Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 416
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528

Department Honor Roll

Department Honor Roll

January 2019
Professor Getnet Bekele's book  Ploughing New Ground: Food, Farming, and Environmental Change in Ethiopia (Woodbridge UK: James Currey, 2017) was awarded the African Studies Association's 2018 Bethwell A. Ogot Prize for best book in East African Studies.
September 2018
Professor Dan Clark published his second book,  Disruption in Detroit: Autoworkers and the Elusive Postwar Boom (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2018).
March 2018
Professor Derek Hastings published his second book,  Nationalism in Modern Europe: Politics, Identity, and Belonging Since the French Revolution (London: Bloomsbury, 2018).
September 2017
Professor Yan Li published her first book, China's Soviet Dream: Propaganda, Culture, and Popular Imagination (New York: Routledge, 2017).
August 2017
Professor Getnet Bekele published his first book, Ploughing New Ground: Food, Farming, and Environmental Change in Ethiopia (Woodbridge UK: James Currey, 2017).
Summer 2017
Department members Don Matthews, Erin Dwyer, Craig Martin, and Karen Miller were each awarded $10,000 summer research fellowships from the University Research Committee.
April 2017
OU history students Quinn Malecki and Brian Quinn won "Best Paper" awards in their categories at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference at Andrews University.
April 2017
Professor Craig Martin was the recipient of the Research Excellence Award, a distinction given annually to just one faculty member from all across the university.
April 2017
Professor Dan Clark was honored at the annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon for his record of service to the department, the university, and the profession.
March 2017
OU history student Brian Quinn won the university-wide Frank Lepkowski Undergraduate Research in Writing Award for his paper on Nazi colonization policies in Poland during the Second World War.  This is the second consecutive year that a student from the history department has received this distinction.
December 2016
Professor emerita Mary Karasch published the book Before Brasilia: Frontier Life in Central Brazil (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016).
October 2016
Professor Liz Shesko was the recipient of the Marian P. Wilson Award, awarded annually by the College of Arts and Sciences, for her article "Mobilizing Manpower for War: Toward a New History of Bolivia's Chaco Conflict, 1932-1935," Hispanic American Historical Review 95:2 (May 2015): 299-334.
September 2016
OU history alumna Sarah Black won first place in the national Phi Alpha Theta "Best Paper" competition (the same essay also won the "Best Paper" award at the regional PAT conference the previous April).  Sarah begins graduate school at the University of Massachusetts in Boston this fall, where she will also serve as editorial assistant of the academic journal New England Quarterly.
August 2016
Professor James Naus published his first book, Constructing Kingship: The Capetian Monarchs of France and the Early Crusades (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016).
Summer 2016
Department faculty members Yan Li, James Naus, and Derek Hastings were each awarded $10,000 summer research fellowships from the University Research Committee.
April 2016
The OU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta hosted the annual regional PAT conference, with participants from universities throughout the state of Michigan attending.  OU students Kathryn Austin, Sarah Black, and Ashley Montgomery won "Best Paper" awards in their respective categories.
March 2016
OU history student Sarah Black won the university-wide Frank Lepkowski Undergraduate Research in Writing Award for her paper "An Overlooked Facet of Feminism: Hippie Women of the Sixties Counterculture."
Fall 2015
Professor Todd Estes was reappointed to another three-year term as Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.

