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History | Faculty News

Dr. Smelyansky New Book Published

Eugene Smelyansky’s new book, Medievalisms and Russia: The Contest for Imaginary Pasts (Arc Humanities Press, 2024) has been published. The book explores how the medieval past has been wielded to propagandic effect in Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia. From politicians’ speeches to popular culture, from Orthodox Christianity to neo-paganism, the medieval Russian past remains crucial in constructing national identity, mobilizing society during times of crisis, and providing alternative models of communal belonging. Frequent appeals to a medieval Slavic past, its heroes and myths, have provided―and continue to provide―a particularly powerful tool for animating imperialist and populist sentiments.

Dr. Miller and Dr. Spohnholz Article Published

Brenna Miller and Jesse Spohnholz just published a new article: “Backward Design and Forward Thinking in the Introductory World History Course: Recentering World War I as an African and African Diasporic Experience.” World History Bulletin 89, no. 2 (2023) as part of a Special Issue dedicated to “Democratizing, Diversifying, and Decolonizing the World History Survey.”

Dr. Miller Wins Excellence in Teaching by Career Track Faculty Member Award

Brenna Miller has won the  Excellence in Teaching by Career Track Faculty Member Award. The award is designed to specifically honor career-track faculty members who epitomize the highest levels of performance and excellence and who provide a vital role in teaching WSU students in the pursuit of the university’s goals and thereby in the fulfillment of its mission.

Dr. Spohnholz New Book Available

Jesse Spohnholz’s new co-written book, Dutch Reformed Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire, c.1550­-1620: A Reformation of Refugees (University of Rochester Press, 2024) has been published. There’s a copy in the Departmental Office in Pullman, and the book is also available open access at The book is the final product of the project he co-directed from 2015 to 2023 based at the Free University Amsterdam and funded by a €750,000 grant from the Dutch Research Council.

Dr. Booth Stage Reading of Antíkoni

Dr. Ryan Booth appeared in a stage reading of Beth Piatote’s (Nimiipuu) latest play entitled Antíkoni. It is an adaptation of the Greek tragedy, Antigone. In this telling, the Plateau worldview is on clear display and is very much an Indigenous take on colonization, assimilation, NAGPRA, and other timely issues. The story originally appeared in Dr. Piatote’s award-winning book of short stories called The Beadworkers.

The reading occurred at The Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center at Gonzaga University. It was sponsored by the Native American Studies Program. It will live on the Internet until June 30, here is the link:

Dr. Spohnholz and Dr. Miller Win NEH Grant

Jesse Spohnholz and Brenna Miller have been awarded a Humanities Initiatives at College and Universities grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The two-year grant, “Writing History Curriculum for the 21st Century” offers course releases to WSU History faculty to turn existing or new lessons for History 105 courses into two-week teaching modules for the History for the 21st Century project that Spohnholz and Miller are working on. The two also just got back from the AHA, where they presented on writing student-centered curriculum for introductory world history courses, based on their experience designing and teaching the first around of teaching materials for History for the 21st Century.