History Speaker Series

Every year the History Section presents a series of public lectures by leading historians. For upcoming events, see our home page. For more information or to suggest a speaker or topic, contact Speaker Series Coordinator Dr. Ashley Johnson Bavery. Events are eligible for LBC credit. See the event website for more information

This schedule is in development and details will be added.


  • 2023-24 Speakers

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    Nakia Parker, Assistant Professor of History, Michigan State University
    “Trails of Tears and Freedom: Black Life in Indian Slave Country, 1830-1866”
    October 12, 2023, 4pm
    Strong 100

    Eric Hemenway (Anishaabe/Odawa), Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians  
    “The System of Civilization: the Indian Boarding Schools”
    October 19, 2023, 4pm
    Strong 100

    Eric Hemenway (Anishaabe/Odawa), Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians  
    “Incorporating Indigenous Sources and Topics into Your Courses” (for faculty and future teachers) 
    October 20, 2023, 11am
    Faculty Development Center, Halle Library

    Mary Strasma, Associate Professor of History, Eastern Michigan University
    “Far more than 500 years: Mapuche resistance and the Chilean nation from the Inca Empire to Neoliberalism”
    November 16, 2023, 4pm
    Strong 100

    Susan Sleeper-Smith, Professor of History, Michigan State University
    “George Washington and the Kidnapping of Indian Women”
    January 11, 2024, 4pm
    Halle 300

    Akim Reinhardt, Professor of History, Towson University
    “Lakota (Sioux) Understandings of Iyeška"
    January 25, 2024, 4pm
    Halle G03

    Stephen Kantrowitz, Plaenert-Bascom Professor of History; Faculty affiliate in Afro-American Studies and American Indian Studies, University of Wisconsin
    “Citizens of a Stolen Land: A Ho-Chunk History of the United States"
    This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule it in the future. 

    Charles Calcaterra, MA Student in History and 2022-24 Opperman Fellow, Eastern Michigan University
    “In a Hell of Our Own Creation: The Influence of Spatial Context on German Complicity in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front."
    April 17, 2024, 4pm
    Strong 201
  • 2022-23 Speakers

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    Katherine French, J. Frederick Hoffman Professor of Medieval History, University of Michigan
    “Household Goods and Good Households in Late Medieval England”
    October 20, 2022, 4-5:30pm
    100 Strong Hall 

    Aaron Luedtke, Assistant Professor of History at Syracuse University and EMU Alumnus
    “Misremembered Massacre: Simon Pokagon’s Indigenous Account of the Battle of Fort Dearborn”
    November 10, 2022 at 4pm
    Zoom lecture

    Pär Cassel, Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan
    "From Filial Piety to Unswerving Loyalty: the Origins of the Personality Cult in China” 
    January 19, 2023 at 4pm
    100 Strong Hall 

    Julia Moore, MA student in History and 2021-23 Opperman Fellow
    “A Polish, Communist Woman: The Case of Wanda Wasilewska”
    March 30, 2023 at 5pm
    100 Strong Hall 


  • 2021-22 Speakers

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    Michael Stauch, Assistant Professor of History, University of Toledo
    “Detroit in the Age of Community Policing”
    September 30, 2021, 4-5:30pm
    100 Strong Hall

    Catherine Cangany, Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan
    “Unfree Labor in Early Detroit”
    January 13, 2021, 4-5:30pm
    Zoom lecture

    Dara Walker, EMU alumna and Assistant Professor, Penn State University
    "High School Rebels: Black Power, Education, and Youth Politics in the Motor City, 1966-1972"
    March 24, 2022, 4-5:30pm
    Zoom lecture
  • 2020-21 Speakers

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    Dale A. Carlson, independent scholar, and James Egge, Professor of History at EMU
    "Art Deco EMU: An Architectural Tour of the Buildings of R. S. Gerganoff and the Sculpture of Corrado Parducci at EMU"
    3:30-5 p.m., September 29, 2020

    Nancy Jacobs, Professor of History at Brown University
    "How Washington Okumu 'Saved' Nelson Mandela's Election"
    4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, October 22, 2020

    Steven Ramold, Professor of History at EMU
    "How the Surrender of the Confederacy Defied the Mythology of the Lost Cause"
    4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, November 5, 2020

    Mireya Loza, Assistant Professor of Food Studies, New York University
    "Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom"
    4-5:30 p.m., December 3, 2020

    Ashley Johnson Bavery, Assistant Professor of History at EMU
    "Bootlegged Aliens: Immigration Politics on America's Northern Border"
    4 - 5:30 p.m., January 28, 2021

    Tyran Steward, Assistant Professor of History at Williams College and EMU History Alumnus
    "Lost Opportunity: Willis Ward, the Strike at Willow Run, and the Rise of Civil Rights Unionism in Detroit."
    4 - 5:30 p.m., February 25, 2021
    Co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's King-Chávez-Parks Visiting Professor Program.