Summer 2015
Department members Liz Shesko, Erin Dwyer, and Todd Estes were each awarded $10,000 summer research fellowships from the University Research Committee.
May 2015
Professor Todd Estes delivered the Lance Banning Memorial Lecture at the University of Kentucky.  He was also interviewed about the work of Banning, his mentor, by the local NPR affiliate WUKY.
May 2015
History graduate student Katie Chaka was awarded a Provost graduate fellowship in support of her M.A. thesis on the responses of German Catholic women to Nazi eugenics programs.  The fellowship will enable her to spend several weeks this summer in Munich conducting archival research.
May 2015
Jane Dixon, a graduating history major and member of Phi Alpha Theta, was selected to deliver the student address at this year's commencement ceremony.
May 2015
Professor Sean Moran was named the new director of OU's M.A. in Liberal Studies program.
March 2015
OU history students Kari Cadwell, Nick DiPucchio, and Chris Mosier won "Best Paper" awards in their categories at the regional conference of Phi Alpha Theta, which was hosted this year by Ferris State University.  Additionally, Adam Derington received honorable mention for his paper.
March 2015
Professor George Milne's first book, Natchez Country: Indians, Colonists, and the Landscapes of Race in French Louisiana, was published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback by the University of Georgia Press.
December 2014
Professor Todd Estes edited and wrote the introduction for the book Founding Visions: The Ideas, Intersections, and Individuals that Created America, a collection of works by the late Lance Banning, which was published by the University Press of Kentucky.
November 2014
Professor Sean Moran organized and delivered the plenary address at this year's Midwest Regional Conference of the American Conference for Irish Studies, which was held at Meadow Brook Hall.
September 2014
Professor Don Matthews was a guest on the radio show "Detroit Today," produced by local NPR affiliate WDET, discussing the U.S. response to the current crisis in Iraq and Syria.

Summer 2014
History M.A. student Jeff DeMoss was awarded a Provost graduate fellowship to fund research trips to archives in Berlin and Los Angeles for his M.A. thesis on the German filmmaker Fritz Lang.

Spring 2014
The department's specialist in Renaissance Europe and the History of Science, Craig Martin, was awarded a prestigious Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will enable him to spend the 2014-2015 academic year in residence in Washington DC working on his next book project, Global Science Before Global Networks: The Background and Aftermath of Francis Bacon's History of Winds.

March 2014
History undergraduates Katie Chaka and Robert Toney won exceptional paper awards at the regional conference of Phi Alpha Theta, which was hosted this year by Hope College.

March 2014
Professor Craig Martin's second book, Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

November 2013
The University Research Committee announced that Professors James Naus, Craig Martin, and Sean Moran were each awarded $10,000 research fellowships for the upcoming summer of 2014.

October 2013
Jennifer Laam, who completed her M.A. in the department in 2009, published her debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, with St. Martin's Press.  The novel offers an alternative history of the Romanov family and has received significant publicity and critical acclaim.

April 2013
Professor Karen Miller was honored at the annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon for her outstanding service as chair of the Department of History and president of the OU chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

February 2013
Professor De Witt Dykes, Jr. was interviewed on the Jo Ann Watson Television Show (WHPR Channel 33).

November 2012
Robert Conner, a senior majoring in history, was named the winner of the university's 2012 Meritorious Achievement Award. This distinction brings with it official recognition at the December 2012 commencement ceremony, before which Conner also has been chosen to speak, as well as a monetary award. A previous winner of the department's George Matthews Award, Conner recently published an article entitled "Adams and Jefferson: Personal Politics in the Early Republic," Oakland Journal 22 (Winter 2012): 80-99, which originated as a HST 300 paper written under the direction of Professor Todd Estes.

November 2012
The University Research Committee announced that the department's most recent faculty member, Yan Li, was awarded a $10,000 research fellowship for the upcoming summer of 2013.

October 2012
History M.A. alumna Merry Ellen Scofield, who is currently a Ph.D. student in U.S. History at Wayne State University, published "Yea or Nay to Removing the Seat of Government: Dolley Madison and the Realities of 1814 Politics," The Historian 74:3 (Fall 2012): 449-466.

October 2012
Professor Dan Clark was honored by the OU College of Arts and Sciences with this year's Faculty Engagement Award for his service to the department and the wider university community.

October 2012
OU history alumni Brandon Lee, Jonathan Fouch and Adam Hobart were featured in the local news media for their work with  Excellence for Detroit, a nonprofit organization they founded in 2011. Utilizing several volunteers with ties to OU's Department of History, the organization offers a rigorous 12-week mentoring program aimed at equipping students from Detroit with the skills and knowledge necessary to make a successful transition from high school to college.

November 2011
Distinguished Professor Ron Finucane's final book, Contested Canonizations: The Last Medieval Saints, 1482-1523, was published posthumously by the Catholic University of America Press. Professor Finucane recently had finished the book manuscript at the time of his death in September 2009. The department continues to be extremely proud of Finucane's scholarly accomplishments and invaluable contributions to the intellectual life of the university.

