Friday, December 11, 2015

Public History Class calls it a wrap

Thursday was the last Public History class.  Since we have stressed iterative design all semester, it seemed appropriate for the students to give us feedback on the class and the new assignment.  We got some good insights for future tweaks.  All in all, the class was a learning experience for students and instructors alike... and it will be better next time.
Pictured are the brave students who stuck the class out along with their games.  I am genuinely impressed with the work and creativity they put into the class and the games.  They created a variety of games exploring different aspects of the war.  They recreated the Battle of Gettysburg, home life, railroads, the march through Georgia.

Eddie Keen

Overview of Eddie's game

Overview of Jeremiah's game

Overview of Ben's game

Overview of Mike's game

Alicia Henning

Ben Barnhart

Dan Leopold

Jeremiah Horrigan

Mike Wesolowski

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Political Zingers

On December 8 Larry Raymond spoke with the Public History class about his game, Political Zingers.  Political Zingers fits into the theme of game design, because, according to the game's web page, "With Zingers!, talking politics with your friends is fun and you won’t ruin the evening.    You put words into the mouths of politicians and pundits, telling the truth as you see it through a cartoon vocabulary.  You  can speak your mind, get a laugh and not offend anyone."  The games ability to get people (translation students) to discuss potentially difficult topics has real educational applications.  Students in the class have a variety of political opinions and levels of engagement, but they all enjoyed the game.  The game moved quickly, provoking both discussion and laughs.  Larry also discussed how the game related to his long and varied career including his fascinating work with metaphor mapping in the corporate world and the United Nations.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Review of Dr. Robbins's Book

Dr. Karen Robbins's book, James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist, was recently reviewed in the Journal of the Early Republic.  McHenry was an important player in the American Revolution who had not received the attention he deserved, until Dr. Robbins wrote her biography.  The reviewer writes:  "This is an excellent political biography. More than that, it can serve as a model for anyone attempting a similar project. It is grounded in a thorough knowledge of the various McHenry manuscript collections and secondary works on Maryland and national politics of the period as well as the recent scholarship on race relations, the family, and class (in its eighteenth-century manifestation), especially the code of the gentleman."

Friday, November 20, 2015

Board Game Jam- 11/13/15

In accord with the Public History class, which is designing their own board games around the American Civil War, the History Department and History Club held a Board Game Jam on a Friday afternoon in Friesdam Memorial Library. Several students and professors stopped by to try their hand at a variety of board games, from classic favorites like Risk, to new games involving the American underground railroad, and several others. A fun time was had by all, as they learned about new games while enjoying pizza and each other.

Stacks of board games and slices of pizza, 
a great combination.

Freedom, a board game pertaining to the 
American Underground Railroad

Students enjoying their board games.

Review of Rochester trip to Strong Museum & Nick Tahou's- by Carter Bunce

The History Club’s trip to the Strong National Museum of Play and Nick Tahou’s in Rochester on November 14th was a fun filled experience. The museum was full of not only interactive exhibits for young children, but also informative, and nostalgic exhibits about the history of all types of toys, card and board games, and video games from a wide range of topics and decades. As one who does not play video games it was neat seeing and gaining more information on the development of video games, from the first Nintendo sets, to the more modern Play Station and Wii devices, as well as learning more about the culture of the arcade. Many in the group commented on the wide variety of games and toys presented at the museum and how it made us all feel nostalgic for the games we played as children.
                Overall, the layout of the museum was very causal and well done. The various floors were dedicated to different topics, as some sections were dedicated to the history of the comic book, and another dedicated to Nintendo and its founding. Our trip coincided with Sci-Fi Day at the museum, so there were various Star Wars characters, such as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, available for pictures, as well as tables set out selling Star Wars merchandise. The floor that was dedicated to the history of both board and electronic games had a full scale arcade where tokens could be purchased to play old school video games, like Pac-Man, and pinball. There were other games, like Jenga, paper football and Battleship, for visitors to interact with. Each exhibit also was accompanied by a small section dedicated to books and other literature dedicated to the topic being which could be read at the time or checked out to read at home. The museums layout made it very efficient for a group of our size, and interest to maximize the time spent exploring the museum in the short amount of time we had there.

