Greetings from the Richards Center! 


We are happy to share our October 2020 newsletter with you. We hope you enjoy it! 


Best regards, 


Matt Isham 

Managing Director 

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center 

Penn State

October 2020 Newsletter
Richards Center Happy Hour with Maryam Aziz

Dr. Maryam Aziz, Richards Center and Africana Research Center postdoctoral Fellow in African American history, will give the center's next happy hour talk. The talk will take place Thursday, October 22 at 5:00 p.m. Aziz will discuss her dissertation, “Built With our Empty Fists: The Rise and Circulation of Black Power Martial Arts,” which explores why community organizers practiced or depicted martial arts and unarmed self-defense during the Black Power Era. To register for this event, click this link
Shelden Publishes  Washington Post Article on History of the Supreme Court

The Washington Post recently published an article by Richards Center director Rachel Shelden on the history of partisanship and the Supreme Court. The article, titled "The Supreme Court used to be openly political. It traded partisanship for power." appeared in the print edition on the front page of the  Outlook section for the weekend of September 2627, following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Read the article online.
Cahill's Latest Book Highlights Hidden Histories of the Women's Suffrage Movement

Cathleen Cahill's second book,  Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Women's Suffrage Movement will be published in November by the University of North Carolina Press (see "Publications" below). Commemorating the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, the book tells the stories of six women of color who fought for the right to vote and for a more inclusive women's rights movement. 

In an interview with Richards Center managing director Matt Isham, Cahill discussed the diversity of the suffrage movement, its international scope, and its intimate connections to broader civil rights movements. "These women weren’t all necessarily searching for the same goals," she explained. "Hispanas in New Mexico were really concerned about Spanish language rights, religious freedom, and land rights. They wanted the vote to shore up their political power and protect those rights. Indigenous women wanted the vote to have a say in federal Indian policy, particularly to protect the sovereignty of their nations and ensure that treaties were upheld.” Linking these efforts to African American women's opposition to Jim Crow laws and Chinese American women's campaigns for immigration reform, Cahill recasts suffrage as an intrinsically multicultural movement that extended far beyond the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Watch Cahill's interview.

Richards Center Affiliated Faculty Take Part in Documentary on Democracy

In September, Richards Center affiliated faculty appeared in the WPSU-TV documentary,  Who Counts: The Complexities of Democracy in  America. Center director Rachel Shelden; Lori Ginzberg, professor of history and women's studies; and Cathleen Cahill, associate professor of history, joined other Penn State faculty to discuss the history of, and contemporary issues affecting, American democracy. Matthew Jordan, associate professor of media studies, produced the documentary for  HumIn Focus, an initiative of Penn State's Humanities Institute.

Davis Writes About Collective Action in Sports to Achieve Social Change

Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of history and African American studies, continues to write and talk about contemporary athletic activism and its historical antecedents. She published "No More Games: Understanding the Latest Wave of Athletic Activism" in the official blog of the Organization of American Historians (OAH). The article was part of a special feature, titled "History for Black Lives." She also penned an essay for  Bitch Media discussing how recent athletic protests have shown the power of collective action. Davis has recently appeared on the NPR programs  Code Switch On Point and  The Takeaway, as well as the CBC's Politics and Power.

Davis also was selected as the 2020 Virginia and Derrick Sherman Emerging Scholar for the nineteenth annual Sherman Lecture Series at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The public lecture has been postponed until spring 2021 due to COVID-19.
Jones Publishes in  Washington Post's  Made by History

Jonathan Jones, Richards Center postdoctoral Fellow in the Civil War Era, recently contributed an op-ed to  The Washington Post's Made by History blog.  Jones responded to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's recent demand that a Texas middle school teacher be fired for teaching the historical connections between slavery and Jim Crow and contemporary instances of police brutality.  Jones argued that teaching the history of white supremacy might be painful, but it is essential in creating a more just society.
Reed Addresses History of Public Health Crises Among Antebellum Native American Populations

Dr. Julie Reed, associate professor of history, recently penned a blog post for  The Journal of the Early Republic comparing the coronavirus pandemic to public health crises Native American communities faced in the antebellum South. Reed argues in the brief essay that this history shows that "public health crises within the United States and the policies enacted to manage those crises are inextricably linked to Native peoples." Read her essay, "'So as not to endanger the public health': Public Health in the Antebellum Native South."
Graduate Student News

Rick Daily, a doctoral candidate in history and African American studies, earned a highly selective predoctoral fellowship for the  202021 academic year in Penn State's Center for Humanities and Information. During his fellowship, he will continue researching his dissertation project, exploring the lived experience, incarceration, and networks of information and care developed during the Black Gay Cultural Renaissance of the mid- to late-twentieth century.

Doctoral candidate Heather Walser was selected as a  202021 dissertation Fellow in the Tracy and Ted McCourtney Institute's Center for Democratic DeliberationHer dissertation project, “Amnesty’s Origins: Federal Power, Peace, and the Public Good in the Long Civil War Era,” examines how Americans understood and used amnesty—or the pardon and oblivion of past acts granted by a government—to resolve conflict, negotiate the meaning of “public good,” and shape the development of the nation-state across the long nineteenth century.

Cecily Zander has become a contributor to Emerging Civil War, a blog featuring the writings of leading scholars in the field of Civil War Era studies. Zander is a doctoral candidate in history and expects to defend her dissertation in 2021. Learn more about Zander and her scholarship in Emerging Civil War's September newsletter.

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Women's Suffrage Movement will be published by UNC Press in November. The latest book by Richards Center faculty affiliate Dr. Cathleen Cahill,  Recasting the Vote is a collective biography of six women of color who fought for a more expansive suffrage and a more inclusive women's rights movement. Cahill's previous book,  Federal Fathers & Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869- 1933 (UNC Press, 2011), won the 2011 Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award and was a finalist for the Western History Association's 2012 David J. Weber-Clements Prize.
This publication is available in alternative media upon request. Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. U.Ed. LBS 21-180

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