January 27, 2021

Al-Tikriti Monitors Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

From 11 December 2020 to 16 January 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Long Term Observer (LTO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

In the course of this five week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti interviewed local leaders of all five recognized Kazakh parties; met with civil society activists; discussed election administration with government officials at the rayon (district), oblast (province), and city levels; and administered fuel and financial logistics for his five person team. In addition, he was able to visit the Otyrar ruins (the first city destroyed by Çingiz Khan’s Mongol army in their westward drive), the Ahmed Yesevi shrine,and the Ahmet Yesevi Turkish-Kazakh International University (TÜRTEP) in Turkistan city.

Together with his senior LTO partner, Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed several weekly reports, election observation forms, spot rally reports, and other observation requirements mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Mr. Shakir Uluu and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s interim report, and final report, which will be released in a few weeks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks the colleagues who served with him in Shymkent, as well as all the wonderful Kazakh officials, activists, and election colleagues whom he was fortunate enough to meet in the course of this election observation.

Al-Tikriti Speaks on Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

On 18 December 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke at a conference entitled “XII-XV əsrlər Ön Asiya və Qafqaz bölgəsinin tarixi-etnoqrafik məsələlərinə baxış / Perspectives on Historical and Ethnographic Issues Concerning 12th-15th Century Western Asia and the Caucasus Region.” The international conference, offering presentations in Azerbaijani Turkish and English, was hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan, and took place entirely online.

The title of Al-Tikriti’s presentation was “Observations on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’s 10 November Resolution.” Addressing a mostly Azerbaijani audience, in the course of this talk, Prof. Al-Tikriti offered the following points about the recent conflict’s current ceasefire and steps for longer term resolution:

1) He has never seen as bitter a conflict as this one, and he has witnessed several well-known conflicts.

2) The mass hatred all around must be brought to an end, sooner rather than later.

3) The huge difference between what is said for international consumption and what is said for domestic consumption needs to be reduced.

4) Both sides are living in parallel realities, and the discrepancy between those parallel worlds must be reduced.

5) The weaponization of historical memory must be put to an end, and both sides must stop pretending like the other side doesn’t exist.

6) Azerbaijan should now act generously, because if they repeat Armenia’s earlier mistake of being content with triumphantly maintaining a frozen conflict, it will come back to haunt them some day, due to shifting factors domestically and internationally.

7) Both sides may have now opened themselves up to increased Russian-Turkish neo-imperialism — if they desire genuine independence, they must negotiate directly with each other.

8) War crimes are unacceptable, and must be prosecuted — otherwise, no good will is foreseen.

9) The 2006 Julfa destruction was unacceptable, and should be both punished and restored to the extent possible.

10) As a sign of good will, Azerbaijan should open up rail lines, transport links, etc.

11) Azerbaijan should negotiate granting Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy.

12) Both sides should secure external peacekeepers (i.e. not Russian or Turkish) to guarantee both the Lachin and Zangezur corridors.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s thanks the organizers for this opportunity to present his reflections on the recent conflict, and hopes that a just peace will soon prove viable in the South Caucasus.

Moon Discusses Alexandria Neighborhood in The Washington Post

Professor of History and Director of American Studies Krystyn Moon

Professor of History and Director of American Studies Krystyn Moon

Professor of History and Director of American Studies Krystyn Moon offered comments to The Washington Post on Lenox Place, a quiet townhome community in Alexandria’s Arlandia neighborhood, close to where Amazon’s second headquarters is being built in Crystal City. Past president of the Alexandria Historical Society, Moon has written papers on Alexandria history and participated in an event entitled, “From Arlandria to Chirilagua: The Remaking of a Northern Virginia Neighborhood, 1960s- 1980s,” as part of Episcopal High School’s community engagement program.

But not all Arlandrians are as receptive to their new neighbors. Known as “Chirilagua” after a town in El Salvador, Arlandria is a diverse community with a sizable Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran and Mexican population. “It is like the world in microcosm,” said Krystyn Moon, professor of history and American studies at University of Mary Washington. Read more.

Poska Earns Grant from the Social Science Research Council

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska earned a COVID-19 Rapid-Response Grant from the Social Science Research Council, in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation and with the support of the Wenner-Gren, Ford, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations. These highly competitive grants went to 62 recipients – out of 1,300 internationally who applied – for projects from across the social sciences and related fields that address the social, economic, cultural, psychological, and political impact of COVID-19 in the United States and globally, as well as responses to the pandemic’s wide-ranging effects. Dr. Poska’s paper was entitled, “Convincing the Masses: Global Public Health and Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803-1810).” The grant money will mainly be used by Dr. Poska to acquire archival material in Peru, where she had planned to conduct research if the pandemic had not hit.

