Twice a year, on Study Day, the history department faculty gathers for a luncheon book discussion on a topic of mutual interest. Our May 14th discussion focused on Sayo Masuda's Autobiography of a Geisha. It is the personal account of a woman who was indentured to a family to serve as a nursemaid at 6 years of age and then sold to a geisha house at age 12 where she was eventually forced into the sex trade in 1940. Her memoir reveals much about the the lives of others like her who suffered grinding poverty in wartime imperial Japan with limited means of survival and who eventually died of sexually contracted diseases or, if they were lucky, found protection as the mistress of a powerful man in their town. This is part of the history of World War II that we often do not find in our college textbooks. In Fall 2012 we will be reading and discussing Mustafa Aksakal's The Ottoman Road to War in 1914: The Ottoman Empire and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Earlier this year Dr. Kameya presented a paper "Eccentrics, Empire, and National Identity: the Canonization of Kinsei kijinden (Eccentrics of our times)" in Toronto at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting. The paper demonstrates how the publication of eccentric biography collection Kinsei kijinden in modern times was closely linked to the study of Japanese language and heritage, rather than to eccentricity per se. She concludes that eccentric biographies from the earliest days of the Japanese Empire were closely tied to discussions of national identity.
Dr. Karatas recently submitted an article to be published this summer, entitled, "The Ottomanization of Khalwatiya: A Political History Revisited." The article mainly discusses the incorporation of a Muslim mystical order named Khalwatiya to the Ottoman enterprise in the fifteenth century. It challenges the assumption that the incorporation process was a smooth one and devoid of conflicts. Besides underlining the tensions and negotiations within the order during the incorporation process, he revisits some of the common assumptions about the politics and religion in the fifteenth century Anatolia."
Dr. Anne Klejment recently learned that her article on Thea Bowman, FSPA, was published by Salem Press in Great Lives from History series. Bowman was an African-American Franciscan nun noted for her prophetic message and her empowerment of African-American Catholics. Sister Thea's community is examining evidence of her sanctity to consider the possiblility of presenting her cause for canonization to the Vatican.
Dr. Klejment is also the author of "Dorothy Day and Cesar Chavez: American Catholic LIves in Nonviolence," published in the summer 2011 issue of US Catholic Historian 29 (3):67-90. The article discusses the shared social and religious characteristics that resulted in their dedication to working for social justice. She is now awaiting the publication of two encyclopedia articles. One focuses on Vietnamese American writer and humanitarian Ly Le Hayslip, the other on Hmong American politiican and activist Mee Moua. Her current research is "From Union Square to Heaven," a study of the Christian anarchism of the New York Catholic Worker movement in the thirties and forties.
Dr. Tom Mega and Maggie Whitacre (History major) continue to work on a public history project involving the Gainey Center. They are currently finishing up an examination of the ownership of the property from 1851 to the present. The next step will be to gather information needed to develop an historical interpretation of the Gainey residence.
Dr. Mega is also conducting research into the last colonial legislature in Pennsylvania. The completed project will explore the ways the Assembly tried to maintain its legitimacy in the wake of crumbling British power in late 1775 and the first seven months of 1776.
Dr. Ivancica Schrunk is the co-author of a book chapter, "The Brioni Archipelago: Functional Identity of a Historical Landscape," published in the book, Landscapes, Identities and Development, ed. Z. Roca, P. Claval and J. Agnew (Ashgate,2011). She also is the author of one and co-author of another entry in the Encyclopedia of Ancient History, ed. Bagnall et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). Her article, "Spiritual Economy and Spiritual Craft: Monastic Pottery Production and Trade," is published online on the website of Minnesota in Egypt, ed. S. McNally.
Dr. Scott Wright has been writingseveral essays for the Great Lives From History series published by Salem Press. His most recent essays focus on the following historical figures: boxer Max Baer and Rabbi Harold Kushner (for the Jewish Americans volume); explorer James Beckwourth, boxer Floyd Patterson and black abolitionist David Walker (for the African Americans volume); boxer Art Aragon and politicians Dennis Chavez and Edward Roybal (for the Latinos volume). He is also in the process of completing an essay on Japanese American rights activist Fred Korematsu for the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders volume of the Great Lives From History series.