Lending a Hand in the History Department

Anyone who has ever stopped by the main office of the History Department on the first floor of Battelle-Tompkins will quickly grasp just how important the hard work and dedication of its administrative staff is to the smooth operation of the department. Whether it’s juggling the complexities of the course schedule, balancing the budget, or planning department events, administrative assistants Gabriella Folsom and Sara Gerard-Sharp run the ship with a steady and capable hand. But they are not alone. Working closely with Sara and Gabriella are student assistants supported by federal work study grants that allow them an opportunity to earn money while gaining valuable experience in a unique office setting. 

Sophomore history major Erin Swartz has worked as a student assistant in the
History Department since fall semester of her freshman year.

One these assistants is Erin Swartz, a sophomore history major who is interested in Russian and Eastern European history. Erin has worked as a student assistant in the History Department since fall semester of her freshman year. “Most of what I do are odds and ends,” she says, “such as tracking purchases on the department credit card and creating flyers to advertise courses for the upcoming semester.” During the hectic course registration season, Erin tracks course enrollments and flags those that would benefit from some more advertising to potential students. She also focuses on some of the smaller touches that make instructor offices a more welcoming place to visit, such as creating pumpkin name plates in the fall and updating office hours signs each semester. 

Erin Swartz and Callen Wallace with Prof. Anton Fedyashin staffing the History Department booth at Preview Day.

Occasionally the job requires some heavy lifting—like when professors switch or vacate offices during sabbaticals or extended administrative appointments. It may seem a daunting task to carry hundreds of hardback tomes across the halls of Battelle, but Erin is up to whatever task comes her way. “I honestly really love my job,” she says, “and you don’t hear too many people say things like that. It can be hard to find your place in college, but through this position I’ve been able to become part of a larger community and find my place within the university.” 

Sophomore Callen Wallace is pursuing a dual degree in history and political science.

Working closely alongside Erin is Callen Wallace, a sophomore who is pursuing a dual degree in both history and political science. Callen devotes most of his time to overseeing the department’s website and updating its social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. He often sits in on media interviews with faculty that are held on campus. By taking his own photographs and notes during the event, Callen can later highlight quotes and visuals on the departmental website and social media accounts that did not make it into the published media feature. “I love doing this sort of work,” Callen says, “and always say that it doesn’t even feel like coming to ‘work.’ We have a good time every day here in the office and feel very supported in this role.” 

When not helping out in the main office, Erin and Callen enjoy taking as many history courses as they can fit into their schedules. Some of Erin’s favorites have been Andrew Demshuk’s course on modern European history, Gautham Rao’s course on U.S. constitutional history, and Anton Fedyashin’s course on the Soviet Union. Fedyashin also serves as Erin’s faculty advisor for her honors research project, in which she hopes to take a closer look at the development of Ukrainian folk dance in the Soviet Union as a form of fostering a new national identity during the 20th century. “I really enjoy learning about parts of the world that don’t get as much attention,” she says. After graduation, Erin hopes to attend graduate school and continue her studies on Eastern European history. Callen is more interested in North American history, and says he “cannot imagine a future in which graduate school isn’t involved.” 

AU Alum Keeps Memory of Holocaust Alive

Eisen is frequently invited to give public speeches about the Holocaust and her own experiences growing up as the child of a Holocaust survivor.

The first time Anna Salton Eisen ever heard her father speak about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp was in an AU history class. In the early 1980s, Eisen took a course taught by retired professor Richard Breitman on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. “That was the beginning of a personal journey of discovery that has continued to the present day,” Eisen said. When she told Prof. Breitman her father was a Holocaust survivor, Breitman invited him to come and speak to the class. “I had never heard my father speak about the Holocaust before,” she said. “It always seemed like something forbidden to talk about in my childhood. But I think he was waiting to be asked.”

After she graduated from AU in 1984 with a degree in public communications and a minor in history, Eisen moved to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and quickly became a pioneer in the field of Holocaust public education. In the nearly four decades since taking Prof. Breitman’s course, Eisen has found her voice as the child of a Holocaust survivor. “There aren’t many Holocaust survivors left anymore,” she said. “So we in the second generation, as the children of survivors, are trying to figure out what our responsibility is to educate and inform the public.” In 2002, Eisen helped her father write The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir (2002), which has just been reissued in a 20th anniversary edition. She is currently producing a documentary, In My Father’s Words, which also draws from her most recent book, Pillar of Salt: A Daughter’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust, released in May 2022.

