Monday, January 26, 2015

Summer Study Abroad: WWI Centenary

This summer, the Office of International Programs in conjunction with our department is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the momentous and pivotal 20th-Century conflict of WWI--what historian Robert Freeman calls "the most significant event of the past thousand years"--and how it still shapes our world today.

HIST 399-91 Special Topics in History: World War I Centenary: A Just War or Just a War?
May 14-29, 2015
3 credits


Study Tour includes:
England, Belgium, and France

Please note: a $500 deposit to hold your spot
is due by JANUARY 31

For more information, contact Kim Szczypinski in the Office of International Programs: 601 Union; 412.396.1431;

Don't miss out on this incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Friday, January 16, 2015

7th Annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium

Attention undergraduate History and Art History majors!

The 7th Annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium (URSS) is now accepting applications for its April 9th event. The URSS is a great opportunity for students in all disciplines to:

  • practice their presentation skills
  • network with other students and faculty

If you have a paper or project from one of your classes, and you'd like to share it with our academic community (which we strongly encourage you to do), please consider applying for the 7th Annual URSS today! And if you have any questions at all about how the URSS works, what you need to do to apply, or anything else related to presenting your work, please contact our own Department of History Director of Undergraduate Research:
612 College Hall

Students who have participated in past URSS events have said it was incredibly fun and extremely rewarding!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Master's Student Lauren Van Zandt Presents at Professional Conference

Our students do some pretty amazing things during their time with us, and we want to feature them here on our blog. Most recently, we introduced you to Abby Kirstein, a second-year Public History graduate student who spent last summer in Utah working for the Bureau of Land Management (and got to do some dinosaur bone digging).

Now we'd like to introduce you to Lauren Van Zandt. Lauren is also a second-year Public History graduate student. We've featured Lauren on our blog before, as she also happens to be one of our graduate assistants.

In October, Lauren had the extraordinary opportunity of presenting her scholarly research at a professional conference--a conference where the attendees are primarily professionals in the field of studio art and art history (e.g. curators, professors, etc.).

We asked Lauren to tell us a little bit about how she ended up getting to go to the conference, as well as her experience while there.

lauren van zandt
Lauren Van Zandt

Hi, I’m Lauren Van Zandt, a second year student in Duquesne’s Public History MA program.  This October, I presented a paper at the Southeastern College Art Conference, or SECAC.

The road to SECAC actually started about a year ago with Dr. Julia Sienkewicz's Early American Painting and Sculpture class in the fall of 2013.  Our big project for the class was a research paper on a piece of art at the US Capitol.  I chose the Columbus Doors, which are located on the east side of the Capitol.  The doors, which date from the mid-1800s, are cast bronze and covered with relief sculpture depicting the life of Christopher Columbus.  The highlight of the project was getting special access to see the doors in person at the Capitol.  (Due to security concerns, the area the doors are located in is completely inaccessible to the public.)  Pictures do not do these doors justice!

After completing my project, I presented a simplified version of my paper at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference at Slippery Rock University in April of 2014.  This was basically a practice run for the main event, which turned out to be SECAC.

I actually applied to SECAC with very little expectation of my paper being accepted.  SECAC is a professional organizational, and most of the people I met there were professors, curators, and other people working in the studio and art history fields.  Once I got the email that my paper had been accepted (!?!?!?!), I immediately got to work adapting my paper and putting together my presentation.  Dr. Sienkewicz was very supportive and helpful in this process.

The 2014 SECAC conference was held in beautiful Sarasota, so while I wasn’t at the conference I got to explore the area, eating delicious seafood, visiting the Selby Botanical Gardens, and visiting with my parents who drove down to see me from my hometown in south Louisiana.

Presenting was somewhat intimidating because not only was I the only one on my panel who didn’t have a PhD, I also was the first person to speak.  Despite this, I survived the experience and even though I made a few mistakes, I don’t know that the audience even noticed.  People were very supportive and encouraging, and SECAC was a great opportunity to meet other grad students and professionals.  

I was able to cover the costs of travel and lodging for the conference with funding from the McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University and through the Gulnar Bosch Student Travel Assistance Grant from SECAC.  Many conferences have travel scholarships available for students who are presenting, and I am so grateful to have gotten that support as well as the funding from Duquesne!

I had a great time at SECAC, and being able to present was an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.  I would definitely encourage other students to apply to present at conferences- you never know what could happen!

Thanks, Lauren!
We're so proud of the work you're doing in our program and are thrilled that you had the experience to present at a professional conference!

For those of you who are interested in attending conferences as students, here is a helpful link that the Duquesne University Bookstore tweeted out this morning! 

And if you're a graduate student in the McAnulty Graduate School at Duquesne University, the Dean's Office offers up to $500 of funding for graduate students who present their work at conferences. Contact us for more information.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Explore Art History in Spring 2015!

Do you need to fulfill your Creative Arts theme area requirement next semester?

Have you ever wondered why Rembrandt took so many selfies?

Do you sometimes see a piece of art and think, "Why is that art?"