                Our final destination before heading back to campus was a visit to the historic Nick Tahou’s, originator of the garbage plate and a Rochester specialty. The garbage plate is a messy concoction of meat, normally hamburgers or hotdogs, macaroni salad and home fries smothered in mustard, onions and meat sauce.  In keeping with the nature of the History Club it was enjoyable to go to a place that is such an historic and culinary staple in Rochester cuisine. For most in the group, it was their first ever garbage plate and their first time ever visiting the city of Rochester. Reflecting on the trip the entire group was satisfied with the experience of visiting the Strong Museum and Nick Tahou’s and was looking forward to further excursions with the History Club.

Group shot outside of Nick Tahou's 

Carter Bunce enjoying the exhibit on the history of Nintendo

History is happening all around us!

Nick Tahou's, birthplace of the 
garbage plate

Mmmm, looks good!

History Club hosts Trivia Night

On Thursday, November 12th, the St. Bonaventure History Club hosted it's second Trivia Night in Cafe La Verna. History professor Dr. Horowitz offered his services as the MC of the event. Over thirty undergrads answered questions pertaining to world history, geography, sports, pop culture, and Bonaventure history, with the top three teams coming away with gift cards to local restaurants. Congratulations to Andrew Bevevino, Cody Didas and Conor Wood on your first place finish!

Participants trying their hand at trivia.

Great turnout at Cafe La Verna!

Dr. Horowitz, the next Alex Trebek? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Earnings by Majors

The Wall Street Journal has a chart of Salary Increase by Major that lets you see how majors do over time.  The good news is that humanities majors do well - a message often heard in our public and digital history classes where we emphasize that the best skill for the modern economy is the ability to adapt and learn.  That's the point in emphasizing game design, gamificiation, design and information architecture this semester in public history.  Of course, we're also doing the Civil War.  Next semester will see much of the same but adding in more digital tools such as GIS and web design.

The history major stats over time from the WSJ.  The first column is starting medium salary.  The second is mid career medium salary 10 years out followed by percent increase.

History $39,200.00 $71,000.00 81.1 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Designing Civil War Games

The public history class has entered into the final push to create an educational game based.  Today students pitched their ideas for a game, which led to the drawing below as we tried to work out how a game might reflect the experience of the 154th NY in Georgia.  Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Story Telling

Thursday Chris Mackowski of SBU's School of Journalism and Mass Communication discussed his book Fight Like the Devil:   The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863 and his work with the Emerging Civil War and the National Park Service.  The NY 154 saw action at Gettysburg and appears in his book. The discussion ranged far and wide but we kept returning to the importance of place, narrative and audience.

I failed to take pictures, so in place of a picture (not a good transition but I like the story) I'll include a piece from the Harvard Business Review.  The Best Data Storytellers Aren't Always Numbers People is about the continued importance of story telling and narrative in the age of big data.  This is something we discuss in the Digital History class (offered in the spring!) as we use tools like Google maps to tell stories. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Freedom: The Underground Railroad

Last class an unplanned game session broke out.  We've been talking about how to match theme, content, and game design.  In particular how does one deal with potentially sensitive topics, such as slavery, in a public history project.  Also, we want to think about the richness of the Civil War and not limit ourselves to war games (not that we have anything against war games).  Dennis brought in Freedom:  The Underground Railroad (click here for an interview with the designer) to show the class how one educational game designer had dealt with it in a cooperative game.  Once the game was explained, the next logical step was .... well, to play it.

Digital History

Next semester we're offering the History 419:  Digital History and Archival Practices.  We'll continue our work creating a digital map of the Bonaventure cemetery.

History Club Events

The History Club has some cool events on the horizon.

November 12th- Trivia Night in La Verna- 7 p.m. Come with a team of three to test your knowledge on trivia (not just history). Top three teams win gift card prizes. 

November 13th- Friedsam Library, 2-?. Board Game Day. Join the History Club in the basement of the library in a Board Game jam. Enjoy playing familiar and obscure board games with friends and professors while enjoying pizza. 

