and history we encountered during our trip, my daughter is still undecided if this will be her home for the next four years. However, St. Edwards University has a rich history and unparalleled scenery, in my opinion, of which any college student can be proud!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Time as a History Major at Bonaventure by Christina Stankewicz

When I decided on going to Bonaventure, my friends all thought that I was crazy because I picked a school that was eight hours from home. They also thought that I was insane for deciding to major in history, but I wanted to pick a major that offered flexibility and allowed me to figure out what I was interested in. With history I was able to do just that.

Like everyone, I have a variety of interests. If I had to pick a top three, I would say that I really enjoy music, reality television, and films. During my time at Bonaventure, I really have become a reality tv addict. I watch the Real Housewives, Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, and the list goes on and on. I will admit this and I have no shame. I also love watching classic films, so my time is split between watching TCM as well as watching reality tv. While I do love these things, what has made me love them even more is the fact that I was able to incorporate them into my history classes. I took a history class with Dr. Marinari where we had an assignment in which we had to pick a research topic on an event that happened in the past twenty years that will be studied by future generations. I picked the Kardashians and looked at how they created this new type of family empire in Hollywood. I can honestly say that I have never had more fun doing research than I did when it came to that subject. While I can’t say that I took a class on reality tv, I can say that I took a class on film. Taking a film with Mr. Spaeth class made me realize how much of a movie buff I really am and how much I actually appreciate film. Since taking that class last spring, I’ve realized that I analyze films like crazy when I watch them and look at them in historical lenses. My friends really hate to watch movies with me because of this. I have also realized that I can’t stand most of the movies that come out nowadays.

All in all, I am happy to say that when I graduate in May that I have taken a variety of classes that have sparked my interest in certain things. I have found that in these past four years that you need to do what will interest you, and that you need to apply what you like to what you’re doing. Thank you to all of my professors that have helped me realize that at different points because without coming to this conclusion, I think that these past four years would not have been as amazing as they have turned out to be.