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EMU History Graduate Completes Master's Degree (and a Book) in Israel

For Sharon Sullivan, a bachelor's degree in History from Eastern Michigan University proved the ideal springboard for a career of Biblical translation and social activism. Sullivan was a non-traditional student when she enrolled at EMU, waiting to begin her studies after she had started raising her four children Mathieu, Josh, Aaron, and Celeste. Even though it had been more than a decade since Sullivan had graduated from Lansing Catholic Central High School, she gained admission to the Honors College and ultimately graduated from EMU magna cum laude with a major in History with a minor in Religious Studies.

Sharon Sullivan recalls fondly her experience taking courses in the history of the Middle East and North Africa at EMU, specifically independent study courses with Professors Phil Schmitz and Jim Egge as well as HIST 339: The Arab-Israeli Conflict with Professor John Knight. She remembers: "I thoroughly enjoyed all of my courses at EMU, and feel privileged for the wisdom these professors imparted to me." While at Eastern, Sullivan twice presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and won a Chrysler Symposium Merit Scholarship.

The very week that she graduated from EMU, Sharon Sullivan and her four kids (as well as the family dog) boarded a plane for Israel where they lived for four years. Residing in Holon allowed Sullivan to learn more about the Israelite Samaritans, one of the oldest religious sects in the world and one that exists only in Israel. The family joined a Samaritan community where they immersed themselves in the culture, learning how to read and chant in Ancient Samaritan Hebrew. Sullivan also enrolled in the International School of Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she completed her master's degree in Bible and the Ancient Near East in June 2013.

Connected to her experience and education in Israel, Sullivan completed a translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch (also known as the Torah or the first five books of the Bible). She could not understand why such a translation had never been attempted before and so she persuaded an elderly Samaritan scholar to work with her, and over the course of eight years, the pair completed the task. The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version was published by William B. Eerdman's Press in April 2013. Terry Giles of Gannon University has labeled the final product "a significant contribution" and "a welcome addition to the biblical studies library!"

In addition to her translation, Sullivan has also become an activist for human rights. While in Israel, she created a women's peace group for which she was awarded the Samaritan Medal of Peace. Her scholarship and activism has even garnered the attention of the press. Sullivan was the subject of a February 2013 article in Forbes magazine that can be read at http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/02/25/to-bring-true-peace-to-the-middle-east-women-in-palestine-and-israel-must-take-center-stage/.

The History Section at Eastern Michigan University congratulates Sharon Sullivan on her many accomplishments and is proud to have played a part in her success.

EMU History Graduate to Attend Top History PhD Program

The EMU History Section congratulates Andrea Christmas on her admission to the Ph.D. program in History at Northwestern University. A native of Riverside, California, Christmas received her bachelor's degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in History and Dance. She began her graduate study at Eastern Michigan University in 2011 and completed her MA in History in Summer 2013. As part of her graduate study, Christmas wrote a master's thesis titled "Masculinity in Nineteenth-Century Paris Opéra Ballet." Directed by Professor Jesse Kauffman, Christmas's thesis looked at male dancers and audience members at the Paris Opéra Ballet during the first half of the nineteenth century, examining the Opéra as site of negotiation for the emergent bourgeois masculinity. As part of her thesis work, Christmas visited Paris, France, where she performed archival research at Bibliothèque-musée de l'Opéra, Bibliothèque Nationale-Département des Arts du spectacle, and Bibliothèque Nationale-Louvois (Département de la Musique).

Reflecting on her graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University, Christmas notes: "I really appreciated the support and enthusiasm of the faculty throughout my time at EMU. In classes and through work on my thesis I found everyone to be both challenging and encouraging. Lastly, I believe the core curriculum here is very strong. I know that my writing improved dramatically through my Methods course, and that my understanding of the field grew tremendously through my Historiography course. These skills will be very useful to me as I proceed in my doctoral program."

Andrea Christmas begins her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in September 2013. Northwestern was recently ranked as the fourteenth-best Ph.D. program in the United States, and a leader in the study of European history. Christmas plans to work with Professors Tessie Liu and Sarah Maza, and will continue to study dance and gender in nineteenth-century France.

Pamela GravesProfessor of History Pamela Graves

Professor Emeritus of European History Pamela Graves died December 18, 2012.  Professor Graves taught classes in European women's history, European social and intellectual history, and the history of England.  She came to the University in 1995 and was the undergraduate advisor for many years.  Her publications include Labour Women:  Women in British Working-Class Politics, 1918-1939 (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and an edited volume, Women and Socialism, Socialism and Women:  Europe between the two World Wars (Berghahn Books, 1998).  

Conferences and Speakers

History and Philosophy hosts several speakers each year and has an annual Undergraduate Conference in Philosophy.

Recent Faculty Awards

2012-2013

  • Dr. Margaret Crouch - EMU Alumni Teaching Excellence Award

2011-2012

  • Dr. Margaret Crouch - EMU Woman of Excellence Award
  • Dr. Ron Delph - Graduate Mentoring Award
  • Dr. W. John Koolage - Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Teaching I Award
  • Dr. Michael Scoville - Holmes Rolston III Early Career Essay Prize
 

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The History & Philosophy Department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 701 Pray Harrold, 734.487.1018