November 14th- 8-4 pm. Field trip to Strong National Museum of Play and Nick Tahou's.  Enjoy a day in Rochester visiting Rochester's National Museum of Play (It's Sci-Fi Day!) and later getting lunch at Nick Tahou's- birthplace of the Garbage Plate. Transportation will be provided, first come, first served. Free of charge.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shannon Conheady's Blog

Shannon Conheady, history alum, is blogger about her experience on a Fullbright scholarship.  You can read her blog here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meeples Visit Public History - More Games Designed

The Public History class continues to explore the intersection of game design, historical content, and education.  Our second round of game design included not just game mechanics, but the games had to illustrate or incorporate a real-world theme.   

The students came up with two games.  Black Gold is a resource management and territory occupation game with an eurogame feel that used the theme of competing oil companies.

The other team built a game to explain the college experience.  Players had to advance through four years of college.  Here is a classic example of taking a theme and then finding the mechanics.  Both games worked in play testing today.

Plus, we now have meeples in the class!

Our next challenge is incorporating the Civil War themes from the 154th into a game and we're looking taking the first steps toward seeing how this plays out in the digital world with Gameblox and Minecraft.

Experiencing History: The Papal Visit up Close

By Jason Damon

As a history student, it goes without saying that I’m passionate about learning about the past.  I have a particular appreciation for American history and the history of the Catholic Church, and soak up even the tiniest morsels and tidbits of the two with a Faustian greed. 
Sometimes, though, as a student of history it's easy to get caught up in what happened in the past without fully appreciating the fact that events unfolding in the present are themselves incredible.  Sometimes, I feel like I have a tendency to try and view things through the scope of yesterday and fail to soak in the magnitude of the moment.  It’s as if I need to impatiently wait for the time to pass where an event can be stamped with the label of “HISTORY” and placed neatly on the shelf before I can eagerly grab it and tear in.  Recently, however, I was blessed enough to experience something that may have shifted how I view the happenings of the world around me.
Last month, I was blessed enough to go to Washington, DC with a contingent of Bonaventure students to see Pope Francis as he visited the United States.  And oh, was there ever some history.  It was the first time the beloved pontiff visited the United States in his life.  He presided over the canonization Mass of SAINT Junipero Serra, the first time that a figure has been officially recognized as a saint on United States soil (99.9% of canonizations have been in Rome).  He addressed the U.S. Congress, the first time that the auguste political body has seen a religious figure speak to them.  And I had a (comparatively speaking) front-row seat to all of it.  I had a ticket to the Mass as well as to the West Lawn of the White House for the Congressional address. 
On the car ride down, all I could think of was how historic this was; how this was going to be a momentous event, one that would be talked about for a very long time after it was over.  I suppose my line of thinking along that line stopped around when I saw Pope Francis drive by for the first time.  Sure, I wasn’t particularly close; I was down the street a few hundred yards from where his motorcade drove by on the way to the Mass while I was standing in a security line.  And yet, I was struck not with the historic nature of it all, not by how this was going to be seen by future generations, not by how I was going to be able to put into words how incredible this was, but by the sheer magnitude of the moment.  I can’t truly put it into words, but for the rest of trip, I saw things through the eyes of an awed and humbled Catholic, not as someone waiting to dissect words or gestures or theorize on the politics behind the address or the visit or the homily. 
I was able to live during a historic visit.  But that categorization would come well after I had arrived back at St. Bonaventure. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Meet New History Major Jeremiah Horrigan

            Hello, my name is Jeremiah Horrigan and I am a freshman studying history at Saint Bonaventure. So far, I really like it here and have met some really good people. I was born in the southern part of Buffalo, which is a very Irish neighborhood and I like to take pride in that. I attended Bishop Timon in that neighborhood and a lot of my good friends from Bonas did as well. I am big on sports and politics and my favorite teams include the Bills, the Sabres, The Red Sox, and Notre Dame football. I chose history as my major for college for a variety of reasons. The major reason I did is because I’ve always had an interest in it and I’ve found it to be the most compelling to me. Another reason is that it’s my best subject and I’ve never had a problem with it. The final reason that I chose it is because it is one of the most highly recommended majors for law school. There are a lot of things I like to focus on in history but two of them go above and beyond the others. The first one is the Industrial Revolution. I find this subject to be very compelling and I really enjoy reading about Andrew Carnegie. Also, the Industrial Revolution is when Buffalo really took off as a city that plays a role as well. Another subject I enjoy is Irish History. I took a class in high school that focused on Irish History topics like the Easter uprising and Brian Boru and it was a great class. I have many goals and hopes here at Bonas and I look forward to trying to accomplish as many as possible. First of all, I’d like to maintain a high GPA, as well as meet new people and make new friends. Also, I’d like to learn as much as possible and become very knowledgeable in as many subjects of history that I can. 

