Faculty members of Trinity’s History Department are very excited to welcome Dr. Clark Alejandrino as the new Assistant Professor of Chinese History. According to his faculty profile, “after finishing his undergraduate degree in history in the Philippines, Clark Alejandrino trained in Sinology in Australia and went on to finish a Ph.D. in East Asian Environmental History at Georgetown University. He specializes in the environmental history of China, especially its climate and animal history, covering the fifth to the twentieth century in his research. He is currently preparing a book manuscript on typhoons in the history of the South China coast and preparing to embark on a new project exploring the history of migratory birds in East Asia. At Trinity, he teaches courses on Chinese history, environmental history, world history, and Pacific history. He has received funding for his research from the Social Science Research Council, American Council of Learned Societies, Henry Luce Foundation, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and the National Central Library of Taiwan.”
This year, Professor Alejandrino will be teaching “Climate and History”, “History of China: Shang-Ming Dynasty”, “History of Chiang: Qing Dynasty to Present”, and “River Cities of China.”
Editor; History Major
The annual C.F. Bankwitz Lecture this year featured Barbara Ann Naddeo from the City College of New York presenting “From the Privy to the Statistical Archive: Political Information, Science, and the Formation of the Territorial State in the Age of Enlightenment, 1700—1815.”
Herein, I examine Professor Naddeo’s arguments regarding Galanti’s significance in his time whereas my colleague Ms. Meagher will touch upon Galanti’s role as a source of historical information.
Naddeo’s treatment of the implications and novelty of famed Italian economist and geographer Giuseppe Maria Galanti (1743–1806), who worked in the Kingdom of Naples during the aforementioned period, proved enlightening especially in its espousal of concepts on epistemology.
Editor; History Major
On Thursday, November 16, the Trinity College History Department held its Annual Philip C. F. Bankwitz Lecture. This year’s speaker was Professor Barbara Ann Naddeo from the City College of New York who gave a lecture entitled, “From The Privy To The Statistical Archive.” In this lecture, Professor Naddeo cited Giuseppe Maria Galanti in making her argument that statistical writings in late eighteenth century Italy played a large role in the establishment of Italy as a modern political player. Before she made her argument, Professor Naddeo went into depth on the importance of Galanti’s works as a historical source. Giuseppe Maria Galanti was born in 1743 and died in 1806, Having lived his life in the Kingdom of Naples in Italy. During his lifetime he published five volumes of a text called The Geographical and Political Description of the Sicilies. The work includes census-like information about the region at the time as well as detailed maps. The census information translates to political statistics both then and now. The information indicates what the people of the time were like both professionally and socially as well as what the rulers of the time were interested in knowing about their people since it is they who ordered the gathering of many the statistics Galanti uses.
Editor; History Major
Samuel Kassow, the Charles H. Northam Professor of History and a member of the Trinity College History Department since 1972 is presently involved in seeing his book Who Will Write Our History? materialize as a documentary film directed by Robert Grossman and executively produced by Nancy Spielberg. In September of 2017, Adrian Brody signed on to serve as the voice of Ringelblum in the documentary.
By Tess Meagher ’20
Editor; History Major
In coordination with the History Department, the Trinity College Classics department hosted its annual Moore Lecture on November Ninth during common hour. The lecture, entitled “African American Intellectuals and the Study of Ancient Greek After the Civil War,” was given by guest lecturer Michele Valerie Ronnick. The lecture dealt specifically with historical African American scholars, mostly during the era of 1850-1950, who had an impact on the study of classics and/or on the way African Americans were educated in classics during this time period.
Professor Ronnick began the talk with an explanation of the importance of Greek and Latin in nineteenth-century western culture, specifically the American education system. She said that beginning around the same time as the American Revolution, there was a debate as to how useful the prerequisite of Greek and Latin for further education was. Among the founding fathers, there was a group of anti-classicists who said there was no place in the new republic for the study of dead languages. However, this group was in disagreement with other founding fathers who believed in the studies of the classics as necessary. The disagreement wasn’t resolved here and continued to affect the education system until the twentieth century.
By Brendan W. Clark ’21
Editor; History Major
About the Thesis Writer: Christopher Bulfinch ’18 is a senior history major and thesis writer. Chris came to Trinity knowing that he wanted to study history, but did not declare until the spring of his sophomore year. He has studied a myriad of topics from within the history department, but takes a particular interest in subjects of Americana. However, one of his favorite courses falls outside of this realm: “Living on the Margins of Modern Japan,” taught by Jeffery Bayliss, is a course he highly enjoyed and encourages prospective or current history majors to take.
