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Michael Gordon Memorial History Graduate Conference

History in Times of Crisis: Uses of Emotion, Identity, Memory and Nostalgia

Friday, April 28-29, 2023

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*All panels are in central time*


Friday April 28


Check in-Union 260

*11:00-12:00pm*– Union 260

Panel 1: Local History and Storytelling: Changes in Land and Emotions

“Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse: Importance of a Grass Roots Approach”

Nick Miller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Emotions in a New Key: Eduard Bernstein and the Politics of Emotions in the German Social Democratic Party”

James Hassett, Northwestern University

“Fantastic beasts and where to find them, or an Ottoman traveler in the New World, 1675-1683”

M. Fatih Torun, Indiana University, Bloomington

Moderator: Rachel Buff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*12:30-1:30* -Union 260-Virtual

Panel 2: Understanding Memory through a Lens of Sex and Gender

“Considering the Sickness of My Children, My Heart Was Exceedingly Sunk”: Fatherhood and Children’s Health in Early New England, 1660-1785”

            Libby LeDoux, Colorado State University

“The Education of Elizabeth Coalter”

            Sydney Miller, The Ohio State University

“‘Medicine is a jealous mistress’: Women Doctor’s Contributions to the British Suffrage & Women’s Rights Movements”

            Danielle Wirsansky, Florida State University

“‘We want them to question society’s blueprint for the couple’: Anti-Amatonormativity in Gay Liberation”

Moira Armstrong, Birkbeck, University of London

Moderator: Anna Rohl, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*1:45-2:45* -Union 260-Virtual

Panel 3: Memory, Health, and Violence

“Inverse Identities: Reading Identity and Memory through Bangladeshi History”

            Pooja Yadav, University of Delhi

“Agniug’s Other History: Exploring the Contribution of Anti-Imperial Revolutionary Movements in India’s Freedom Struggle”

Shriya Dasgupta, Pondicherry University & Oyeshi Ganguly, Hertie School of Governance (Berlin)

“Environmental Conditions and Health Risk of African American Communities near The A.M. Byers Company”

Nick Brothers, West Virginia University

“A Formal Feeling Comes’: Affective Dimensions of Mass Mortality in American Media”

Kat Fox, University of California, Los Angeles

Moderator: Dr. Greg Carter, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*3-4pm* -Union 260-Virtual

Panel 4: Identity and Culture in the Early 20th Century

“Reconciliation Over the Graves: The Volksbund, and Germany’s Culture of Defeat in Post-War Europe”

Sean Hough, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“‘Enemy Aliens’: Treatment of German-Americans During the First World War”

Hannah Lau, Stephen F. Austin State University

“National Health Without a Nation: The Myth of Rome and Cultural Politics in the Italian Social Republic”

            Johnathon Keller, West Virginia University

“Exploring the Nostalgia of Florida’s New Deal with the Law Guide Florida Progress Interactive Mural”

            Lyn Hemmingway, University of Georgia

Moderator: Dr. Brian Mueller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*4:15-5:15*-Union 260- Virtual

Panel 5: Memory and Identity through Art

“More Than a Peasant Language: How Western Ideas and Literature Influenced Maksim Bahdanovich and Lesya Ukrianika’s Poetry”

Olga Yatsenka, American River College

“The Sacred Mystic: St. Catherine of Siena’s Piety, Stigmata, and Holy Anorexia In Baroque Art.”

Michelle Avila, California State University, Dominguez Hills

The Next Generation: Cross-Referencing Symbolism between Salvador Dali and Giselle Mariel Ibarra

            Lily Milhailovic, El Camino College

Moderator: Brianna Quade, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee   

Saturday, April 29

*8:30-9am* -Union Fireside Lounge

Check in and light breakfast


Panel 6: History in Crisis: Use and Misuse-Union 191

“Textbook Representations: African American and Mexican American Historical Representations from 1965-1980”

Monique Hyman, Florida State University

“The misuse of the Pre-modern History in Contemporary World: The Case of Ghana”

Phinehas Asiamah, Eastern Illinois University

“9/11 to 9/39: IIR Alumni Research and the Power of Nostalgia”

Elizabeth Spaeth, Indiana University

“Inherited Nostalgia and Cruel Optimism in Joan Didion’s Run River”

Wesley Viebahn, University of California, Santa Cruz

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Shumway, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

*10:15-11:15 *

Panel 7: Sexuality, Gender, and Race- Union 191

“Beverly LaHaya and the Religious Right’s Sexuality-Based Identity, 1976-2000”