Meet New History Major Dillinger Perez

My name is Dillinger Perez. I am from Springfield, Massachusetts and I attended Wilbraham Monson Academy for high school. The reason I chose to be a history major is because since I was a boy I was fascinated by the past from Napoleon to Genghis Khan. I always wanted to know more about the past and the reasons why certain things are the way they are today. My favorite history subject has always been World War II. I say World War II because there is nothing else like it in history. The sheer amount of manpower, material, technological advances, and sadly the amount of deaths have rarely been seen in warfare. My goals as a history major at Bona's is to learn as much as I can about the subject I love, so one day I can be a teacher and help other kids learn about some of the greatest stories ever told that are true.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Matthew Cressler: A Catholic Case for Reparation

Meet New History Major Joseph Aldridge

My name is Joseph Aldridge, this is my freshman year at St. Bonaventure University. I live in Rochester, New York. I went to a private catholic high school by the name of Bishop Kearney High School. I attended this high school for four years, where my love for history flourished.
A major reason I chose to be a history major was that I just love the topic in general. I have to really thank my middle school teacher the most for getting me into enjoying history as much as I do. She really introduced me to American History and how fascinating it really is. I want to use my history degree and teach in secondary education. Another reason I chose to be a history major was because I can’t see myself doing anything else in the future.

I was asked to provide my favorite subject of history; for me it would have to be American History. Why American History? I favor American History so much, because I have spent the most time studying it over the years. I have also visited multiple historical sites over the years. The historical sites that I have visited include Gettysburg, Washington D.C., and Boston. Another reason I love this type of history is because I find it to be the most interesting out of all the subjects of history there is to be offered.

A dream that I have for my years here at St. Bonaventure is to graduate and receive my degree in history. A hope that I had and still have for college in general is making new friends and hopefully having them for life. A dream that I have for college is to take my knowledge and degree and receive a job back in my hometown and teach high school students history.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Meet New History Major Megan Penn

My name is Megan Penn and I am from Clarksville, Maryland.  For high school I attended Mount de Sales Academy.  I have always had a love for history, especially after my sophomore year American History class.  My teacher’s passion for history inspired me to further explore my interest in the subject.  My favorite history subject is early 20th century European history.  During my time here at St. Bonaventure I plan to also minor in Secondary Education so I will be able to inspire a love for history in high schoolers as my teacher did for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Public History Presentation from the Strong

Jeremy Saucier of the Strong in Rochester where he serves as the Assistant Director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games gave an excellent talk with the public history students.  Jeremy covered a lot of ground impressing the students with the range of activities that goes into making a successful museum.  Relevant to our Civil War game assignment, Jeremy spoke about the Strong's mission to be a museum of play and how that led them to do pioneering work in collecting and curating the history of electronic and digital games.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dr. Schaeper to speak on Bancroft

Dr. Thomas Schaeper will be giving a lecture on October 1in Wethersfield, CT, on his book on Edward Bancroft.  If you are in the area and interested in the revolutionary war - or just a good spy story - check it out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Round of Game Design Complete

Our teams of students (seen in action above) have completed the first round of game design.  The two teams built some interesting card games.  As part of this mad scientist approach to public history, we're next discussing the hows and whys of education outside of the traditional classroom and school - museum education and its many, many relatives.  How do we, as students and educators, make history, in our case the specific case study of the NY 154 in the Civil War, accessible, understandable, and exciting?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hamilton the Musical

This morning I caught this story about Hamilton the Musical.