Eisen was invited to the White House to attend a Hanukkah celebration in December 2022.

Working to maintain awareness of the experiences of Holocaust survivors forces Eisen to confront a disturbing set of challenges. In the course of public speaking engagements at schools, commemorative events, and in the media, Eisen often has to endure personal threats to both her own safety and that of her family and friends. In January 2022, an Islamist terrorist took hostage four members of the Congregation Beth Israel, which Eisen helped found. Though the crisis was resolved without injury to the hostages, it serves as a constant reminder of anti-Semitism and its devastating consequences. “This used to be history, but now it is current events,” she said. With the re-emergence of anti-Semitist beliefs into popular media discourse, peddled by a small number of influential celebrities and other social media influencers, Eisen’s work is even more urgent than before. “I don’t know if what we’re doing is working or not,” she says, “but bullying not confronted becomes empowered.”

From Doctors to Farmers: Prize-Winning Paper Explores Lives of Jewish Refugees

AU graduate student Andrew Sperling, whose paper on Jewish refugees in the American South won the Mark and Ruth Luckens International Prize in Jewish Thought and Culture.

On March 24, 2022, AU graduate student Andrew Sperling gave a much anticipated talk to a rapt virtual audience at the University of Kentucky. The talk was based upon a paper that Sperling completed in Prof. Kate Haulman’s research seminar the previous year: “‘Living on a Sort of Island’: Jewish Refugee Farmers in the American South.” It follows the unique experiences of Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who came to the United States during the rise of the Nazis in the run-up to World War II. But there was a catch: these particular refugees, who had once made their living as doctors, lawyers, and businessmen in dense European cities, would now be settled in rural communities and taught to farm the land.

Refugee farmers working at Hyde Farmlands in Burkeville, Virginia. Eva Loew Family Papers (RG-185), Virginia Holocaust Museum, Richmond, Virginia.

Drawing upon a wide range of diaries, memoirs, and other correspondence, Sperling analyzed their struggle to adapt to these new circumstances and their determination to succeed in an unfamiliar occupation. “So much of the scholarly literature on Jewish refugees has focused on government policy,” Sperling said. “But we know less about the actual lived experiences of these refugees once they get into the country. I wanted to find personal testimonies and highlight the human drama behind government policy.” In recognition of his groundbreaking work, the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kentucky honored Sperling by awarding his paper its annual Mark and Ruth Luckens International Prize in Jewish Thought and Culture. The award, given to “the best unpublished original essay” written by a graduate student or recent Ph.D., comes with a $500 prize and opportunity to give a keynote talk on his research.

Helen, Walter, Manfred, and David Loeb at Van Eeden, in Burgaw, North Carolina. Manfred and Ann Loeb Collection (P0029), University of North Carolina Wilson Library, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Sperling is now starting to undertake research for his dissertation under the tutelage of Prof. Pamela Nadell, who serves as his advisor. “I really wanted to work with Prof. Nadell,” Sperling said. “She is one of the best scholars in American Jewish history, and the program felt like a good fit for me.” Living in Washington, D.C. is also invaluable, with easy access to institutions such as the Holocaust Museum. For his dissertation, Sperling is researching American Jewish responses to anti-Semitism espoused by extremist groups such as the KKK and American Nazi Party during the middle decades of the twentieth century. “So much has been written about antisemitism,” he says, “but there is much less research about the extremist angle. I want to assess Jewish perceptions of these groups.” Once he completes his Ph.D. at AU, Sperling hopes to pursue a career in academia.

AU History Alum Wins Prestigious Book Award

Last month the Jewish Book Council announced the winners of their National Jewish Book Awards. Among the winning books was AU alum Wendy Lower’s The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed (Mariner Books, 2021), which was awarded the top prize in the category of Holocaust Studies. Dr. Lower received her Ph.D. from the AU History Department in 1999 while studying under Richard Breitman and is now John K. Roth Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. In Spring 2021, AU’s Jewish Studies Program and the Center for Israel Studies brought Dr. Lower to AU (virtually, of course!) to give a talk on her book.