Alexander Obermueller, University of Erfurt

In the Shadow of Paragraph 175: Gay Representation in Holocaust Media

Elaina Nelson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Performing History, Identity and Gambhira Performance”

Dolon Sarkar, Jawahalal Nehru University, New Delhi (virtual)

“Kanak Women and New Caledonian Sovereignty Claims”

Marissa Gavin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Moderator: Dr. Nan Kim, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Lunch and Virtual Keynote- Streaming Union Ballroom

Nostalgia, Identity, and Public Memory: Commemorating Traumatic Histories at National Park Service Sites, Dr. Jennifer Ladino

This talk explores three National Park Service (NPS) historical sites to examine how they construct national identity and manage visitors’ emotions while commemorating violent events in U.S. history. NPS sites feature a nostalgic aesthetic, present in their rustic architecture, trail maps, and signage, and the quaint, traditional uniforms with the iconic “Smokey Bear Hat.” This aesthetic works against recent NPS efforts to chronicle a wider range of histories by feeding into white patriotism and elegizing, obscuring, or erasing Indigenous histories and presences. 

Dr. Jennifer Ladino’s teaching and research focuses on representations of nature—understood as landscape, symbol, everyday environment or simply “space.” She has published articles on a range of American authors and texts, including Marianne Moore’s poem “An Octopus,” Zitkala-Ša’s “American Indian Stories,” Ruth Ozeki’s “My Year of Meats,” Sherman Alexie’s “Ten Little Indians,” Wallace Stegner’s “Angle of Repose” and the documentaries “Grizzly Man” and “March of the Penguins.” Her monograph, “Reclaiming Nostalgia: Longing for Nature in American Literature,” was published in 2012 by the University of Virginia Press and was a finalist for the ASLE Book Award. The book traces a genealogy of nostalgia for nature in American literature and culture since 1890. Dr. Ladino spent 13 summers working as a park ranger in Grand Teton National Park, including six seasons working in the Office of Public Affairs, writing press releases and other materials.


Panel 8: History and Memory of World’s Expositions and Statehood-Fireside Lounge

“The Once and Future Khmer: French Representations and Accounts of the Indochinese During the Interwar Years”

Zachary Long, Ball State University

“Cairo Sreet: America’s Tangled Embrace of Arab-Islamic Egypt at the World’s Columbia Exposition of 1893”

            Willow Tomkovicz, Loyola University Chicago

“‘Good as a Trip to the Philippines’: The Black Press’s Response to the Imperial Arguments made at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition’s Philippine Reservation”

Anna Rohl, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Making a Modern State: Alaskan Statehood, Natives, and Modernization Ideology”

Ethan Hartwig, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Moderator: Jaclyn Kelly, Executive Director, Wisconsin Labor History Society



Lessons from the Past: Wisconsin Workers Reflect on Our History

Jaclyn Kelly, Kenneth Germanson, Joanne Ricca, John Fleissner, Gerald Gunderson, and Marty Horning

In 1886, seven workers were killed in Milwaukee marching for the eight-hour day, making it the bloodiest event in Wisconsin labor history. Since 1986, the Wisconsin Labor History Society has commemorated the tragedy with a well-attended event at the site. We’ll explore with local trade unionists why they attend and participate year after year, and how this annual ritual brings clarity and perspective to their struggles on the shop floor.


Panel 9: Uses of Memory through Visual Culture-Fireside Lounge

“The POW/MIA Issue as Ideology: Autonomic Certainty, the League of Families, and the US National Security State, 1968-1992”

            Alex Trahan, University of Chicago

Racism Against Black Soldiers During and After WWII

Michael Shumway, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“’Poor Feminine Claribel with Her Hundred Songs’: Ballads, Royalties, and the Birth of Popular Music in 1860s England”

Whitney Thompson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

“The Material Soul of a Nation: The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces and the Reinvention of the Soviet Past”

Jonathan Adsit, Northern Illinois University

Moderator: Nick Miller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Michael Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. Before joining UWM’s department of history in 1987, Dr. Gordon worked as an oral historian and archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He published articles on labor and public history. His book, The Orange Riots: Irish Political Violence in New York City, 1870 and 1871, was published by Cornell University Press in 1993. He retired in 2011. During his time at UWM, Dr. Gordon helped prepare students for careers in public institutions, historical agencies, and other professions. Dr. Gordon passed away on October 5, 2020.

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