October 2011
For the second year in a row, a research paper written by OU history student Adam Hobart was awarded the Nels Andrew Cleven prize. This is the second-highest award given by Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, to students from all PAT chapters at universities across the country. The title of Hobart's paper was "The Scarlet Letter and the Cross: The Red Scare Smear Campaign against Reverend Charles A. Hill." Hobart graduated from OU in the spring of 2011 and is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska.

September 2011
Professor Craig Martin's first book, Renaissance Meteorology: Pomponazzi to Descartes, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

September 2011
The Oakland University chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, was given the "Best Chapter" award, a distinction granted to just one of all chapters at universities of Oakland's size across the United States. Congratulations to Professor Dan Clark, the Phi Alpha Theta faculty adviser, and to all of the student participants. For the OU news release, see here.

May 2011
Professor Craig Martin, the department's specialist on Renaissance Europe and the history of science, was awarded the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious fellowships offered to scholars in the humanities. The prize is awarded annually by the American Academy in Rome to approximately 30 distinguished scholars and artists from across the United States, who are invited by the academy to spend between six months and two years in Rome. Professor Martin will use his time in Rome to work on his next book project, Renaissance Italian Thought and the Religious Rejection of Aristotle.

April 2011
Ann Marie Wambeke was selected as the winner of the Oakland University Outstanding Thesis Award. Her M.A. thesis, entitled "Faculty Confrontation and Consensus: The University of Michigan Teach-In and Its Aftermath," was completed under the direction of Professor Dan Clark in 2010. The award is given to only one graduate student from the entire university each year, and this marks the second time in the past three years that an M.A. student from the Department of History has won the award. Wambeke currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in history at Wayne State University.

March 2011
This New Investigator Research Excellence Award, given annually by Oakland University to one junior faculty member from all disciplines who has demonstrated superior achievement in research, was awarded to Craig Martin. Professor Martin has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in leading scholarly journals, and his first book, Renaissance Meteorology from Pomponazzi to Descartes, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

October 2010
OU history alumnus Steve Lehto's latest book, Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation, was published by Chicago Review Press and received a significant amount of media attention and praise. The foreword to the book was written by NBC late-night television host (and noted car enthusiast) Jay Leno.

October 2010
OU history student Adam Hobart was awarded the Nels Andrew Cleven Prize for his paper, "War of Words: The Road to Landrum-Griffin." The Cleven Prize, named for the founder of Phi Alpha Theta, is awarded annually to two undergraduate students from across the country and is a mark of great distinction. Hobart's paper began as a research project in Professor Dan Clark's HST 300 seminar at OU and also won a Best Paper award at the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference in March 2010.

Summer 2010
Professors Luke Harlow and George Milne were each awarded Oakland University Faculty Research Fellowships for the summer of 2010. These fellowships, which are open to all OU faculty on a competitive basis, enabled them to conduct important archival research for their book projects.

January 2010
Professor Derek Hastings' book, Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism, was published by Oxford University Press.

November 2009
Professor De Witt Dykes Jr. was presented with the 2009 Margaret McCall Thomas Ward History Maker Award by the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society in a luncheon reception held at the Detroit Public Library.

October 2009
Professor Todd Estes was selected to deliver the annual President's Colloquium Lecture to the Oakland University community. He was the fifth member of the Department of History to be given this prestigious award, joining colleagues Sara Chapman, Sean Moran and Linda Benson as past presenters.

July 2009
Professor Linda Benson was interviewed on NPR's national "Morning Edition" show by host Renee Montagne regarding the upheaval in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China. Interviews with Prof. Benson also were featured in separate radio broadcasts by WHYY (NPR affiliate in Philadelphia), WILL (NPR affiliate in Champaign-Urbana) and KALW (San Francisco).

Summer 2009
Professor Derek Hastings was awarded an Oakland University Faculty Research Fellowship for the summer of 2010. The award enabled him to spend two months in Munich conducting research for his book, tentatively titled Paradoxical Paragon: Ernst Röhm and the Contradictions of Nazi Masculinity.