The Untold History of the Equal Rights Amendment

AU History alum Rebecca DeWolf

Before she earned her Ph.D. in history, AU alum Rebecca DeWolf poured her time and energy into politics. Prior to pursuing on a master’s degree in early modern European History at George Washington University, DeWolf worked on several political campaigns, including then Senator Hillary Clinton’s re-election bid to the Senate in 2005–6. But it was a desire to gain a better understanding of the origins and development of major political issues that inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. at AU.

In her first year as a graduate student, DeWolf discovered her passion for research and teaching. “I had the great luck of being a teaching and research assistant for Dr. Allan Lichtman,” she said. “He taught me great techniques in how to teach history and how to give great lectures.” Outside of the classroom, DeWolf was able to gain valuable research experience by accompanying Prof. Lichtman to the manuscript room in the Library of Congress. “What he showed me was how to do archival work from a historian’s point of view,” DeWolf recalls. “He showed me how to go through massive amounts of collections and how to take notes, organize them, and develop an analysis. It was because of him that I came to the ERA.”

DeWolf and her dissertation advisor Allan Lichtman during her AU graduation in May 2014.

The ERA is the Equal Rights Amendment. First introduced to Congress in 1923, the ERA was intended to eliminate legal distinctions between men and women in many areas of daily life, including employment, divorce, property rights, and other matters. DeWolf first became interested in the history of ERA political debates when Dr. Lichtman asked her to give a guest lecture on the topic to his undergraduate students. She was surprised to learn that many students did not seem to be aware of the implications of the amendment or its relevance to their daily lives.

DeWolf’s book on the history of the Equal Rights Amendment was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2021.

As a result, she decided to write a dissertation on the complex history of political opposition and support for the ERA. She then revised her dissertation in a book, Gendered Citizenship: The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920–1963, which was published in 2021 by University of Nebraska Press. It has already been met with rave reviews, with DeWolf in high demand for media interviews. “Media depictions of the ERA debate often portray it as if it was some sort of catfight among women,” DeWolf said. “But the political coalitions were once much more diverse on both sides than they are now, and the role of men is all too often written out of the narrative.”

DeWolf hopes that her book will educate people of all political persuasions about the nuanced history of the ERA and its prospects for the future. “I didn’t write this book to necessarily push people to support the ERA,” she said, “but rather to help people understand the political and gendered implications of their arguments, why people think the way that they do, and why things played out the way they did.” In addition to her research on the ERA, DeWolf is also active as a public media figure, maintaining an online blog (Out of the Tower) and frequently offering her perspective on current political issues related to women’s rights. She still resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is currently formulating a second research project on Elsie Hill, a leading suffragist in the twentieth century who played a vital role in the drafting of the ERA in 1921.

Bridging the Research Gap

AU graduate Ivan Grek, who defended his dissertation on civil society in modern Russia in August 2020.

Over the past year and half, as the Covid pandemic closed borders and put a halt to long-distance travel, many scholars have been forced to put their research agendas on hold. For those who depend upon access to archives in foreign countries, on-site research has been difficult to conduct. Ivan Grek, a recent graduate of the doctoral program in AU’s History Department, has come up with an ingenious solution. It’s called “The Bridge Research Network,” and it helps scholars gain access to archives throughout the former republics of the Soviet Union without actually having to visit in person.

Grek, who in August 2020 defended his dissertation, “Illiberal Civil Society in Russia, 1992–2012,” says he came up with the idea while attending the 2018 convention of the Association for East European and Slavic Societies in Boston. “Everyone was complaining about how difficult it is to travel from the United States to Russia to conduct archival research,” he said. “The visas, the long flights, the cost—it was just so difficult and expensive to do research in Russia.” Thinking back to his time in the pharmaceutical industry, where he helped organize clinical trials, Grek saw firsthand how pharmaceutical companies outsource research abroad. So he decided to apply those methods to archival research.

