Congratulations to Dr. Joshua Meeks (PhD, 2015) who just accepted a new position. Joshua will be moving from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, where he has been teaching since 2016, to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He will be an assistant professor in the Strategy and Policy Department, a part of the College of Distance Education. Joshua and his family will be moving back east over the summer.

Dr. Özok-Gündoğan was “born to a Kurdish-Turkish family from Van, a city known for its huge lake and odd-eyed cats in eastern Turkey.” She grew up in Izmir, Turkey, where she described her early education as a state-approved narrative that minimized the identities of non-Turkish citizens such as her own Kurdish people. The difference between what she learned at home and what she was told at school led her to see the problems in the Turkish education system. 

What got you involved in studying the history of Christianity and the Protestant Reformation in particular?

I grew up in a Christian household and regularly went to church and Sunday school. But college was the first time I encountered Christianity in an academic setting, and I was enthralled. What a rich, fascinating, and confusing religion! I took a course on the Reformation, and I was hooked. The Reformation was the birth of modern Christianity as we know it today.

What about your college experience? Did you enter university expecting to come out with a PhD? 

 Yes and no. I knew I wanted to continue reading and writing about the Reformation, and I relished grad school (in history not religious studies), because it gave me the opportunity to do both.

How would you describe the process of attaining a Doctorate?

Dr. Cindy Ermus researches disasters. For Ermus, this covers natural disasters, infectious diseases, and even political events. This year, she returned to Tallahassee to attend the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era (CRE), where she gave a talk that positions revolutions as disasters. However, the trip to Tallahassee was more than just an opportunity to present her scholarship—it was a reunion. Ermus graduated with her PhD in History from Florida State University almost six years ago and returning to Tallahassee was a nostalgic experience for her. “From the moment I stepped out of the airport into my ride to the DoubleTree, I was already nostalgic. I remembered the roads and the route back to the center of town and everything,” she reflected.

Let’s congratulate the three History Majors who were inducted into the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society for the Spring 2020 Semester last week. Below they are describing what they did and what it meant to them.

Katherine Shapiro

My engagement areas were research, international, and service.

Can anything top Tiger King? Probably not.

Nevertheless, these six equally engaging documentaries explore new aspects of prominent figures and some lesser known histories. For those who find themselves with spare time on their hands, consider adding the following documentaries to your watch list.


FSU alumnus Dr. Bryan Banks was in Tallahassee in late February for the 50th Annual Consortium on the Revolutionary Era Conference and took time to speak with us about his time at FSU and his career since graduating.  Dr. Banks received both his Master’s (2011 with Dr. Rafe Blaufarb) and Ph.D. (2014 with Dr. Darrin McMahon) in History at Florida State University.  Dr. Banks chose Florida State as the result of a meeting he had with Dr. Blaufarb at a café in Paris while on an undergraduate exchange program at the University of Versailles.  Based on Dr. Blaufarb’s reputation, as well as Dr. McMahon’s, and the resources available through the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at FSU, Dr. Banks felt this was the right place to pursue his graduate studies.

            While working on his doctorate degree at the University of Iowa, Paul Renfro was captivated by the story of two young girls who went missing and the language around their disappearance. People saying, “this shouldn’t happen here,” and notions of racial and regional innocence sparked his interest. Stranger Danger discusses the phenomenon of missing children and its resonance beginning in the late seventies and early eighties.

In an interview discussing his new book, The Virtues of Economy: Governance, Power, and Piety in Late Medieval Rome (Cornell University Press, 2019), James Palmer explained the long road to its publication. Palmer, currently an assistant professor in the History Department at FSU spent the better part of the 2010s researching and writing the book. James Palmer was also emphatic about the importance of history for our society today. The study of history will equip students “to live critically in the world that they are in.”

His Journey

Dr. Palmer began college as a forestry major but realized quickly that this field did not suit him. While reconsidering his major, he spoke with many professors, including Chris Celenza, who taught Renaissance Italy. Palmer stated that Professor Celenza “took me under his wing,” and inspired him to follow in his footsteps to Italy. Palmer recollects that when he decided eventually to go into history, nobody in his family was surprised but he himself.

The Process

Adjusting to remote learning or working from home can be a hard transition. If you are used to working in the library, a coffee shop, or an office, finding yourself at home brings new distractions. With COVID-19 causing FSU to go remote at least through the Summer B session, it is important to figure out ways to boost productivity and maintain focus. Video games, TV, pets and family members are just some of the new distractions, students may face as they try to accomplish their scholarly goals and complete assignments. Luckily there are resources that can be accessed via computer or phone that can help tune out distractions and focus on tasks at hand.