    Martha Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University
    "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All"
    4-5:30 p.m., March 25, 2021 RESCHEDULED--please note new date

    Rachael Schnurr, Opperman Fellow, Eastern Michigan University
    "A Métis Wife's Tale: Race, Womanhood, and Adaptation to Settler Colonialism in the Diaries of Mary Hobart Williams"
    4-5:30 p.m., April 1, 2021


  • 2019-20 Speakers

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    Jeff Morrison, EMU Alumnus in History and Art
    “Guardians of Detroit: Architectural Sculpture in the Motor City”
    4 p.m., September 19, 2019 in Halle Library Auditorium
    Co-sponsored by the School of Art and Design and by the Urban Studies Program

    Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Professor, University of Michigan

    “Racial Migrations: New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean”
    4 p.m., October 24, 2019 in Strong Hall Auditorium (room 100)

    John McCurdy, Professor, Eastern Michigan University
    “Quarters: Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution”
    4 p.m., January 23, 2020 in Strong Hall Auditorium (room 100)

    Amy Shell-Gellasch, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Eastern Michigan University
    “Scientific Devices at the Smithsonian: An Insider’s View”
    4 p.m., January 30, 2020 in Strong Hall Auditorium (room 100)

    Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
    "The Many Lives of Mermanjan Maughan: Gender, Empire, and Storytelling"
    4 p.m., March 5, 2020 in Strong Hall Auditorium (room 100)

    April Calkovsky, University Advising and Career Development, Eastern Michigan University
    "Pathways from History to Your Future"
    4 p.m., March 12, 2020 in 301 Pray-Harrold

  • 2018–19 Speakers

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    Eric Hemenway
    Director of Archives and Records, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
    “Our Voices from the Past Carry Us into the Future: A Conversation on How a Tribal Archives Works in Today’s Field of Historical Interpretation”
    4–5:30 p.m., Thursday, September 13, in Halle Auditorium (G03)
    Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology with support from the Center for Multicultural Affairs

    Gregory Evans Dowd
    Helen Hornbeck Tanner Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan
    “Tales of Bales of Scalps: Fake News as Historical Fact”
    4–5:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 9, in Halle Auditorium (G03)

    Marlous van Waijenburg
    Michigan Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar and Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Michigan
    “Africa Rising? A Historical Perspective”
    4–5:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 7, in Halle Auditorium (G03)
    Co-sponsored by the Department of Economics

    Tracy Neumann
    Associate Professor of History, Wayne State University
    “Remaking the Rust Belt: The Postindustrial Transformation of North America”
    4–5:30 p.m., Thursday, January 24

    Mary-Elizabeth Murphy
    Associate Professor of History, Eastern Michigan University
    “Jim Crow Capital: Women and Black Freedom Struggles in Washington, DC, 1920-1945”
    4–5:30 p.m., Thursday, February 21, in Halle Auditorium (G03)
    Co-sponsored by the Department of Women's and Gender Studies

    Joseph Ho
    Assistant Professor of History, Albion College
    “Shot-Countershot: Visuality, Documentation, and Experience in Wartime China, 1937-1945”
    4–5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 7


  • 2017–18 Speakers

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    Professor Dario Gaggio, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    “Landscape Tales: Narrating Place in Tuscany from Fascism to the Present”
    Monday, September 25, 2017, 4:15-5:15 p.m., Halle Library Auditorium

    Professor LaShawn Harris, Michigan State University
    “Madame Queen of Policy: Stephanie St. Clair, Harlem’s Number Racket, and Community Advocacy”
    Thursday, November 9, 4:30-5:45 p.m., Halle Library Auditorium

    Professor John Ellis, University of Michigan, Flint
    “The Children of the Dragon: The Welsh and British History”
    Thursday, February 8, 4-5:15 p.m., Halle Library 300

    Professor Molly Gower, Saint Mary’s College of Indiana
    “The Heart of Peace: Christine de Pizan and Christian Theology”
    Tuesday, March 13, 4:15-5:30, Halle Library 300

  •  2016–17 Speakers Expand dropdown

    Kidada Williams, Wayne State University
    “Engaging the Histories of Racial Violence to Understand the Charleston Killings”
    Co-Sponsored with the College of Arts & Sciences

    John Merriman, Yale University
    “The Origins of Terrorism in Fin-de-Siecle France: States, Anarchists, and Violence”

    David Wagner, EMU M.A., 2010
    “Chasing the Soviet Mirage: The Appeal of Russia to Americans in the 20th Century”

    Matthew Cook, EMU Department of Geography & Geology
    “Counter Narratives and African American Historical Geographies”

    Stephen Ward, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    “Ideas in Movement(s): James and Grace Lee Boggs, the ’67 Detroit Riot, and Revolutionary Theory”
    Co-Sponsored with Philosophy and Women’s & Gender Studies

    Colin Gunkel, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    “Mexico on Main Street: Transnational Film Culture in Los Angeles before World War II”

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