The result is The Bridge, which now facilitates access to archives in fourteen countries throughout post-Soviet states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. For a modest fee—far cheaper than organizing a research trip in person—The Bridge will draw upon Grek’s extensive network of freelance researchers to visit archives in person and procure digital images of documents. They will also help to conduct on-site interviews and obtain hard-to-find primary and secondary sources outside of archives. “Our researchers are scholars themselves,” Grek says, “so they know how to formulate research questions and look through archival files with a critical eye.” The Bridge also offers help with translation services. The Bridge developed an in-house electronic archive with autotranslation function, engages software that enables word search in pictures in any language, and uses other tools that allow for the overcoming of language barriers. “If you need KGB sources from Lithuania in the local language, we can get the sources and you can work with them even with no knowledge of Lithuanian. We ease those language barriers.” The Bridge can also handle more expansive research agendas. “If you have fifteen questions and you need to find answers for them from the archives of eight different countries,” Grek says, “we can do that within 2-4 weeks.”

Mugshot of a Ukrainian engineer who received payments in North Korean ginseng root in exchange for intelligence. Archives of the State Security Service, Ukraine.

Grek’s research network has already uncovered fascinating—and occasionally humorous—revelations in the archives. From the former KGB archive in Ukraine, “we learned how North Koreans once recruited an engineer from a factory in Kiyv.” According to Grek, they promised the engineer money, but soon shifted to payment in ginseng roots and vodka, healing extracts, and paintings from North Korea. “In the declassified reports, Ukrainian KGB agents were basically making fun of this guy for accepting payment in ginseng.” And in another humorous find, The Bridge uncovered sage advice from a 1970 KGB manual for its agents in Finland: “Sweater. It doesn’t go in pants.” Apparently, tucking a sweater inside your pants is a dead giveaway that you are not a local!

Instructions from a KGB training manual for agents in Finland: “Sweater. It doesn’t go in pants.” “Byt i Nravy Naseleniia Finlialndii” [Daily life and Customs of the Finns], 1970.
Though Grek’s early clients were mostly doctoral students working on their dissertations, The Bridge has now expanded to work on field work for documentaries, research cosponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, partnered with a number of research institutes, and awaits for the decision of the National Science Foundation to sponsor a large project based on The Bridge’s proposal. Historians, political scientists, and sociologists have all found The Bridge to be a great help in facilitating greater access to relevant research materials. “Scholars have always been hiring assistants in foreign countries and delegating tasks abroad,” Grek says. “The Bridge is designed to streamline this process and make the collaboration between professors and research assistants more efficient and affordable.”



History Career Night Explores Future Pathways for Majors

On March 10, 2021, the AU History Department hosted a virtual “Career Night” event for majors and prospective majors. More than thirty students turned out to engage a diverse panel of former AU history majors who talked about their own experiences after graduation. Panelists included those who work in the federal government, those who work as research consultants for private companies, high school teachers, graduate students, and the Smithsonian Institution, among others. Department Chair Eric Lohr opened up the session by noting that history majors cultivate tangible skills that are in perennial demand in the marketplace. Not only that, but studies have also shown that over the long term history majors end up making higher salaries than many other majors that are often viewed as more “applicable” and “relevant” after graduation, including business and economics.

As several panelists noted, the key is getting history majors to learn how to promote the skills they cultivated as an undergraduate student. Justin Broubalow, who graduated with an AU history degree in 2009, pointed out that many people have little idea what exactly historians can do other than recite the battles of the Civil War. “But history is actually a way of thinking rather than a means of compiling facts,” Broubalow observed. “We can evaluate evidence, know when to take something at face value, when to investigate further, and when to synthesize. We know how to approach and solve a problem.” Elizabeth Charles, who now works as historian for the federal government, also emphasized the organizational skills of historians. “Don’t sell yourself short,” she reminded the audience. “We have lots of marketable skills.” It is thus important for history majors to learn how to highlight these skills when applying for jobs and how to talk about them with potential employers.

Several of the panelists also encouraged history majors to be proactive in seeking out people and opportunities in the Washington, D.C. area. Reza Akbari, now a Ph.D. student in the AU History Department, provided advice on how to break into the policy and think tank world. While reaching out to accomplished professionals may seem intimidating at first, Akbari noted, most are eager to offer advice about how they got where they are today. “Anyone in D.C. has been where you are right now,” he said. “People are understanding. They remember being exactly where you are today.” Elizabeth Charles echoed that sentiment. “Talk to the people who have the jobs that you think you might want to do. Don’t be intimidated by titles and institutions. Most people will be very happy to talk about their jobs.”