From the story:  Hamilton, the hottest ticket on Broadway, is a musical about the decidedly un-hot topic of his crucial role in U.S. economics. What can we learn about debt and the dollar through rhymes and R&B?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

St. Bonaventure to host Francis Week events from Sept. 26 through Oct. 5

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Sept. 18, 2015 —  St. Bonaventure University will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis by hosting a week of Francis-inspired events from Saturday, Sept. 26, to Sunday, Oct. 5.

Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., executive director of University Ministries, said the yearly observation of Francis Week is to honor St. Francis as a teacher who has much to teach us. 

“St. Francis of Assisi is by far one of the most recognizable saints we have,” he said. “Everyone loves St. Francis. Francis Week is our celebration of a man, who lived over 800 years ago, that brings to life his message that is still relevant to us in our day. The Pope’s visit to the United States next week makes the celebration of Francis Week even more significant and relevant.”

Francis Week kicks off with Family Weekend Mass in the University Chapel at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, the first floor of Robinson Hall will host “The Word” Open Performance Show, an open floor for students, faculty and staff to perform Franciscan-themed music, poetry and other performing arts.

The following day, Walsh Auditorium hosts “Francis Goes to Washington: a Panel Discussion on the Pope’s address to Congress,” at 7 p.m. Sept. 29. Four panelists of students, faculty and staff will give their reactions and impressions of Pope Francis’s speech to Congress.

Mount Irenaeus then hosts Francis Week Speaker Dr. Matthew Cressler on Sept. 30 for a contemplative evening with the topic “Francis and the Cross: Go Repair My Home.” Vans leave for the Mountain from the Thomas Merton Center at 4 p.m.

From 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, University Ministries will be giving out Lady Jacoba Cookies and coffee outside of Plassmann Hall and the Swan Business Center. This is to honor Lady Jacoba, who in her support for Francis would often bring him almond cookies.

At noon later the same day, the Thursday Forum will feature speaker Matthew Cressler. He will talk with St. Bonaventure faculty and staff about the rise of Black Catholic Chicago in the University Club. Questions will be taken after the lecture.

Cressler will then be the featured speaker for this year’s Fr. Jerome Kelly Lecture at 4 p.m. the same day in the University Chapel. The title of the lecture is “A Catholic Case for Reparation.”

Friday features a men’s overnight at Mount Irenaeus. The theme is “The Lord Gave Me Brothers.” Vans leave the Thomas Merton Center at 4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis will be dedicated to the Francis Week Day of Service. This offers students and community members the opportunity to help those in need in the spirit of St. Francis.

Part of this Day of Service will include the March for Babies, sponsored by the March of Dimes. This will help fund research of childhood diseases and will take place on the Allegheny River Trail. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m.

Students also have the opportunity to serve the local community by helping restore areas of the Allegheny River Trail during the Francis Week Day of Service starting at 10:30 a.m. beginning in the Swan Center Atrium.

Later at 7 p.m. will be the Transitus of St. Francis. This dramatic service, depicting the death of St. Francis, will be held in the University Chapel. This prayerful experience is coordinated by students.

The culminating event of Francis Week, the Feast of St. Francis Mass, will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4. This will be the only Sunday celebration on campus this day.

All of the Francis Week events are designed to showcase and celebrate how impactful St. Francis remains for us today.

“St. Francis is so much more than the saint who loved animals or a perfect accent piece in one’s garden,” Fr. Francis said. “St. Francis was a man of his time as well as a man of our time.”

Francis Week activities are sponsored by a generous gift from John, ’58, and Kay Meisch of Canandaigua. For a full list of events, go to


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things.  St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.    

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Game (Viking Funeral) in Public History Class

Yesterday public history students warmed up for designing their first game by playing Viking Funeral, a card game by designer Rob Daviau.  We've been using Daviau's interview on Edx and Game Designer Round Table in class.

This gave us a nice way to discuss game mechanics and, perhaps more importantly, to begin thinking and talking about how we can use them in an educational context and apply them to our work with the Civil War.  Plus, we had fun (or at least as much fun as we can have in a class).  Thursday the students pitch their ideas for a card game.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Plassmann Writing Center

Making Better Writers!

