Program in American StudiesWestern Social Science

Faculty Research

California Gold Rush

A 1999 U.S. stamp celebrates the California Gold Rush of 1849.

New Books

Rob MacDougall (History) The People's Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age, University of Pennsylvania Press (December 2013).

Nina Reid-Maroney (History-Huron) The Reverend Jennie Johnson and African Canadian History, 1868-1967, University of Rochester Press (April 2013).

Thy Phu (English) Picturing Model Citizens: Civility in Asian American Visual Culture, Temple University Press (May 2012).

Aldona Sendzikas (History) Stanley Barracks: Toronto's Military Legacy was published in February, 2011 by Natural Heritage Press.

Aldona Sendzikas (History) Lucky 73: USS Pampanito's Unlikely Rescue of Allied POW's in WWII was released in March 2010. Published by University Press of Florida.

Don Abelson (Political Science) Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes, second edition (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009).

Works in Progress:

Geoff Stewart (History) is currently working on a book entitled The Vanguard of the Revolution: The Công Dân Vụ and Nation-Building in Ngô Đình Diệm’s Vietnam, 1955-1963.

Joseph Wlodarz (Film Studies) Unmaking Macho: Race, Gender, and Stardom in 1970s American Cinema and Culture (forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press) and The Baltimore Projects, which examines the use of Baltimore in film and television for the exploration of American identity and urban culture through the lens of racial, ethnic, and class conflict.

Norma Coates (Information & Media Studies) is currently at work on a book for Duke University Press about popular music on American network television from 1956, when Elvis Presley burst on the cultural scene, to 1981, when the cable channel was introduced. The book is a cultural and industrial history that focuses on the interaction and interchange between the music and television industries during formative times in the development of both.

Laurel Shire (History) is currently revising a book manuscript drawn from her research on U.S. expansion into Florida. Taming the Territory: Women, Settler Colonialism, and Indian Removal in Florida, investigates how racial and national projects relied on black, white and Seminole women as Florida shifted from an outpost of the colonial Atlantic triangle to an American state between 1821 and 1870.

Frank Schumacher (History) is currently at work on a biography of Theodore Roosevelt which explores the fascinating and multi-faceted life of America’s 26th president and seeks to explain his enduring bi-partisan appeal to the political discourse in the United States. His second book project The American Way of Empire: the United States and the Search for Imperial Identity, 1846-1946 explores the history of the U.S. colonial empire.

Rob MacDougall (History) Professor MacDougall's next book project is a history of pseudoscientists and cranks in 19th-century America, tentatively called King Crank.

Thy Phu (English) Feeling Photography, a collection of essays co-edited with Elspeth Brown, is forthcoming from Duke University.

Stephen Adams (English) is working on a book tentatively called The Patriot Poets: American Odes, Progress Poems, and the Public Mission of American Poetry. It traces these two related poetic genres from the colonial period into the twentieth century, as they reflect poetically on major crises in American History, from the Revolution (Freneau) to the Civil War (J.R. Lowell, Timrod) to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s (Tolson).

Don Abelson (Political Science) is currently working on a reference guide to public policy institutes in Canada.

Aldona Sendzikas (History) is currently working in conjunction with the Historic Naval Ships Association to compile an anthology of first-person accounts of navy life. She is also currently researching the experience of women in wartime, based on oral histories and first-person accounts--specifically, women left behind on the home front during WWII, and the experience of waiting for, communicating with, and learning to cope without a husband or son who was overseas.

Bryce Traister (English) is currently writing a book on the importance of female religious experience in colonial New England, 1630-1750; Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism. This book argues that female piety became a crucial site for imagining and re-imagining the ongoing significance of religious experience in a culture otherwise marching into the new pieties of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment.

Laura Stephenson (Political Science) is part of a major international research project investigating the workings of electoral democracy, 'Making Electoral Democracy Work'. The study will examine twenty-seven elections in five countries. Follow the link for a story in the Western News about Professor Stephenson's role in the project. International study eyes democracy. Posted April 11, 2011.

Monda Halpern (History) has a book currently in progress: Alice in Shandehland: Scandal and Silence in the Edelson/ Horwitz Murder Case. The book focuses on a 1931 shooting in the Ottawa Jewish community. Ben Edelson, a prominent jeweller, was accused of murdering fellow jeweller Jack Horwitz, who had been in a long-term affair with Edelson's wife Alice. After a sensational trial that captured the headlines of Ottawa newspapers, Edelson was acquitted of the charges. Professor Halpern is using this case to help illuminate trends in Ontario society related to the interconnected issues of ethnicity, gender, and class. In particular, she is examining reactions to the shooting by both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities, especially in the context of the anti-Semitism that pervaded Ontario in the 1920s and 30s. Posted March 2010.

Rob MacDougall is the holder (with William Turkel and Kevin Kee as co-investigators) of a SSHRC Image, Text, Sound, and Technology Grant entitled "History at Play: Gaming and the Ubiquitous Past" that aims to explore the use of roleplaying games, simulations, and augmented/alternate reality games to teach historical thinking, promote Canadian and American heritage sites, and deepen our engagement with the history that is all around us.