AU History Alum Revisits Love, War, Cambodia, Vietnam, and a Career in Journalism

Fall 1969 syllabus for HIST 29.342-C, “Introduction to Asian Histories I.”

As an AU junior in the Fall of 1969, Jim Laurie took a course that inspired him: HIST 29.342-C: “Introduction to Asian Histories I.” The first of a two-semester series taught by four instructors, this course prompted Laurie to drop out of college and jump on a plane to Asia. “My classes at AU piqued my interest in Asia,” he said. “But textbooks were not enough. I had to see it for myself.” He would not return for four years, later graduating in 1973. “When I left AU, I was an ordinary undergrad,” he said. “But when I returned one professor referred to me as ‘a mature student who had seen the world.’”

Blue books haven’t changed much in fifty years.

Laurie, who is waiting out the global COVID pandemic in rural Maine, has just published a book that reflects on his lengthy career in journalism and the many fascinating peoples and places he reported on both during and after his time at AU.

In The Last Helicopter: Two Lives in Indochina (FocusAsia, 2020), Laurie recounts the dramatic story of his time in Cambodia and Vietnam during and after the Vietnam War. After dropping out of AU, Laurie went to Japan, where he worked as a copy editor for English-language publications associated with Expo ’70, a world’s fair held that year in Osaka. Then after a brief stint in Hong Kong, where he realized the impossibility of gaining entry to Maoist China, Laurie was lured to Saigon by the offer of $250 per week to cover the Vietnam War for a small radio news network owned by Metromedia. Days later he was on his way to Phnom Penh after President Nixon launched a military “incursion” widening the war into Cambodia. The Last Helicopter narrates the next five years, during which he fell in love with a Khmer woman named Soc Sinan, returned to Vietnam in 1975 to report on the Communist takeover of Saigon, and worked tirelessly to extricate Soc Sinan from the killing fields of Cambodia. The book alternates between two unique perspectives. There is the account of the young reporter learning his craft and deepening his knowledge of Indochina. In contrast to that, there is the compelling first-person account of Soc Sinan as she struggles to survive what she called her “prison without walls” under the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

WAMU staff in 1967. Jim Laurie is third from the left, second row.

Laurie’s career in journalism put him on the front lines of the wars in Southeast Asia. “Ironically, I probably saw more combat in Vietnam as a reporter than if I had been drafted into the military,” he said. Laurie’s time at AU as an undergraduate student in history had helped prepare him for the real-world encounters he would experience abroad. Back then, Prof. David Brandenburg, for whom the annual Brandenburg Lecture is named, was chair of the history department. He encouraged Laurie to focus on Asian studies, particularly the French colonial period in Indochina. While taking history courses, Laurie also worked part time for WAMU, the local campus radio station that would later gain a national profile through its affiliation with NPR. “I was a student who had to work as well as study,” he says, admitting that he was not on campus all that much. AU’s campus looked very different back then, Laurie recalls, with today’s dormitories under construction and overflow students like himself obliged to live in the McLean Gardens neighborhood just south of the university, down the hill along Massachusetts Avenue.

After his turbulent time in Cambodia and Vietnam, Laurie later turned his attention back to China, which was then undergoing the early phases of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms and pursuing renewed engagement with the capitalist world.

Jim Laurie on the microphone at WAMU, the campus radio station, in 1967.

He first visited China in 1978, got the opportunity to interview Deng in 1979, and accompanied Deng’s delegation to the United States on the Chinese leader’s historic four-city visit in February. Over the next two decades, Laurie would meet or interview numerous influential Chinese politicians, including Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin. He is currently writing a second memoir chronicling China’s opening up and contrasting it with the nation today and his most recent wanderings across China in late 2019.  Reflecting on a lengthy and decorated career, Laurie points to the Asian history course he took way back in 1969 at AU. “I just wanted to take a path less traveled,” he observed, “and that’s why I went into Asian studies as an undergrad.”