Plassmann Hall, Room 6A
Monday 5:00pm-8:00pm
Wednesday 3:00pm-4:00pm
and 8:00pm-10:00pm
Thursday 2:00pm-4:00pm

PWC @ Friedsam Memorial Library
 Wednesday 8:00pm-10:00pm
Thursday 8:00pm-10:00pm

Staffed by friendly graduate students in English, the Writing Center aims to help you develop skills and strategies for every stage of
the writing process that will enable you to write effectively
in a variety of situations and courses.

To make an appointment for a thirty-minute face-to-face session with one of our tutors, sign up on the bulletin board next to

our door in the basement of Plassmann Hall. For appointments at Friedsam Memorial Library, sign up at the reference desk!

Anticipating Tuesday Game Jam

So.... materials have begun to arrive for the first Game Jam in History 206.  We spent last week talking about museum planning.  We've had some preliminary review of game mechanics.   We've bought some assorted widgets to make games with.  Tuesday, we start building.  Active learning, here we come.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The benefits of a liberal education

John Kay has a nice article on the benefits of a broad, liberal, education in the Financial Times.  In "The Benefits of a Liberal Education do not Go Out of Date," he writes that "The objective (of education) should be to equip students to enjoy rewarding employment and fulfilling lives in a future environment whose demands we can neither anticipate nor predict."

Friday, September 11, 2015

History Club at Organization Fair

(Mike Specht at the Fair)

The annual St. Bonaventure University Club and Organization Fair was held this past Wednesday, September 9, in the Richter Center. Members of the History Club were present in order to attract new members and inform new students about the different activities the History Club does throughout the year, such as going away on trips, hosting history related events on campus, and service opportunities. This event is targeted for the freshman class to see the many clubs and organizations that are present on campus, but is also open to upperclassmen looking to get more involved. In recent years the various events that the History Club has partaken in both on and off campus have been big hits and it has proven to be a place were history lovers can share in their common interests.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

History Alum to Speak during Francis Week

Dr. Matthew Cressler is a 2006 Bona grad.  He graduated with a degree in History and Theology. He completed a year as a visiting assistant professor of Religion and African American Studies at Earlham College.  He is currently an assistant professor at The College of Charleston (South Carolina) who focuses on African American Religions, Society, and Black Nationalism.  He’s also working on his first book From Conversion to Revolution: The Rise of Black Catholic Chicago.  He’ll be on campus Wednesday September 28th to Friday October 2nd.   His formal lecture will take place on October 1st at 4pm in the University Chapel. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Public History Week One

Students in History 206:  Introduction to Public History started the semester reading about Information Architecture and listened to a Game Design Round Table podcast on collaboration.  Now it was time to put theory into practice by doing a card sorting exercise.

We gave them note cards that I had labeled and shuffled.  The two teams then had to organize the mess. One of the challenges was reading my hand writing.

One group decided that they needed more space.  Next week we start looking at how these concepts apply to museum planning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marketing for Crash!

As the global financial markets crash makes news Amazon hit me up with this advertisement.  I really don't know how the Amazon algorithms work.  I spend more time on Amazon looking at sporting goods and comic books than I do my own books.  Okay, I confess to having bought a few books on economics.  But... my hope is that Amazon is selling books on market failures rather than targeting me with my own book.

A Second Interview with Dr. Horowitz

The largest circulating newspaper in Argentina Clarín published another interview with Dr. Horowitz ( in Spanish).  This interview focused on the current state of the labor movement in Argentina and its relationship with politics.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dr. Horowitz's Interview

Dr. Horowitz was interviewed by Clarin, the largest circulation newspaper in Argentina.  You can listen to it (in Spanish) here.  (Don't forget the power of Google translate.)  The interview discusses the main arguments of Horowitz's book Argentina’s Radical Party and Popular Mobilization, 1916-1930 (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2008)which was recently published in Argentina as 
         El radicalismo y la movilización popular (1916-1930) (Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2015). It also touches on connections between the era that Horowitz studied  and politics in subsequent eras, especially the 1940s and 1950s and the present.