Want to see original publications of American authors, not in books, but in periodicals? Interested in understanding the media culture of a time period? All of this and more is available at the new Watkinson Library exhibit. The Watkinson Library at Trinity College currently has Easy Vehicles and Knowledge for an Enlightened and Free People: American Periodicals in the Watkinson, 1750-1950 on exhibit. The exhibition will be in the Watkinson from now until June 15, 2018. The exhibit was curated by Leonard Banco, M.D., who, though a guest curator, is a trustee of the Watkinson. The exhibition features the hundreds of american periodicals the Watkinson has in its collection. Dr. Banco has divided these periodicals into the categories of general interest, music, women, religion, politics, and literature for easier research into the exhibit. At the exhibit are pamphlets containing summaries of the works featured that both students and faculty can take to further interests or research.
I found the exhibit especially compelling as a history student. Standing in the Watkinson and see many, clearly old, periodicals spread around and opened to carefully picked pages meant to pique your interest is curiosity candy. From seeing first editions of famous works, to learning about medical practices and theories of different time periods in America, to viewing election coverage from the nineteenth century, the exhibit offers a window into American history that is unique because it is all primary sources. History students should take advantage of this exhibit. Wandering around may just give you a new area of historical interest, or at the very least feed an old one. Not only history students should visit, however. Because the exhibit is curated into subtopics, students from nearly all majors from English, to biology can find something interesting here.
Neath the Ashes: Revisiting the Veracity of Trinity’s Alma Matter in the Present Day
Alumni and present students of Trinity alike will recall fondly their jovial experiences of youth whenever the refrain of Trinity’s alma matter ‘Neath the Elms is heard at various college events: “No more shall we meet, our classmates to greet, / ‘Neath the elms of our old Trinity.” The tune, first set to words by Augustus P. Burgwin, Class of 1882, is still a centerpiece of tradition amongst Trinity students and stands as a bulwark against the changing landscape of Trinity in the 21st century.
Indeed, all may be surprised to know that the majority, save a few stragglers, of those familiar elms referenced in the tune were gone by the early 1970s. Before that matter can be addressed, however, the history of the trees which became eponymous with the song must first be examined.
First in 1880 and thereafter in 1883, the Trustees allocated funds and authorized the planting of several rows of English elm trees on the Quad. The location of these earliest rows can be ascertained by the location of the trees which currently stand parallel to Seabury and Jarvis and also the rows of trees that project outward from Northam Towers.
I found Professor Sadji’s lecture and work The Barber of Damascus to be very dense and informative. In her lecture, Professor Sadji examines the city of Damascus in the 17th century, which she proves to be a thriving cosmopolitan and a far cry from the war-torn city we know today. One of the five major cities in the Ottoman Empire and a provincial capital, Damascus was a display of the phenomenon she calls “exhibitionism” and was also a microcosm of the Empire as a whole, serving as the departure point for pilgrimages to Mecca. Her book, of which I read the Introduction and first two chapters, detailed the existence of a Damascene barber in the 17th century. His personal diary is fascinating because of the diversity of his interactions. Peasants, saints, commoners, and elites came to the shop and the barber’s account provides a refreshing change of voice in history. As Professor Sadji mentioned in her lecture, history is written by the victors, it is rare to see the oppressed have a voice. This is a theme that is often brought to light in our class, the National Party and its authoritarian control over the school system and the recording of history, subjected black South Africans and silenced their voice. Another interesting point in her book was that the barber viewed his society as a clash between the tyrannical rich and the oppressed poor. – Dan Marini, History, Class of 2018
By: Callie Prince (History ’17)
Like many other history nerds, I am fascinated with the idea of time travel. Whether in books, movies or my imagination, there always seems to be an endless number of possibilities of places in different times that I would love to visit. Whether it is ancient Egypt during the time of Nefertiti or simply San Francisco the year my parents met, even with the knowledge we have, the past will always be something of a mystery. I think that my love for documentaries, especially those by Ken Burns, is apart of what makes me so curious about the past. Well-done documentaries or even mainstream movies can transport the audience to another time and even make them feel as if they better understand life for people who lived during that time. Allowing others to write or visualize the imagined time traveling can also change the perspectives through which the past can be viewed. What would it have been like to be a woman during the turn of the 20th century, versus a young boy? TV and other versions of imagined time travel allow for this kind of speculation based on the information available. Historians are using more and more innovative ways to look at life in the past. Even studying historiography, the history of how people study history, can provide other insights into the past.