Category Archives: Asian History

Senior Thesis Profile: Gillian Reinhard Talks Turandot and Tripod

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor-in-Chief 

Gillian Reinhard ’20 is the President’s Fellow in History, the Department’s inaugural Chatfield Fellow, and a senior thesis writer. History@Trinity’s Brendan Clark sat with Gillian to ask her a few questions about her thesis and her experience with the History Department.

Gillian Reinhard ’20, History Major, poses with her Tripod history scrapbook. Courtesy of Brendan Clark ’21. 

Gillian Reinhard ’20 outside of the Forbidden City, the palace in Beijing. Courtesy of Gillian Reinhard ’20.

  1. Describe your research topic in two minutes or less.

I am looking at the 1926 opera Turandot, by the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The first part of my thesis concerns how different cultures portrayed exoticism and embraced Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism. I am applying what I have learned in the first chapter to look specifically at how British audiences perceived Puccini’s opera when it arrived in London a year later, again from the perspective of Orientalism. The relationship between Britain and China is a unique one, with a long, complicated history, and I am hopeful that an analysis of this opera can shed light on this relationship.

  1. What specific aspects of your academic career at Trinity and your personal historical interests led you to select this topic?

Firstly, I have studied Mandarin Chinese since middle school and had the opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai during the fall of my junior year. My experience abroad truly shed light on the concept of Orientalism in the West. Also, I read Orientalism, by Edward Said, in my first-year seminar “Arabian Nights” with Associate Professor of History Zayde Antrim. That text has shaped much of my academic work. I decided to look at it through the lens of opera, as it has always been a quirky interest of mine.

  1. How has the History Department assisted with your research and what does your designation as “Chatfield Fellow” offer you?

I feel that taking the courses “What Is History” and “History Workshop” have solidified my passion for complex understandings of history, as well as confidence in my research abilities to undertake a lengthy paper. The Chatfield Fellowship is named in memory of Jack Chatfield ’64, a Trinity alumnus and beloved professor. Chatfield was also a part of the Tripod while a student, which makes it especially meaningful to me, as I have been Editor-in-Chief for four semesters. The Chatfield Fellowship provides a research fund for a student undertaking thesis research. I am currently in the throes of research for my chapters on Britain and am hoping to plan a trip to London in January, which would not be possible without the fund.

  1. What challenges have you come across as you have commenced work on your thesis?

In the context of my own thesis, operatic studies are generally consigned to the realm of musicologists. One of the great things about opera, however, is that it is a wholistic art form: thus, I have been able to research costumes, libretti, settings, press releases, etc. So. although many of the secondary sources focus on the music, I have been able to examine closely primary sources and illumine more of the story. Having confidence in yourself to undertake such a significant project is also very important.

  1. What else are you up to in the world of history?

Great question, Brendan! I am working with you and other members of the department on the Trinity Bicentennial History Project. I am fascinated by Trinity’s institutional history and feel that it is our duty to become more informed about our past. Being on the Tripod has given me a front-row seat to how history is preserved and remembered at the college. As we approach two-hundred years, it is something we should be proud of, but also recognize requires deep contemplation. I love reading old issues of the Tripod and I have spent several years documenting its history, collecting clippings and writing a narrative of its past in a binder.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of the Tripod’s history?

Oh gosh, there are so many! It is incredible to look at the list of Editor-in-Chiefs of the Tripod and realize that for over fifty years of its existence, it was run entirely by men. The first female Editor-in-Chief was from the Class of 1973 and she did a great job! Additionally, the Tripod has a fascinating past: in the 1920s, the Tripod’s Editor-in-Chief was suspended for writing an editorial critical of Dean Troxell, under the administration of then-President Remsen Brinkerhoff Ogilby. It would be crazy to imagine that happening today!

  1. What advice would you give prospective history majors?

I think history is a great major! It has taught me how to write well, think critically, and argue effectively. For me, it was a no-brainer to complete my degree with a second major in International Studies. I would encourage students to explore their options and always say “yes” to academic opportunities.

  1. If you could be one figure from history, who would it be and why?

I would be Elizabeth I at the beginning of Shakespeare’s career or at the defeat of the Spanish Armada. I love the Tudors!

History Department Welcomes Clark L. Alejandrino

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.”

History Course To Visit Significant World War II Locations In Japan

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall after the bombing on August 6th, 1945.

Editor; History Major 

The Trinity College History Department is offering a new course that will provide students with the opportunity to visit key sites of significant military action during World War II. Associate Professor of History and Department Chair Jeffrey Bayliss will teach the course, and Associate Professor of History Michael Lestz will join the visits, which include stops in Tokyo, Okinawa, and Hiroshima this June.

These sites, added Bayliss, each have significance to the military history of World War II and the experiences of Japanese and American soldiers. Bayliss added that “because the Japanese have memorialized the war in various ways, we can get into questions of historical and political memory” during the course.

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“Killing Order”: Talaat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide–A Lecture by Professor Taner Akçam

Aram Andonian, the publisher of Effendi’s memoirs.

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor; History Major

Taner Akçam is a Professor of History and the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian, and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. He was one of the earliest Turkish academics to acknowledge the Ottoman commission of the genocide. 

The Armenian Club of Trinity and the History Department welcomed Professor Taner Akçam, Professor of History and the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian, and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University to Trinity on Monday, March 19th. Professor Akçam spoke on his newest book, Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide. He discussed the significance of the telegrams and their role in affirming the Ottoman governments involvement in many of the events underscoring the Ottoman Empire’s perpetration of the Armenian Genocide.

