Department of History: A banner year for books, a revealing self-study and a leadership transition
Looking back on the 2017-2018 academic year, Professor Katherine L. Jansen reflects on the Department’s continuing successes. Professors in the Department published a remarkable seven books over the past twelve months. A departmental self-study that took place as part of a university-wide renewal process confirmed, again, that History is one of the strongest programs on campus. At the end of the summer, Professor Jansen handed on the responsibilities of department chair to Professor Michael Kimmage. Read the chair's letter
Alumni profiles: It's all about information
To study history is to learn how to find, analyze, and write about information of all sorts. In this issue of our newsletter, six alumni of the Department who work in wide-ranging information-focused career fields reflect on the relationship between history and what they do now.
Alison Gerber, B.A.1990 Editor and Director of Content, Chattanooga Times Free Press
"When you study history, you study societal shifts and transformations; intractable societal problems; how political beliefs are shaped; the influence of religion and politics on society and culture; how movements form, and how they succeed or fail; how technology shapes and changes social structures; how economies rise and fall. In journalism, we do the same sort of research on the communities we cover."
Gerard Stegmaier, M.A. 1997
Partner, Reed Smith LLP; adviser and attorney, information security
"While at Catholic University, I learned how to argue using information, especially information derived from data, using techniques and disciplines that were either brand new, or brand new to me. The History Department took my interest in how technology and information could be applied to problem-solving and amplified it through an intensive, 18-month distillation process, and it did so at just the right time: the dawn of the Internet Age.”
Jill (Fisk) Tornifoglio, B.A. 2011
PR Manager, Echo Amazon
“One of the major things that any communications professional needs to deal with is issues – how do you see around corners to prepare for issues, anticipate media questions and mitigate issues when they do arise? The ability to think critically about a situation and how that situation may evolve is an absolute necessity. History majors are taught how to do that every day, to analyze actions of the past and the impact on the future."
Jean-Claude Lovius, B.A. 1991
Information analyst, IT support services, World Bank Group
“Go through this process enough times and you may gain a tendency to not just accept superficial or obvious explanations, but to look for the unseen connections and habitually look for creative answers. This changes how you approach solving problems, or in my case how to best deliver training solutions, how to anticipate my clients’ needs, and how to think analytically after closely examining all factors in a given situation. Being a computer guy with a natural curiosity enhanced by my training as a history major has been a good mix for me."
Connie (Gallerizzo) Poulos, B.A. 2009
Digital Media Specialist, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
“Studying history has really had an impact on my life as I learn about current events and topics. I loved that I was encouraged to explore and think for myself. As a history major, you learn never to sit back and accept the narrative they’re trying to sell you without first looking at all the angles. This is something that I’ve kept with me to this day.”
Philip Thorell, B.A. 2012
Onboarding Officer, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
“The skill that has benefitted me the most from studying history is the ability to convey a message with the information that is available. In a fast-paced industry such as finance, stakeholders need succinct and accurate information quickly, so the ability to identify, locate, analyze, and convert information into a message is key."
Department of History highlights, 2017-2018
Awards and distinctions for our faculty, undergraduate history majors, and graduate students; unveiling a new digital presence; alumni news; and more! Read the highlights
What's on your bookshelf?
We asked our history professors for recommendations for the most interesting books they’ve read recently and would suggest to anyone interested in history. Have a look at what they’ve come up with – we think they’ll intrigue you! See the recommendations
“History Matters” Fall Lecture Series
During the Fall 2018 semester, the Department of History is presenting a series entitled “History Matters”. Inspired by recent events, “History Matters” will investigate some tough, timely topics in an effort to demonstrate how deep and careful historical investigation of the past can inform present debates. Installments include a lecture about the uses and misuses of the Middle Ages in current politics and culture, a presentation by Mitch Landrieu (Catholic University class of 1982 and formerly mayor of New Orleans) of his new book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History (November 7th) and a panel discussion on the history of immigration (December 5th). About the series