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then we've got a course for you! (And these are just *some* of our Art History courses we're offering. You can see all of our offerings here.)

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dinosaur Bones: A Public History Graduate Student's Adventure

Second-year Public History graduate student Abby Kirstein takes an epic selfie at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitors Center in Price, Utah

It's no secret that our graduate students are pretty cool. And second-year Public History Program student Abby Kirstein is no exception.

Abby, who is originally from Bethel Park in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh, studied History as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware. When a professor gave Abby the name of a woman at the Heinz History Center, she contacted her and interviewed the woman about the work she does. Afterwards, Abby thought, "How do I get HER job?!"

"Needless to say," says Abby, "she opened my eyes to the wonderful world of Public History!"

We asked Abby, who will be finishing her master's degree next semester, to tell us a little bit about why she decided to go into Public History and why she chose Duquesne for her graduate work. We also asked her to tell us about her incredible experience working this past summer with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Price, Utah.

Abby in front of petroglyphs near the quarry site

"Following my undergraduate work I was looking for different ways in which I could use my history degree," says Abby. "Although teaching is a more than respectable route to take, I wasn't sure it was for me. I realized if I could combine my love of people, history, and creativity into one occupation, I would be the happiest gal alive!

"[The woman at the Heinz History Center] was the one who told me about Duquesne's program in Public History since the Heinz History Center had just recently hired a few graduates. I had always loved the thought of attending an urban school, but I never imagined I would get the chance to do it in my own city!" exclaims Abby. "After doing more research into the program, it seemed like a perfect fit. The size, location, and reputation of Duquesne won me over. This fairy tale ends with an application, an acceptance, and a wonderful experience..."

And then Abby had the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.

"Over the summer of 2014, I was given the opportunity to work on an active dinosaur quarry called the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Price, Utah. I was accepted into this position by applying to various federal facilities through their seasonal student programs. These programs are an amazing opportunity to gain work and travel experience all over the country," she explains. "My specific seasonal position was through the Bureau of Land Management and required me to assist with interpretation, visitors services, tours, outreach and educational programs, and, most importantly, actual paleontology digs at the quarry site."

Yup. Digging for dinosaur bones.

One of the quarry buildings at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry

Inside one of the quarry buildings

"Even more than the Public History and exciting opportunities I was given at the site, I was also able to attend various federal training sessions to further my education as a historian," Abby goes on to say. "For example, through the BLM, I had the chance to attend a historic preservation training session in which I got to meet the head State Historic Preservation Officer of Utah, as well as some national board members. In addition, I trained with the head curator of the BLM Utah State Office, Nancy Mahaney, on cataloging an entire warehouse full of Native American artifacts. To this day, Ms. Mahaney gives me career advice and has remained a very good friend!"

We asked Abby if there was something she learned or experienced working with the BLM in Utah that really had an impact on her, that really made her stop and think, "I'd never have known or experienced this if I hadn't been here."

"I think what blew me away most, other than the amazing landscapes and people that Utah has to offer," she says, "is just the demand that there is out there for public historians. The Price, Utah BLM alone has lists and lists of sites that are in need of interpretation and management, not to mention the rest of Utah and the rest of the United States! Going into the Public History Program at Duquesne, I would have never thought of working for the federal government, but they are a huge supporter of not just natural sites, but architectural history, historic preservation, archaeology, anthropology, and archival work as well!

"There are so many opportunities out there," says Abby, "you just have to open your eyes, get creative, work hard, and prove yourself."

And Abby expresses her gratitude to the Public History graduate program for preparing her for this adventure. 

"Without [the Public History] program," she says, "I would have never had the confidence to drive across the country to take on such a challenging position. I never questioned my ability to assist sites like the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry because I've been given the proper professional training at Duquesne. I can't even explain how supportive my classmates and professors have been throughout this entire experience, and I look forward to more Public History adventures in the future!"

Abby hiking in a slot canyon near the quarry
Great work, Abby! We can't wait to hear about your next adventure!

And if you're around Duquesne's campus on Friday, November 7, 2014, from 2-3 p.m., Abby and a couple of our other graduate students will be presenting original research and scholarship at the poster session at Duquesne's 2nd Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium (GSRS) in the Power Center Ballroom (Section C). Stop by, meet Abby, and say hello! (The entire schedule can be found here.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Moving Targets" Art Exhibition at the Gumberg Library, Nov 10 - Dec 6

Gumberg Library will host an art exhibition that commemorates the 2014 centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. The exhibition, titled Moving Targets, will open on Nov. 10 and continue through Dec. 6.

“The exhibition parallels the plight of the passenger pigeon with that of the artists’ maternal lineage, piecing together the fragmented stories and forced migrations of both pigeons and Jews,” says artist Ann Rosenthal. The project is a collaboration between Rosenthal and Steffi Domike with Ruth Fauman Fichman and will also include 14 artists each representing a state within the former nesting range of the pigeon.

The exhibition corresponds to the common text selected for the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts learning communities, Joel Greenberg’s A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction.
The exhibition will be open to the public, though visitors are advised to call 412.396.6130 prior to coming.