Department Highlights

Professor R. Douglas Hurt published “Documents of the Dust Bowl” with ABC-Clio.

Professor Melinda Zook received the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion Award from the Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in research, teaching, service, and administration, especially on behalf of women at Purdue. Professor Zook also discussed the runaway success of a Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts certificate program for students studying outside the liberal arts. The 15-credit-hour certificate is based on engagement with transformative texts and advanced humanities study:

Following the publication of the Mueller Report, Professor Kathryn Cramer Brownell wrote a piece for the Washington Post rooted in her new research on Nixon, Clinton, and the media politics that have shaped political investigations over the past forty years:

Purdue University has had a record year for Fulbright Awards, and the department has played a significant part with Professor Stacy Holden completing a Flex Grant in Morocco and Professor Wendy Kline leaving for a Distinguished Chair Award at the University of Birmingham in England in the fall:

Robert May, Professor Emeritus,
will soon publish a new book: Yuletide in Dixie: Slavery, Christmas, and Southern Memory :

Professor Frederick R. Davis
was appointed Head of the Department of History.

Professor Yvonne Pitts has been named a recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. The University's highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Murphy Award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award and induction into Purdue's Teaching Academy, which provides leadership for the improvement of undergraduate, graduate and outreach teaching. Murphy was a history professor at Purdue from 1927 to 1970. For more on the award and Professor Pitts, see:

Related to the mass shooting in New Zealand, Professor David Atkinson has provided historical context and analysis in op eds for the New Republic and the Washington Post: and

Professor Tithi Bhattacharya has co-published "Feminism for the 99%" with Verso Press. A testament to the broad interest in this work is that it has been translated into a remarkable ten languages.

Professor Kathryn Cramer Brownell
has been awarded a University Faculty Scholar Award for her achievements in scholarship, teaching, and engagement. The award includes a research allocation of $10,000 per year for five years. She has also received the 2019 Faculty Engagement Scholar Award from the Office of Engagement, “awarded to an assistant or associate professor with an outstanding record of early achievement in, and strong indication of future contribution to, the Scholarship of Engagement.”

Professor Cole Jones
received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship from the Virginia Historical Society to support research for his book project, "Patrick Henry's War: The Struggle for Empire in the Revolutionary West."

Professor Melinda Zook
has been invited to speak on the Cornerstone Liberal Arts Program by "Inside Higher Ed," which has started holding a series of events called the Leadership Series, at a gathering of 150-175 academic leaders on key topics for a day in Washington at Gallup Headquarters. The event is April 17 on the topic "The Future of General Education."

Professor Mary Mitchell has been awarded a fellowship at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University (Spring 2020). The theme for the academic year will focus on the topic of “Law & Legalities.”

Professor Wendy Kline has been awarded the Fulbright-University of Birmingham Distinguished Chair (England) for 6 months in 2019-20. Her project is titled the “‘LSD Block’ and the Therapeutic Alliance: The Rise and Fall of Psychedelic Medicine in the U.K.” The Fulbright University of Birmingham Distinguished Chair enables a prominent U.S. professor in any discipline to be based at the University of Birmingham, with access to all the University’s research collections, and provides an opportunity to undertake research and build links in the UK. The Distinguished Chair contributes to the intellectual life of the host university through seminars, public lectures and curriculum development.

Professor Kathryn Cramer Brownell published on the history of the State of the Union in the Sunday Outlook Section in the Washington Post (on the front page of the Sunday print section on January 27):

Professor Melinda Zook was quoted extensively in “By Any Other Name,” in Inside Higher Ed regarding the role of Liberal Arts in a STEM University and Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts Program:

Professor Michael Smith discussed the significance of the Apollo 8 mission upon its 50th anniversary, with The Times of Northwest Indiana. The story ran across the country, including in the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, and Sacramento Bee:

Professor Tithi Bhattacharya, Director, Global Studies Program, received an Innovate Award from the College of Liberal Arts: “Global Scholars Program for Undergraduate Research.”

Professor Frederick Davis (with Chris Yeomans in Philosophy) received an Innovate Award from CLA: “History and Philosophy of Science in the College of Liberal Arts.”

Professor Rebekah Klein-Pejsova has been selected for appointment as a fellow in the Faculty Development Center for Humanistic Studies for the Spring 2020 semester.

Professor Silvia Mitchell received a 2018-19 Library Scholars Grant for her research trip to the Archivo del Palacio Uceda in Madrid.

