Faculty in the News

rubin-chair-1The Department of History welcomes Professor Barry Trachtenberg to our faculty in the Michael H. and Deborah Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History. Professor Trachtenberg (second from left) received his Presidential Chair Medallion from President Nathan O. Hatch (right) at a luncheon honoring him and the Rubins. Dr. Mike Rubin (left) has taken a number of courses in our department after a distinguished medical career; Debbie Rubin (second from right) is an active volunteer and board member of cultural institutions in Winston-Salem. Both are great friends and supporters of Wake Forest. The Department is honored by this gift and excited to develop the field of Jewish history under Professor Trachtenberg’s leadership.

wilkins_sAssociate Professor Charles Wilkins was interviewed on WBUR and NPR’s Here & Now, where he discussed the history and culture of Aleppo prior to the conflict in Syria. As he described in his interview, “I can hardly put into words my emotions in seeing this city brought to its knees in this way.” Listen to the podcast of the program here.



Associate Professor John Ruddiman discusses the Broadway musical, Hamilton, on the Humanities Institute Podcast. Click here to check out Jake Ruddiman’s take on the musical–what it gets right, what it leaves out, and what may have captivated Lin Manuel-Miranda’s imagination.


Associate PLisa Bleerofessor Lisa Blee has received a Teaching Innovation Award for 2015 from Wake Forest University’s Teaching and Learning Center in recognition of her First Year Seminar on nature, environments, and place in American thought.


R resized imageAssociate Professor Rais Rahman has received the Stroupe Faculty Fellowship to support research in 2016-2017.



Assistant Professor Stephanie Koscak was awarded the 2016 Nathan and Julie Hatch Research Grant for Academic Excellence, funding a week of study at the Summer Research Institute, Harris-Manchester College, Oxford University.



Professor in the School of Law and Adjunct Assistant Professor of History Muriel Beth Hopkins retired after 30-plus years at Wake Forest University. Professor Hopkins will continue to teach her popular History course, “Race and the Courts.” Read about it here.


moniqueAssociate Professor Monique O’Connell published a new book, The Mediterranean World: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Napoleon.  (Co-author Eric Dursteler, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016). Read about it here.


Coates_picAssistant Professor Benjamin Coates was awarded the 2016 Brinkley-Stephenson Award from the Organization for American Historians for his essay, “Securing Hegemony through Law: Venezuela, the U.S. Asphalt Trust, and the Uses of International Law, 1904-1909” (September 2015). This award is given annually for the best article that appeared in the Journal of American History during the preceding calendar year. Read more about it here.


CaptureAdjunct Assistant Professor Muriel Beth Hopkins received the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Dare to Make a Difference Award” in recognition of her efforts for human and civil rights. Read about it here.



Zhang photo at CHUS Award Ceremony

Associate Professor Qiong Zhang received the 2015 Academic Excellence Award of the Chinese Historians in the United States (2015) at the 2016 meeting of the American Historical Association for her book Making the New World Their Own: Chinese Encounters with Jesuit Science in the Age of Discovery (Brill, 2015).



Adjunct Assistant Professor Muriel Beth Hopkins reflects on her life-long love of tennis in the November issue of the North Carolina Lawyer magazine. She serves as the chair of the Constitution and Rules Committee of the United States Tennis Association (USTA). She also discusses teaching history classes about diversity, race, and law. Read the full essay here.


hellyer photo august 2010Associate Professor Robert Hellyer Published and Op-Ed on America’s Changing Attitudes toward Justice in the L. A. Times. Read Professor Hellyer’s full piece here.

PIB photo HDIndia’s Vice President Hamid Ansari helped launch Associate Professor of History Rais Rahman’s book at an event in New Delhi on July 21, 2015. Professor Rahman’s book, Locale, Everyday Islam, and Modernity: Qasbah Towns and Muslim Life in Colonial India was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. Read more about it here.

new DeanProfessor Michele Gillespie, Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History, has been named Dean of the College, with academic oversight for the undergraduate school of arts and sciences.  Read more here.

Associate Professor Lisa Blee received a Teaching Innovation Award from Wake Forest University’s Teaching and Learning Center in recognition of her First Year Seminar on nature, environments, and place in American thought.


Ruddimann.Hefter.color_-200x300In a genealogical investigation segment on “Who Do You Think You are?” Assistant Professor Jake Ruddiman will examine an ancestor of actor Bill Paxton who fought in the Revolutionary War and live in the Early American Republic.  For more information, see The Learning Channel.


