With over 200 copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole at FSU’s Special Collections. History graduate student Lauren Owens did exactly that, curating an original exhibit highlighting just a fraction of the beautifully illustrated children’s books held in the archive. Owens says the exhibit is timely. February 28th, 2020 marked the 200th anniversary of John Tenniel’s birth—the illustrator behind some of the most iconic and recognizable Alice imagery. The anniversary inspired Owens to build her project around Tenniel’s Alice and enabled her to work with collections related to a story she has personal love for.

            Another day, another coronavirus update, another twitter hashtag, another meme. As the disease continues to spread from its outbreak in Wuhan, China, to more countries, the fear and panic leads to more and more comparisons to historical pandemics, specifically the Black Death. While the effects of the coronavirus are all around us, it is dangerous to portray the disease in the same light as the Black Death.

The History Department will host the annual James P. Jones Lecture at 5 PM on March 5th in the Rendina Room of the FSU Alumni Center. Our speaker is Professor Kathryn Olivarius of Stanford University. Her lecture, "Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom," is based on her current book project. Professor Olivarius argues that in places like Louisiana and Florida, where illnesses like yellow fever were common and terrifying, immunity became desperately important but impossible to document scientifically. For white men, proving their immunity became the gateway to power in the plantation societies of the Deep South, and it formed an integral part of their ideas about race, capitalism, and the role of government. We hope anyone interested in the history of the South, the history of slavery, or the history of science will join us for the event.

Dr. Anasa Hicks is an assistant professor in the History Department specializing in Latin American and Caribbean history. She completed her doctoral degree at New York University 2017, and her research focuses primarily on twentieth-century Cuba, women and gender, and labor studies. Hicks’s current book project, Hierarchies at Home: A History of Domestic Service in Cuba from Abolition to Revolution, explores questions of race, gender, and ethnicity in an occupation rooted in Cuba’s past as a slave society. In this interview, Professor Hicks talks about her upcoming book, experiences in academia, and advice for students interested in history.

Dr. Flores-Villalobos is an assistant professor of history at The Ohio State University, where she specializes in the history of gender, race, and migration. She earned her PhD from New York University in African Diaspora History. Her talk at FSU represents a portion of her current book project, The Silver Women: Intimacy and Migration in the Panama Canal. In this book, Dr. Flores-Villalobos explores the labor migration of West Indian women during the Panama Canal construction, from 1904 to 1914, and the diasporic affective and economic linkages they created. Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the American Association of University Women.

She will speak at FSU on 2/20 at 5pm. HWC 2401.


FSU at the Capitol Day! February 12, 2020

The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience was there.

From left to right, first row: Mallory McGovern, Beatrice Dain.Second row, left to right: Laran Dixon, Sheighlin Hagerty, Grace Overholt.

World War II Institute intern and President Thrasher. 

From left to right: Mallory McGovern, Sheighlin Hagerty, Grace Overholt

World War II Institute intern Grace Overholt and President Thrasher.

How do states determine the value of life and health? This is the question that Ben Goff, PhD candidate in French history, asks in his research. On the one hand we cringe at the notion of subjecting life and health to financial considerations; but on the other, the state must not bankrupt itself when treating the medical needs of every suffering citizen. While life might be precious, it is not priceless, and cannot be disentangled from economic realities.

Ben’s research explores how the French war ministry deal with this conundrum between 1747 and 1815. France employed both private and public systems of administration for its military hospitals. Ben will unravel the pitfalls of both these systems by asking: how did medical practitioners, bureaucrats, and politicians view and work within both systems? In what situations did the state employ which system? Were soldiers and sailors better cared for in a publicly- or privately-administered facility?

In 1962, nearly a decade after the landmark Supreme court case Brown v. Board of Education, Florida State University officially changed its admittance policy and opened its doors to African American students. In 2002, on the anniversary of this pivotal moment, the sitting University President Talbot D’Alemberte commissioned a commemorative monument. The Integration Statue was completed and unveiled near Legacy Walk in January of 2004. It depicts three of the institution’s first African American students symbolizing “Books, Bats, and Beauty.”

Justin Vos, a doctoral candidate, in post-Civil War US history, seeks to investigate the role of the Dutch ethnic community and its relationship with North American Christianity, especially post-World War II evangelicalism. Justin contents that the Dutch ethnic community’s specific understanding of Christianity, stemming from their long-term cohesion as a transnational ethnic group, allowed them to influence late-twentieth century developments in both evangelicalism and mainline Christianity.

Justin will set out to connect three areas of research: the specific development of the Dutch-American community in the late 20th century; the broader evolution of European immigrant ethnicity in North America; and the evolving relationship between the Dutch American religious community and American Christianity at large. Examining the Dutch community will allow for the intertwining of ethnic and religious development, nuancing the history of American evangelicalism and conservative white Christianity.

Daria Willis didn’t set out to make history, she set out to study it. But the lessons she learned from the past while earning her doctorate in history at Florida State University, and the mindset she developed through the strong women she idolized along the way, helped to vault her higher than she could have imagined.

In July, Willis became the first African American president of Everett Community College. At age 34, she’s also the youngest college president in the state of Washington. Her present role revolves around people, and Willis credits her extensive education as preparation for the position.

“History is the study of people. And that’s what I deal with every day,” she said.

Being a college president is anything but predictable. Willis’s days often begin at four or five in the morning and lead into meetings on and off campus. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, she regularly faces the new and unexpected challenges that come with running a school for more than 19,000 students. She, however, enjoys that each day is different.