History Major Analyzes Emotional Theater in Politics

We are living in an era of unprecedented political passions on both ends of the spectrum. With emotions running high, voter participation in our democratic system has never been greater—as was clearly demonstrated by the 2020 presidential election. But what sort of a role do our emotions play in such political engagement? This was the question that Richard Norman decided to tackle in his senior thesis in Spring 2020. As a case study, he took a closer look at the Black Panthers and their rise to political prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Amid the trying conditions and restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Norman was able to make use of a digital archive of the Black Panther, a periodical published every week from 1966 to 1980. In its pages, Norman repeatedly encountered mention of two emotional discourses: anger and altruism. “These were two parallel emotional trends that got utilized for strategic purposes,” Norman said. “On the one hand, they harnessed the justified anger of their community to redress various grievances, while simultaneously promoting the ideal of altruistic behavior as a means of caring for that same community.”

Norman’s research led to a very important insight about the evolution of political movements. In short, while political engagement may be initiated by emotional responses to social and economic circumstances, effective political action tends make strategic and sophisticated use of those very same emotions as a form of political theater. “All human groups of all sizes create norms about emotional expression and how and when they should be felt,” Norman said. “Thinking of a political community as a type of emotional community allows us to view groups like the Black Panthers from a new perspective.” Throughout his research, Norman benefitted from close collaboration with faculty members in the History Department such as Christopher Petrella, who taught “From Black Power to Black Lives Matter,” and April Shelford, who taught a historiography seminar on the history of emotions. “Prof. Shelford was an immense help throughout the entire research process, and I would meet with her every two weeks to go over my research and ideas,” Norman recalled. “She was really helpful in teasing out things that were promising and pointing out which ones didn’t make much sense. This helped me to narrow my focus.”

With his AU degree now in hand, Norman plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in history, where he hopes to study the history of radical thought and politics in the United States during the twentieth century. He says that one possible direction will be to apply insights from his senior thesis at AU into an examination of the gay rights movement. “We might be able to learn how two very different political movements interacted with one another and made innovative use of the politics of emotions to achieve concrete political results.”

Senior Thesis Explores the Politics of Memory in Belfast

The Belfast Cenotaph next to City Hall.

In order to graduate with a degree in history, every student in the major must devise and complete an original research project during his or her senior year. Many take advantage of the wealth of local archives and resources located in the Washington, D.C. area. But some cast their net much wider. Such was the case with Katie Kerekes, who graduated from AU this past spring with a dual degree in History and International Studies. For her senior thesis, Kerekes conducted research on the Belfast Cenotaph in Northern Ireland. Erected in 1929 to commemorate those who had fought and died for the United Kingdom during World War I, the Belfast Cenotaph, located right next to City Hall, quickly became a contested site of competing local agendas and identity politics.

Kerekes visiting the ruins of Inch Abbey in County Down, Northern Ireland.

In order to explore these issues further, Kerekes embarked on two separate extended trips to Belfast. The first was in the summer of 2018, when as a study abroad student at Queen’s University Belfast she met with local experts to discuss the politics of commemoration and memory in Northern Ireland. She found that the Belfast Cenotaph was viewed as a flash point between those who wanted to remain loyal to the UK—mostly politically powerful Protestants—and the often disempowered Catholics who didn’t. With the rise of “the Troubles” in the 1960s, the cenotaph became the target of activists who were born long after World War I and wished to use it as a symbol of their own struggles. In order to make use of local archives, Kerekes returned to Belfast in January 2020 with the financial support of the department’s Valerie French and Robert Beisner History Education Fund award. “I’m incredibly indebted to the History Department for providing the funds for my research trip to Belfast,” Kerekes said. “It enabled me to consult public records in Northern Ireland, including the minutes of the war memorial committee from the 1920s.”

Since graduating from AU, Kerekes has been working as a visitor services assistant at the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall. She sees direct parallels between her research on the Belfast Cenotaph and the contested public narratives represented in museums such as the one she now helps to facilitate access to. “Especially right now, people are very interested in the stories that this museum has to tell,” Kerekes said. “I’m glad this museum is open again to continue the dialogue on the history of racism in the United States.” Looking ahead, Kerekes intends to pursue a career in academia or the non-profit sector, where she can continue to apply her research and writing skills first honed in the classroom and field. “I really want my career to be focused on the questions of why we remember the things that we do, and what the implications of that remembering are for peace and social justice.”