Letter from the Chair, Spring, 2015

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on
Lynn Thomas

Dear Friends,

Spring is upon us here on campus, and, in this season of renewal, I'd like to share with you some updates from the department.

As historians, we strive to bring the past to life, and to place current events in historical perspective. As I look over the articles in this newsletter, I am reminded of how we share this vocation with our students, continually engaging and inspiring one another. Students in this winter's course on the Military History of the Ancient World embraced the challenge of developing short historical films. The films they produced demonstrate their tremendous intelligence, creativity, and technological savvy. I encourage you to check out their work.

In the spirit of promoting social justice for all Americans, Department of History faculty participated in and helped to organize the Ferguson Teach-In. This well-attended event exemplified the kind of meaningful dialogue between teachers and students that we prize so dearly.

Sadly, this spring also saw the passing of one of the department's most beloved teachers, Professor Emeritus Jon Bridgman. Jon's career, above all, was defined by his extraordinary ability to convey the pleasure and importance of studying the past to multiple generations of UW students. For many, he instilled a lifelong passion for history. Moving forward, we will strive to live up to the distinguished example that he set.

In our pursuit of that goal, I'm pleased to announce that three new faculty members will soon be joining us. Josh Reid has accepted a position as associate professor of Native American history of the Pacific Northwest (in a joint appointment with the Department of American Indian Studies). Matthew Mosca will join us as assistant professor of Late Imperial Chinese history (in a joint appointment with the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies) and Daniel Sheffield will join us as assistant professor of the history of the Islamic world before 1850. These three distinguished scholars will begin teaching at UW in September.

Learning is a lifelong exercise for us all, so in closing I encourage you to explore the department's calendar and, if you are in Seattle, to participate in one of our public events. I hope to see you soon in Smith Hall.


Lynn Thomas

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