Professor Kim Gallon received a 2018-19 Library Scholars Grant for her research trip to the University of Ghana.

"Charles Halleck, County Prosecutor in the Shadows of the Depression," an article by Professor William White, was published in the Indiana Magazine of History, December 2018, Vol. 114, No. 4.

Professor Katie Brownell published an op ed for Made by History in the online version of the Washington Post: 

Professor Wendy Kline published an op ed (as part of the Made By History series) in the online version of the Washington Post: 

Professor Silvia Mitchell served as guest editor of the December 2018 issue of the The Court Historian - The International Journal of Court Studies. The special issue topic is "The Spanish Habsburg Court during the Reign of Carlos II (1665-1700)." Professor Mitchell also wrote the Introduction to the issue and one of the articles: “Women and Children First: Court Ceremonial during Carlos II’s Minority, 1665-1675.”

The latest book by Dr. Wendy Kline, Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine, has just been published by Oxford University Press: "Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth." Additional information about this important new study is available on the Oxford website: 

Professor Kathryn Cramer Brownell's course on the American Presidency appeared on C-SPAN on December 15. The program is available at this link:

Dr. Ariel de la Fuente's new book has been published: “Borges, Desire, and Sex.” For more on the book (and others in this important series in Latin American Studies), see:

Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell published a timely analysis of the midterm election:

Professor Sharra Vostral's new book, “Toxic Shock: A Social History,” was published by New York University Press in the Biopolitics Series.

Dr. Wendy Kline, Professor of History and the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine, has published an article to accompany the recent PBS documentary: "The Eugenics Crusade" (American Experience), in which she is also featured:

Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell moderated the Sears Lecture on "Women in the White House and Beyond" on October 18, featuring Mrs. Laura W.  Bush, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Jenna Bush Hager.

Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell had three major interviews air recently:
Washington Post Magazine:  
C-SPAN interview (on Nixon and the media). The interview occurred in April at the OAH and aired in September:

Dr. Randy Roberts, 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished Professor of History, appears in a new documentary: "By Grantland Rice" (ESPN). Here is a clip from the documentary that features his insightful comments:

Dr. Wendy Kline is featured in a 2-hour documentary on PBS (American Experience series), “The Eugenics Crusade,” which aired October 16:

Dr. Sharra Vostral was interviewed by CNN for the recent article "Employer's paid period leave policy in Australia stirs world debate."

Dr. David Atkinson was featured in a profile in the "Shanghai Review of Books" and "The Paper." The article includes a painting of the department’s Director of Graduate Education! See below for the article (in the original Chinese and Google Translate).

Dr. Melinda Zook, Professor of History and Director of the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program, received the Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award.

Dr. Wendy Kline was interviewed on National Public Radio (“To the Best of Our Knowledge”) regarding her forthcoming book: “Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth” (Oxford University Press): The interview aired on WBAA and 220 NPR stations. A podcast is available at:

Dr. Melinda Zook published "Generations of Women Historians: Within and Beyond the Academy" (Palgrave, 2018), eds., Melinda Zook and Hilda Smith. Dr. Whitney Walton wrote a chapter in it, “Arvède Barine: History, Modernity, and Feminism,” and so did Dr. Zook: “C.V. Wedgwood: The Historian and the World.”

Dr. Cole Jones published "'Elated with Victory, and Reeking with Revenge': The Yorktown Prisoners and the Laws of War in Revolutionary America," in Glenn A. Moots and Philip Hamilton, eds., Justifying Revolution: Law, Virtue, and Violence in the American War of Independence (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2018).

Dr. Randy Roberts contributed to a program on Muhammad Ali on one of the leading French radio shows that deals with culture on a large scale.  It was a 10-hour program.  See the link below.  Efforts are underway to have this biography published in French.

Dr. Wendy Kline was in OAH in Sacramento.  She was interviewed by C-SPAN about her research and about teaching the history of medicine at Purdue.

Dr. Wendy Kline's latest piece for Made By History in the Washington Post:

Dr. Stacy Holden has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research  in Morocco during the spring semester of 2019.  This is terrific recognition of her work and standing in the field.

Dr. Kathryn Brownell's latest for Made By History in the Washington Post

Dr. Wendy Kline has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times.  See​ 

Professor Margaret Mih Tillman
 received a good write up for her presentation at the Modern China Workshop at the Hoover Institution and Sanford University.  Please see the link.

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