Spring 2009
OU history M.A. student Jennifer Laam won the Outstanding Thesis Award for Graduate Students at Oakland. The award is made to only one OU graduate student from all disciplines each year. Laam wrote her M.A. thesis, entitled "Flirting With Power: Women and Political Identity in the Early Republic," under the direction of Professor Todd Estes.

March 2009
Professor Todd Estes was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians (OAH). At the time, this three-year appointment (2009-2012) had placed Estes in the distinguished company of only 350 or so historians who have been named OAH Distinguished Lecturers since the program began in 1981.

Fall 2008
Professor Craig Martin was awarded a prestigious Dibner Fellowship to spend the 2008-2009 academic year at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., continuing work on his book manuscript on Renaissance meteorology.

May 2008
Professor Todd Estes' book, The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006) was featured as the centerpiece of a scholarly roundtable by the online forum H-Diplo.

May 2008
OU history alumna Jan Bulman's first book, The Court Book of Mende and the Secular Lordship of the Bishop: Recollecting the Past in Thirteenth Century Gevaudan, was published by the University of Toronto Press. After completing her B.A. degree at Oakland, she received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in medieval history from Michigan State University and is associate professor of history at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala.

April 2008
Professor Linda Benson published her fifth book, Across China's Gobi: The Lives of Evangeline French, Mildred Cable, and Francesca French of the China Inland Mission (Norwalk, Conn.: EastBridge, 2008).

March 2008
Professor Emeritus Roy Kotynek and OU history alumnus John Cohassey co-authored the book American Cultural Rebels (published by MacFarlane), which examines the evolution of avant-garde artists, writers and musicians from the 1850s through the 1960s.

May 2007
Professor Emeritus Roy Kotynek and OU history alumnus John Cohassey served as consultants for the History Channel documentary Hippies, which premiered on May 13, 2007.

Spring 2007
Professor Ron Finucane was named a Distinguished Professor by Oakland University. He was only the 13th member of the university faculty to receive such an honor. It was awarded in acknowledgement of his publication of numerous works on medieval history, his commitment to teaching research skills to both undergraduates and graduate students, and his service to university governance.

Spring 2007
Professor Mary Karasch was elected to the Instituto Historico e Geografico Brasileiro (Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute) of Rio de Janeiro, the premier historical association in Brazil.

October 2006
Professor Don Matthews published his first book, Confronting an Empire, Constructing a Nation: Arab Nationalists and Popular Politics in Mandate Palestine (London: I.B. Taurus, 2006).

September 2006
OU history alumna Merry Ellen Scofield published the article "The Fatigues of His Table: The Politics of Presidential Dining During the Jefferson Administration," Journal of the Early Republic 26:3 (Fall 2006): 449-469. The article grew out of her M.A. thesis, which was written under the direction of Professors Todd Estes and Roy Kotynek.

April 2006
Professor Carl Osthaus' article "The Work Ethic of the Plain Folk: Labor and Religion in the Old South," originally published in the Journal of Southern History in 2004, was chosen by the Organization of American Historians as one of the top U.S. history articles and reprinted in The Best American History Essays, 2006 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

January 2006
Professor Todd Estes' book The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture was published by the University of Massachusetts Press.

History of Departmental Awards

The Department of History has a well-established track record of success in winning the most coveted prizes awarded by Oakland University.

University Distinguished Professor
2007 Ronald Finucane

Research Excellence Award
2007 Linda Benson
1998 Ronald Finucane
1992 Richard Tucker
1985 Charles Akers

Teaching Excellence Award
2001 Todd Estes
1991 Anne Tripp
1989 Carl Osthaus

New Investigator Research Excellence Award
2011 Craig Martin
2008 Matthew Sutton
1996 Geoffrey Wawro

President's Colloquium Award
2009 Todd Estes
2006 Sara Chapman
2003 Sean Moran
2001 Linda Benson
1999 Geoffrey Wawro

Outstanding Thesis Award for Graduate Students
2010 Ann Marie Wambeke
2008 Jennifer Laam