WFDD interviewed Lisa Blee regarding her project, “Release: From Stigma to Acceptance.”  This event was a Invitationcollaborative student-curated exhibit featuring the words and art of former offenders.  This project was the result of work by Wake Forest University students in Public History, a course taught in fall 2014 by Professor Lisa Blee. The opening reception for the exhibit was held on Saturday, January 17, 2015, from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Sawtooth School for Visual Arts on 251 Spruce Street N., Winston-Salem, NC.  This project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities with support from the Humanities Institute and Department of History at Wake Forest University.


Paul Escott has published two books in 2014: Uncommonly Savage: Civil War Remembrance in Spain and in the PDE onNCBSUnited States (Gainseville: University of Florida Press), and Lincoln’s Dilemma: Slavery, Racism, and Equality in the Civil War Era (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press).


At the February 20, 2014, Founders’ Day Convocation, two History Department professors won awards. ProCaronPlagemanFoundersDayConvocation2014fessor Simone Caron was awarded the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching and Professor Nate Plageman was awarded a URECA Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentorship in Teaching and Creative Work. Photos and a description of the event can be found here.


Michele GillespieMichele Gillespie has been named the first Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. Prof. Gillespie is being honored with this endowed position for her exceptional embodiment of the teacher-scholar ideal that is at the heart of the Wake Forest education.



Jake Ruddiman has been profiled by the Old Gold and Black. See the article here. Previous Deacon Profiles of our faculty include: Ken Zick, Beth Hopkins, Michele Gillespie, Charles Wilkins, Jim Barefield, and Tony Parent.


pennyPenny Sinanoglou has been awarded an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship for academic year 2013-14. She will conduct archival research on her second book project provisionally entitled, “Legally Subject: Contested Nationality and Subjecthood in the British Empire, 1870-1950.”


hughes1Michael Hughes won the Bryan/Groves Faculty Fellowship. This fellowship recognizes Professor Hughes’ outstanding record of teaching and scholarship.  He will hold this fellowship for two years, from July 2013 through June 2015.


hellyer photo august 2010 During the 2012-2013 academic year, Robert Hellyer received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to conduct research at the Newberry Library in Chicago for his in-progress book, “An American Cup of Green Tea: Made in Japan.” He also received a fellowship to continue that research during the summer of 2014 at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich, England.

blee23 Lisa Blee won the 2011-2012 Teaching Innovation Award for her class in Public History.  The Teaching and Learning Center deemed her class innovative because it challenged students to depart from their comfort zones by situating research, learning, and discussion outside of the university, and students learned about the field of public history by becoming public historians. Students learned much more about the bureaucracy, logistical complications, local politics, and the deep rewards of community-based research by witnessing and working through these issues on their own. She designed the course to be dynamic – to facilitate and respond to the students’ projects – in order to accommodate the unique challenges of original local research, in which the results are never guaranteed, but the process itself is illuminating.

Monique O’Connell has been awarded a short term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC from March 1-May 31, 2013.  While at the library, she will use Italian diplomatic papers from the 16th century to work on her book project “Constructing Narratives, Building Empire: Renaissance Republicanism and Venetian Expansion.”

Emily Wakild won the Alfred B. Thomas award from the Southeastern Council for Latin American Studies for her book, Revolutionary Parks. The selection committee announced the award at the annual SECOLAS meeting in Gainseville, Florida, held from March 29 to March 31, 2012.

Paul Escott received the Christopher Crittendon Memorial Award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (NCLHA) on November 18, 2011.  The NCLHA bestows this award annually to the person deemed to have made significant contributions to the preservation of North Carolina history.  Dr. Escott has contributed to the history of the “Old North State” through his support of the North Carolina Historical Commission and the Office of Archives and History as well as through his numerous books and articles on southern history.


Anthony S. Parent was the keynote speaker for Rosenwald Schools African Americans and Education Conference on Friday, April 29, 2011 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  His talk was entitled “With All Convenient Speed’: Educating the Enslaved.”

Historical discovery at MESDA:  Installations at a local museum have been newly identified as rooms from the house in Edenton, N.C., where Harriet Jacobs lived. Jacobs is the author of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” History professor Anthony Parent will bring the finding to light.  More »

Students in Professor Michele Gillespie’s America at Work class completed an oral history project in which they interviewed faculty and staff at Wake Forest University to record the varied work experience of over twenty members of the Wake Forest community.  To read more, see Wake at Work at http://inside.wfu.edu/news/wake-at-work-class-project-focuses-on-faculty-and-staff-work-experiences/)

The US Embassy in Madrid, Spain, interviewed Reynolds Professor Paul D. Escott on his research regarding the Civil War.  You can access the interview at http://www.youtube.com/user/USembassyMadrid