Friday, August 14, 2015

STEM or Liberal Arts?

STEM or Liberal Arts:  A Trick Question for College Students is another article on the seeming debate between STEM and liberal arts majors.  The takeaway, we need both.  The author writes that "it’s a mistake to think that STEM is the only route to a rewarding and well-paying career in tech or business, whether with a web startup or a huge multinational."  STEM is hugely important and any student who has taken my classes know that I think that one of the defining features of the 21st century is that technology is integrating into everything.  In the article, the author writes that "the bigger point is that most students would do well to study both STEM and liberal arts and develop both left-brain and right-brain skills and thinking.  The example I use with my college-bound teen is that software engineering is a very valuable skill to have, but software engineering combined with superb communications skills, even more so."  I would argue the reverse is also true.  The humanities major who is comfortable with tech is also marketable.  Looking forward to teaching public history and digital history this year.

DNA Test for Harding

With a two-term sitting president leaving office and a large, large number scrambling to take his place, it is once again time to revisit presidential legacy and rankings.  Get ready for a lot of it.  This means Harding again reenters the historical consciousness as our worst president - maybe.  If you are going to discuss Harding in the news, you are probably going to be talking about his private life.

The New York Times reports that "DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding's Love Life."  Other outlets are widely reporting the result.  Fox News notes that first DNA testing confirmed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and now it has answered another presidential mystery.  Do the DNA test change Harding's place in history?  Probably not.  It is not shocking or even news that Harding slept around, he was after all called a He Harlot, something I couldn't resist as a chapter title in Dead Last.  Not that long ago the Library of Congress released the correspondence between Harding and his mistress Carrie-Fulton Phillips.  The story also mentions that "The testing also found that President Harding had no ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa, answering another question that has intrigued historians. When Harding ran for president in 1920, segregationist opponents claimed he had `black blood.'"  Again, not a surprising finding  but an interesting testimony to changing times.  Some still hold it against Harding that he might have been of a mixed race ancestry.  Not that long ago the idea that Harding was of mixed race was the "shadow" in Francis Russell's Shadow of Blooming Grove, the best known and damning Harding biography.  Does all this mean Harding will now rise in the rankings?  No.  Teapot Dome and Veterans' Bureau Scandals (among others) still loom large in a short presidency.  It does show that Americans have long liked a little tabloid mixed in with presidential politics.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Civil War Panel and Reunion Update

Yesterday, August 1, descendants of the New York 154th regiment gather at St. Bonaventure.  Part of the ceremonies included formally giving the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry to the Friedsdam Library.  They also got to see a fine exhibit from the collection in the Quick Center for the Arts and a panel of Civil War historians from the Emerging Civil War hosted by Chris Mackowski of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  The day concluded with a bbq and live music from Rush the Growler.

The 'strange' death of Warren G. Harding

Today PBS reminds us that this is the anniversary of The 'strange' death of Warren G. Harding.  If you want to find out more about this, and what happened after his death, you can always check out my book Dead Last:  The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding's Scandalous Legacy.  Harding's place in history, and in the presidential rankings, is fascinating.

For the Liberal Arts, All is not Lost in the Digital Age

Although I risk turning the blog into a place to rant about the crisis in the humanities, I am deeply interested in how fields like history fit into the 21st century.  Since it is summer and I don't have new stories about what our great students are doing I'll post this column in the Miami Herald "For the Liberal Arts, All is not Lost in the Digital Age." The author makes some good points.

Taken from the article:
"“Liberal arts majors who want to be in the tech field have to educate themselves in the basic concepts, and if they can prove they understand it well enough, they become invaluable,” Nickel said. When he looks at résumés, he doesn’t immediately dismiss one that leads with a liberal arts degree. After all, he said, developers may create a product, but it takes a smooth talker in the board room to convince investors to buy.
There has been a bit of a backlash to the STEM push, with a string of stories in mainstream media and business publications praising the virtues and versatility of those liberal arts majors, particularly the ones willing to learn the language of computing."
I am not part of the STEM backlash, such as it is.  STEM is hugely important but it isn't the whole story.  For those of in fields like history, the digital age could actually be an opportunity providing we are willing to experiment and adapt - not always the easiest thing to do but it can be fun.

