Thursday, March 28, 2019

History 206: Introduction to Public History

MWF 11:30 to 12:20 -- Dr. Phillip Payne
Like the Civil War?  Like to get your hands dirty?  Thinking about a career in museums, archives, or an education-related field?  History 206 is the class for you!

What is public history?  It’s history all around us.  It’s about how people create, experience, and use history.  It’s on the web, in museums, in archives, in parks and all sort of places.

How will we do it?  Students in the Public History class actively create.  You will convert research into games, among other things.  Along the way, students learn:

  • Original Research
  • Presentation for the public
  • Gamification
  • Design Principles   

Thursday, March 21, 2019

What is the American Story? Dr. Andrew Roth to Speak on the American Story

April 3, 4 p.m.  Walsh Auditorium, St. Bonaventure University

Dr. Andrew Roth, past-interim president of St. Bonaventure University, former president of Notre Dame College, and currently a scholar in residence at the Jefferson Educational Society, will speak on “The American Story:  What Binds us Together as Americans.”  Dr. Roth will explore the current divisions found in today’s political culture wars and the role of the American story in creating a common ground as citizens.

As recent elections have shown, the United States is a deeply divided nation.  Some speculate we might be on the verge of a second civil war, that we are more divided now than at any other time since the 1860s.  Others speculate we are in a cultural civil war, that red and blue America are irreconcilably divided. If true, how did this cultural war begin and what are its lines of discord?

In a nation with an electorate deeply polarized along partisan political lines and cultural/tribal lines, is there an American story that we can agree upon?  Is there an understanding of the American experience that provides a common ground for civil life?  Does such a story continue to exist?  Did it ever exist?  Or as, Dr. Roth asks, “Is there more than one ‘American Story’? Is it possible that the ‘American Story’ is actually a tapestry composed of many threads with 2-3 dominant motifs”?

Roth believes that America, founded on several essential beliefs, is actually an existential nation in a perpetual state of becoming as, even now in 2019, Americans seek to answer Hector St. John Crevecouer’s more than 200-year-old question “What then is the American, this new person (sic)”?

Explore this fascinating topic with Dr. Roth at St. Bonaventure University.  All are welcome.  Refreshments will be served.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Roth will meet with students in Dr. Payne’s History 417:  Culture Wars:   The Politics of Memory to present “1968:  The Far Side of the Moon and the Birth of the Culture Wars,” his research and interest in the intersection between generational politics, culture wars, and historical narrative.

Sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of History, St. Bonaventure University.  For more information, contact Dr. Phillip Payne, Department of History at

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Family History and the Changing Ways We Do History

Collin Charles's grandfather's military service record.

One of the cool things about history is that everything has a history (check out #everythinghasahistory)  This spring semester, Professor Chris Dalton is combining the new and the old in the senior seminar.  The theme is family history, which is not new, but the techniques the students are using are pretty new.  In addition to old fashion history work, students used tools like,,, and Google books.  The class also looked at the role genetics plays in how we understand our history.

Joe Giglio explored connections to Captain Ahab (maybe).

Professor Dalton wanted students to think about how genetics defines relationships over time.  He notes that:

Statistically, all people of European descent share a common European ancestor only 600 years ago.
Similarly, all people of European descent share all of each other’s European ancestors just 1,000 years ago.
Additionally, all people alive today  share a common ancestor 3,400 years ago.1

Of course, all of this led the students to explore more about their families leading to some interesting finds.

Rachel Collins did a family tree as part of her project.

Mason Kelley discovered some information on the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

1Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment: New York, 2017), 160-161, 164, 177.