The abstract reads:

In 1803 Charles IV of Spain initiated a campaign against smallpox, opening vaccination rooms across the peninsula and sending the cowpox vaccine around the globe with the Royal Philanthropic Expedition. This global examination of Spain’s smallpox vaccination campaign analyzes the dynamic between the purveyors of the vaccine and the potential recipients. On both the peninsula and around the globe, the vaccination campaign engaged the diverse populations of the Spanish empire: men and women, rich and poor, Africans (both free and enslaved), Indigenous Americans, Filipinos, mixed-race peoples, and whites (both Spanish and American born). The campaign challenged deeply rooted race and gender hierarchies and asserted new claims to governmental authority. I intend to examine how each of these groups asserted their own expectations about bodily authority and governmental control as they accepted or rejected the vaccine. I have already conducted archival research in Spain and Mexico, but my plans to conduct research in Peru this summer were halted by Covid-19.  This project relates directly to the current Covid-19 as public health authorities grapple with the challenge of encouraging hundreds of millions of people of all races, classes, and cultures to submit to a novel vaccine for a novel virus. This research will result in a series of peer-reviewed articles and a book manuscript.

Harris Publishes Article on the Soviet Jet Age

Photomontage celebrating the Jet Age in the Soviet magazine, Grazhdanskaia aviatsiia, no. 12 (1963).

Associate Professor Steven E. Harris (HISA) recently published the following peer-reviewed article: “Dawn of the Soviet Jet Age: Aeroflot Passengers and Aviation Culture under Khrushchev,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 21, 3 (Summer 2020): 591-626.

In this article, Harris examines how representations of the ideal Soviet passenger became a central feature of aviation culture under Khrushchev and bolstered the state’s broader goals of advancing mass consumption, embracing the scientific-technical revolution, and fighting the Cold War. The research and writing for this article and the broader book project on which it is based were generously funded by an A. Verville Fellowship at the National Air & Space Museum and multiple grants from the University of Mary Washington, including a Waple Professorship. Many of the themes in Harris’s article are also featured in the exhibition, “Cold War Friendly Skies,” which is on display at the entrance to Simpson Library.

Bonds Mentioned in FLS Article on Rt. 1 Name Change

Associate Professor of Sociology Eric Bonds was mentioned in an article on the Fredericksburg City Council’s resolution to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway, a measure that was approved 6-1. The General Assembly will discuss the name change at a special session in August. History and American Studies Associate Professor Will Mackintosh has also been a driving force behind the current effort, Bonds said.

Bonds and two students in his political sociology class had asked City Council to make the change because of Davis’ role in the Civil War and the fact that he’d owned more than 100 slaves during his lifetime.

The request evolved out of Bonds’ desire for the students to do a community involvement project that would help them develop democracy skills and not simply vote in an election and then tune out. The class overwhelmingly voted on the renaming project, and researched Davis and the history of the naming of the highway after him. Read more.

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider.

The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award.

The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution in secondary schools. It will allow Ulmschneider to pursue a second master’s degree while he continues to teach gifted high schoolers at his other alma mater, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

Two of Ulmschneider’s previous fellowship applications resulted in his being named a runner-up. Undiscouraged, he kept applying, a process that included a lot of essay-writing. “I felt like my students do when they’re filling out their college applications,” he said.

His own education at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School – and the Advanced Placement credits he earned there – allowed him to focus on his academic interests almost immediately at UMW.

“The advising system was wonderful, and it’s one of the things I took away from Mary Washington,” said Ulmschneider, who double majored in history and philosophy with a minor in religion, and joined the University’s club fencing team. Read more.

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider. The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award. The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution […]

UMW Community Works with City on Freedom Rides Historical Marker

Last fall, UMW students and city residents retraced the route of the Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by James Farmer. Members of the UMW community are working with the City to establish a historic marker on the site of the old bus station in Fredericksburg, the Freedom Riders' first stop on their 1961 trip. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Last fall, UMW students and city residents retraced the route of the Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by James Farmer. Members of the UMW community are working with the City to establish a historic marker on the site of the old bus station in Fredericksburg, the Freedom Riders’ first stop on their 1961 trip. Photo by Lynda Allen.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams, Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin and Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Christine Henry were interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about their efforts to work with the City of Fredericksburg to establish a Virginia state historical marker at the site of the old bus station where the Freedom Riders stopped first in their quest to desegregate interstate transportation in 1961. The station formerly stood on the corner of Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, near where the fire station is now.

Some of the riders were arrested in North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. In Anniston, Ala., a mob of Ku Klux Klan members slashed the bus’s tires as it attempted to leave the terminal, and later threw a firebomb at it.

UMW students and staff and community members visited the field where the bombing occurred last fall, as part of a trip recreating the journey of the Freedom Riders.

“To our surprise, there was no marker out there. No historical marker saying that right here, the original 13 Freedom Riders were fire-bombed,” said Chris Williams, assistant director of UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center, which organized the trip. “I was enraged and so were the students.”

Back home in Fredericksburg, Williams was still thinking about ways the story of the Freedom Riders and James Farmer could be told better—and that led to the idea of placing a highway marker at the site of the old bus station.

Williams, Devlin and Henry, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg, have started the process of applying for the marker from the state Department of Historical Resources. Read more.

Poska Presents to Center for Disease Control

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Dr. Allyson M. Poska, Professor of History, presented her research on the first vaccination efforts in the Spanish Empire to the Center for Disease Control’s Immunization Division.