Akçam began by addressing the continuing denials of the Turkish government, who deny the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide itself. This argument, argued Akçam, rests on the supposition that there was never an official decision by Ottoman authorities to exterminate Armenians. To augment their claims, Akçam cited the two strategies pursued by the deniers: that they have consistently hidden or destroyed the bulk of documentary evidence and that they continue to deny the existence of certain available documents.

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History, Identity, and Traveling: A Reflection on 2017’s McGill Lecturer, Santiago Gamboa

Chelsey Crabbe (History ‘17)

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In his lecture, “The Art of Narration and Travel Writing (a Latin American Writer in India)”,weaved an inspiring tale about the realities of his profession as both an individual and a Latin American writer by specifically focusing on his tales of living in India. Gamboa has written eight novels amongst other works, mostly in Spanish and translated into a variety of languages. The writer has also acted a Columbia diplomat at UNESCO in Paris as well as to the Columbian Embassy in India. Obviously well-accomplished, Santiago Gamboa impressed me not only with his accolades but his grip on the pulse of the world, understanding the humanity within each individual, no matter their country of origin.
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History Department’s Senior Thesis Presentations 2016-2017

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This academic year, the History Department has nine honor thesis writers. Elizabeth, Sedona, Callie, Dylan, Elm, Chelsey, Eleanor, Seth and Andrew will be presenting on their research on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The presentations will take place at Seabury Hall 215 (Trinity College), starting at 9:00 a.m. History Thesis Writers, History Majors, members of the History Department, and members of the Trinity and Hartford community are invited and encouraged to attend this special event. A five minute Q+A will follow each presentation. For the full schedule, continue reading….
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Trekking the Tamang Heritage Trail: A J-Term Course

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Near KIyanjin Gompa Langtang range

Written by: Michael Lestz, Associate Professor of History

In January 2017 twenty-two students and faculty from Trinity College took part in an eighteen-day trek along the Tamang Heritage Trail in the northern area of Nepal close to the border with Tibet. All the trekkers were lured to Nepal by its spectacular mountains. Among the faculty leaders who joined the expedition were Professors Craig Schneider of Biology, Richard Prigodich of the Chemistry Department, and Coach Anne Parmenter who leads Trinity’s field hockey team. Schneider and Prigodich have led numerous similar expeditions in Nepal or Tibet in past years and Coach Parmenter is a supremely competent mountaineer who summited Mount Everest from the Tibetan side in 2006. Professor Christoph Geiss from Environmental Science, an experienced mountaineer and nature photographer, was also on board and created a spectacular photo record of the rugged terrain we crossed.
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Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival Program, April 7–10, 2016

From its creation in academic year 2005–2005 by a group of Trinity College students as a vehicle to “combat the disunity, segregation, and violence of Hartford, CT and Trinity College,” the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival  always has close ties with several History majors and faculty.

One its co-founders, for example, was Jason P. Azevedo ’08, currently a career U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer specialized on Africa and Brazil.

Since 2009, History and International Studies Assistant Professor Seth Markle has served as the main academic advisor to Trinity Chapter of Temple of Hip Hop and annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.

As the coordinating group has put it, from the beginning the festival’s main strategies and goals have been using a “the historically education-oriented and politically revolutionary medium — Hip Hop – and focusing on its global potency and proliferation, the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival works to unify Trinity College, the city of Hartford, and the Globe.”

This year’s program, includes lectures and panel discussions with a variety of scholars, artists, and community activists; film screenings, graffiti and photo exhibits, workshops, and performances, including Dance Event / B-Boy Battle on Friday, April 8th (7pm–2am), the Saturday April 9th (8pm-2am) Hip Hop Concert, featuring Rakim and several other MCs and DJs. The festival ends on Sunday, April 10th with a DJ showcase and the Iron Poet Slam Competition.

You can find the Festival’s FULL PROGRAM here: 2016 Program for the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival – We hope to see you there!

Prof. Lestz Awarded Alumni Medal for Excellence

Professor Michael Lestz

Professor Michael Lestz

During last week’s Trinity reunion weekend, History Professor Michael Lestz was awarded the Alumni Medal for Excellence. This medal is awarded annually to alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions, to their communities, and to Trinity College. Congratulations Michael!

Read the full citation here. Continue reading

History 366 Interpreting the Ancient City: Angkor

HIST 366 at the Royal Palace

HIST 366 at the Royal Palace

“HIST 366: Interpreting the Ancient City: Angkor” was a hands on field investigation that traveled to Cambodia in May and June. Launched with the scholarship aid provided by the O’Neill Asia Cum Laude Endowment and the Charlotte Riggs Scholarship fund, ten Trinity students and four professors were able to travel to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to do in depth study of ancient and modern Cambodia. History Department professors Michael Lestz and Dario Euraque, and Prof. Pablo Delano (Studio Arts) led the ten Trinity students to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in a rich exploration of the themes of the course. As we visited material remains of Angkorean cities just north of Cambodia’s great freshwater lake accompanying the group as an associated faculty member was Dr. Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, who served twice as Minister of Culture of Honduras, between 1994 and 1998, and between 2006 and 2009. Faculty and students benefitted from Dr. Pastor Fasquelle’s  vast knowledge of the ancient Mesoamerican world and especially the Mayan World Heritage site of Copan in Honduras.

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