History Department

From the Chair

Faculty members in the Department are committed to excellence in narrative and analytical historical reading and writing. They offer a variety of services to students who wish to improve their reading or writing skills, or who wish to pursue a historical problem in more depth than class time permits. Students may also study with members of the faculty on independent reading or research projects. —Marie Marianetti

Click here for the History Department's mission statement.

Faculty Spotlight

Chuck Wooldridge has been teaching in the Department of History since 2008. A specialist in Chinese history, Professor Wooldridge also teaches courses on Modern Japan, East Asia, and global history, notably the history of piracy. He received his M.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington and his PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. He is also co-director of the Modern China Seminar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University.

Professor Wooldridge became interested in China after taking a class at Swarthmore College in 1990.. Many of his classmates had been in China and Taiwan the previous year, when the iron curtain had fallen in Europe and tanks had turned on protestors in Tiananmen Square. Everything about Chinese history seemed relevant to questions about contemporary events, and that connection meant that he would often stay up late into the night with classmates, baking cookies and talking about China. In teaching, he tries to help students make connections between the past and the contemporary world, using in particular online resources to emphasize global connections.

Professor Wooldridge’s past research has mostly concerned the Taiping War, a conflict that lasted from 1850 to 1864. The leader of the Taiping, Hong Xiuquan, sparked the war by declaring himself the younger brother of Jesus and proclaiming that people’s prior religious practices, as well as their loyalty to the ruling Qing Dynasty, were merely the product of demonic delusions. The battle between the Taiping and defenders of the Qing destroyed several major cities and killed upwards of 20 million people. His book, City of Virtues: Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions, is a history of the city of Nanjing before, during and after the war. The book examines the ways a series of visionaries, including the Taiping, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city.

You can see an interview with Professor Wooldridge for the Asia Society by clicking here.

News and Announcements

After acting as the History Department's administrative assistant for more than 25 years, Irene Pizzolongo retired this past August. Irene started at Lehman in the Nursing Department in 1985 and joined History in 1988, where she always did whatever she could to help students and faculty succeed. Irene offered invaluable assistance to the four chairs under whom she served: Jack Judd, Duane Tananbaum, Tim Alborn, and Marie Marianetti; and to the many college assistants and work-study students whom she supervised.Many of us in the department also got to know Irene's late husband Bill and her large and lively family. We wish her well in her retirement and we know she'll make the most of it!

Joseph Lawlor, who graduated cum laude this spring with a History BA, was accepted in the CUNY Washington DC internship program, which offers housing and a stipend for a rewarding experience in our nation’s capitol. He worked this past summer at the Commerce Department in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, where he helped roll out President Obama's Investing in Manufacturing Communities partnership program, reached out to local officials for National Manufacturing Day, and compiled a database of contacts in Native American tribes. Besides his work at Commerce, Joseph met the President and several Cabinet Secretaries.

Joseph Costello
, a student in the History MA program, has been accepted for a Gilder Lehrman Summer Institute at Mount Vernon on George Washington, led by the eminent American historian Gordon Wood.

Phi Alpha Theta welcomes five new members
Five Lehman History majors have been inducted this spring in Phi Alpha Theta, the national History Honors Society: Starr Butler, Elizabeth Hansen, Jormary Melo, Stephanie Trinidad, and Michelle Zimmer. Click here for more information on the society, including guidelines on applying for membership.

Students: check out these useful resources! Click the "Information for Students" tab on the left for tips on how to create proper footnotes and bibliographies, a guide to writing theses and long research projects, and more!

Please visit our new Alumni Page (click here for the link). We're currently collecting information on the exciting careers of our former students, and will be posting them as they come in!

Visit History on Facebook!

facebookThe History Department now has a facebook presence: click here to learn more about its programs and events, and to join faculty and students in conversations about the past.

Click here to read about Faculty recognition award recipients in History (2010-11).



Last modified: Nov 9, 2015

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