Read more here:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

That "Useless" Liberal Arts Degree....

"That "Useless" Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket" over at Forbes is is a great article on the value of the liberal arts degree in the Tech World.  From the article:  "MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in a recent book, The Second Machine Age, that today’s tech wave will inspire a new style of work in which tech takes care of routine tasks so that people can concentrate on what mortals do best: generating creative ideas and actions in a data-rich world."  Later on, the author continues "As LinkedIn data show, most of the migrants have created nontechnical career paths in Silicon Valley. The list starts with sales and marketing (14%) and goes on to include education (6%), consulting (5%), business development (5%) and a host of other specialties ranging from product management to real estate. Add up the jobs held by people who majored in psychology, history, gender studies and the like, and they quickly surpass the totals for engineering and computer science."

I'd like to think that my digital history class and the game design materials we're introducing to public history only helps open doors to these types of jobs.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Experience the power of a bookbook™

Civil War Panel Aug 1

Civil War panel discussion won’t just look back
at 154th Regiment’s reunion August 1 at SBU

Public invited to reunion events; tickets still available for dinner/concert

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., July 23, 2015 — The Civil War historians visiting St. Bonaventure University next week won’t simply be reflecting on a battle that ended 150 years ago.

They’ll discuss why the ripple effects of the nation’s darkest period still wash over us today.

The Confederate flag controversy that boiled to the surface in South Carolina after the church killings June 17 in Charleston is just one example.

“The Civil War is still very much with us today,” said Kristopher D. White, a co-founder of the blog Emerging Civil War and one of the historians who will be part of a panel discussion on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the 30th annual reunion of the Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Most of the men from the 154th were from Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

“People have strong opinions about some of these hot-button topics, but there really needs to be calm, rational discussion from all sides. We hope to offer some of that.”

The panel discussion will feature Civil War authors White, Eric Wittenberg, Derek Maxfield and Dan Davis, and be moderated by Dr. Chris Mackowski, professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure and a prolific Civil War author.

Wittenberg’s critically acclaimed works have focused on the plight of everyday cavalrymen of the Civil War, and have addressed nearly every major cavalry battle of the Civil War. His battlefield preservation work includes serving as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, and he is a member of the governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

The reunion will celebrate the donation to St. Bonaventure’s Friedsam Memorial Library of the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry. The collection includes documentary material as well as numerous prints, objects and artifacts related to the regiment.

Descendants of the 154th will gather from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The reunion activities beginning at 3:45 are open to the public and free, except for the closing barbecue and concert at 6 p.m., which is open to the public but costs $30 per person. Registration for the dinner/concert closes July 29 and can be made at

The first public event is the opening of the Quick Center for the Arts exhibition of  “The Hardtack Regiment: 154th New York Volunteer Infantry.” The exhibition is part of the collection of regimental artifacts from the collection of Dunkleman, author of several books about the men of the 154th regiment.

Among the cases of artifacts are letters written from the battlefield, carte de viste (small photos) of soldiers and items carried by the soldiers into battle. A to-scale mural of the regiment’s memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield is also in the exhibition. The exhibition will be open through Nov. 15.

A timeline of public events:

• 3:45-4:15 p.m.: The opening of the Quick Center exhibition of Civil War artifacts.
• 4:15-5:15 p.m.: Panel discussion with Civil War authors and historians (Quick Center).
• 5:15-6 p.m.: British scholar James Brooke’s “The Last and Most Precious Memento,” a look at portrait photography and the Union soldier (Quick Center).
• 5:15-6 p.m.: Browse the Quick Center exhibition and a second one in Friedsam Library, a short walk across campus. The Friedsam exhibition focuses on photographs and documents from Winey’s collection.
• 6 p.m.: Barbecue dinner under a tent on the lawn next to the Magnano Centre’s Café La Verna, followed by a musical performance by Rush the Growler. The band will perform its renditions of letters and poems written by members of the regiment, set to period music. Register at

For more information about reunion activities or to register, go On-campus accommodations are available for $50 per night and may be booked online as well.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things.  St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #3 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.