News and Events

Students present at the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference

Three history majors, Michael Pelzer, Juli Burnett, and Paige Dustin, gave papers at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference, this year at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. They all did a fantastic job and received numerous compliments from other faculty members. Faculty members commented on the quality of their papers, and also how they all asked such challenging and insightful questions as audience members when they were watching other panels. Juli Burnett won a Best Paper prize. All of the students had the chance to deepen their understanding of how research is conducted and presented in the historical profession, and to hear the research of other talented undergraduates. It was a valuable experience and the department wants to especially thank the Provost's office for providing some of the funding for the trip down.

Dr. Rice 'On Tour' in Virginia

Dr. Jim Rice has been invited to deliver the Guy F. Goodfellow Memorial Lecture at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. The title of his lecture is "Tales from a Revolution: Bacon's Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America" and is scheduled for April 2. Dr. Rice will also be speaking and signing books at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia on March 21. On both occasions, Rice will be promoting his most recent book on Bacon's rebellion.

The College honors Doug and Evelyne Skopp

President John Ettling joined faculty, staff and students from across campus to dedicate re-dedicate the campus Holocaust memorial in honor of Doug and Evelyne Skopp. Professor Emeritus of History, Doug taught at the college for over thirty years. He was instrumental in founding the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance, and recently published a novel Shadows Walking that explores the subject of Nazi doctors. Evelyne served for many years in the Registrar's office. The dedication ceremony featured the unveiling of a new sculpture, Kristallnacht, by Jean-Jacques Duval.


The History Department Celebrates Scholarship

SUNY Plattsburgh’s history department celebrated eight books that its faculty had published since 2008. Five Years in History – A Celebration of Books was Thursday, Nov. 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The authors, as well as the books, were at the reception in the Winkel Sculpture Court, Myers Fine Arts Building. “Often, we have an event for each professor who publishes a book, but we decided to do something to honor all of them,” said Dr. Wendy Gordon, associate professor and chair of the history department. Gordon explained the exceptional productivity of the department by saying that it’s because many faculty are at the same level in their careers and are of the same generation of scholars. Additionally, Gordon says there is a departmental culture that supports faculty being active in their research. “As a department, we put an emphasis on being teacher-scholars,” Gordon said. “There is a connection between what we teach and what we’re doing research on. We are supposed to be creating knowledge as much as conveying knowledge.” The following is the list of books that the history department has seen published in the last five years:

“America’s Ocean Wilderness: A Cultural History of 20th-Century Exploration” by Dr. Gary Kroll, printed by University Press of Kansas in 2008.

“Housework and Housewives in Modern American Advertising: Married to the Mop” by Dr. Jessamyn Neuhaus, printed by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011.

“Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson” by Dr. James D. Rice, printed by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009.

“Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America” by Dr. James D. Rice, printed by Oxford University Press in 2012 (a History Book Club Alternate Selection).

“Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States” by Dr. Mark Paul Richard, printed by Michigan State University Press in 2008.

“The Chinese Medical Ministries of Kang Cheng and Shi Meiyu” by Dr. Connie Shemo, printed by Lehigh University Press in 2011.

“Competing Kingdoms: Women, Mission, Nation, and the American Protestant Empire, 1812-1960” by Dr. Connie Shemo, printed by Duke University Press, 2010.

In addition to these books, Dr. Douglas R. Skopp, professor emeritus and college historian, published “Shadows Walking: A Novel,” a work of historical fiction, printed in 2010. Also, Neuhaus’ first book, “Many Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America,” was released in paperback in 2012.

(Story by Amy Heggen)


The History Association visits the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake

Photo of History Association members sitting in a giant Adirondack chairOn October 13, 2012, members of the History Association braved the cold to set out for a trip to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, deep within the heart of the Adirondack Park. It was a beautiful day to admire the wonders of the Adirondacks, while playing a never-ending game of 20 questions. (No it still isn’t Salvador Dolly or Otto Von Bismarck.)

Once the group arrived at the museum, they were amazed at how large the museum was. Others were more amazed at the price of admission while others were glad to live in the middle of nowhere because they had free admission for living in the park. Everyone was excited by particular exhibits. Some wanted to see the boats, others wanted to see the horses in the transportation section. Then there was the odd man out who wanted to see the exhibits on logging. There was however collective enthusiasm for playing on the playground, going to the children's exhibits, and of course sitting on the deck overlooking the lake because that is what cool college students do. Needless to say all those that went enjoyed themselves, and they were able to get in touch with their inner child again. Everyone would agree that it was an experience of a lifetime that everyone should have at some point. (From Garrett Smith, HA President)


New and old faces return to Champlain Valley Hall

The department welcomes Dr. Ryan Alexander as our new Assistant Professor in Latin American History. Dr. Alexander completed his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, specializing in modern Mexico. Look for some great classes from him! Dr. Chris Davies (SUNY Plattsburgh class of ’03) has also joined us on a part-time basis, to teach US History. We are also welcoming Dr. Mark Richard back from his recent sabbatical and fully into the History Department after years of joint responsibilities between Canadian Studies and History. Finally, Dr. James Rice has returned from a semester working in Germany, with a brand-new monograph under his belt.

Along with the new personnel there have been some changes to the physical layout of the Department. After having only half-time office coverage for two years, we have returned to having someone full-time in the History office. Nicole Jarvis is now the secretary for History, Philosophy, and Modern Languages and Cultures (formerly Foreign Languages and Literature). To improve access for students and faculty in all three departments, the department office has been moved one floor up, to CVH 321. Some History faculty have also moved their locations recently – please consult the blue directories by each door to locate the person you need!

Professor Neuhaus Takes her Students to the Prom

"Helping students look at something they’ve taken for granted in a new way — that’s what Associate Professor of History Jessamyn Neuhaus said her prom class is all about. Neuhaus, who teaches a section on the prom in her U.S. Youth History class, wanted to teach an honors seminar and chose the prom because she knew that it is a personal and cultural experience that can be analyzed from an interdisciplinary angle. Throughout the semester, students analyzed the historical, social, cultural and political aspects of the prom by reading various articles about past proms, watching movies with plots centered on the prom, discussing their own prom experiences and even taking field trips. Read more.


Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

For more information about the history program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Wendy Gordon, Chair
Office: Champlain Valley Hall 220
Phone: (518) 564-2213
Fax: (518) 564-2212