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News & Events: Colloquia & Events

Spring 2014 Events

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Thursday, February 27

2:30 pm, HH 467

What Can I Do With A History Major?

Resume & Cover Letter Workshop

A history major teaches you more than just names and dates. Studying history builds skills in research, writing, critical thinking, information analysis and cultural intelligence. But how do you translate those skills into the work world?

Join us for this resume and cover letter workshop, where you will learn how to market yourself and the skills you've learned while studying history. Staff from the career development office will give advice on resumes and cover letters specifically for history majors and minors.

This workshop will take place as part of Professor Howard's HIST 294 course, and all history majors and minors, and prospective history majors and minors, are warmly invited to attend. You do not need to have a resume with you to attend. Refreshments will be provided.


Wednesday, March 19

3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Kate van Liere (Calvin College)

"Redeeming the Pagan Past in Renaissance Christian Spain"

Renaissance European society was unreservedly Christian, but Renaissance scholars became fascinated with their culture's pre-Christian roots. They scrutinized classical texts, excavated ancient monuments, and rewrote local and national histories to incorporate a wealth of new knowledge about the pre-Christian and early Christian centuries. The Spanish crown actively supported the work of these humanist history writers, seeing national history as useful propaganda. Between 1543 and 1586, two royal chroniclers, Florián de Ocampo and Ambrosio de Morales, published the General Chronicle of Spain, the most extensive account of Spain's ancient and medieval history yet written. It represented "the Spaniards" as a proud, ancient people. But this vision posed some interpretative challenges: Spanish identity had become inseparable from the Castilian monarchy and Roman Catholicism, yet the ancestral "Spaniards" celebrated by Renaissance chroniclers were neither monarchists, imperialists, nor Christians. The first Hispani were pagan tribalists; their Roman conquerors savagely repressed Christian worship; and the Visigoths who created Spain's first Christian monarchy were largely heretics, usurpers, and tyrants. Ocampo and Morales used a range of historiographical strategies to turn these problematic predecessors into worthy ancestors of the Roman Catholic subjects of the Habsburg monarchs - some classical, some medieval, and some that still characterize national history writing today.

Calvin history professor Kate van Liere was on sabbatical leave in Princeton, NJ for the 2012-2013 academic year, researching and writing a book on the Spanish historian Ambrosio de Morales and the development of humanist scholarship, Christian thought, and history writing in sixteenth-century Spain.


Wednesday, April 16

3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Larry Eskridge (Wheaton College)

"'Jesus Knocked Me Off My Metaphysical Ass': LSD, Counterculture, and the Origins of the Jesus People Movement in the Summer of Love"

The Jesus People movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, with its sunny images of beach baptisms and well-scrubbed, "One Way" button-wearing youth, had a tremendous impact upon the evangelical subculture's relationship to youth and popular culture. The movement paved the way for the spread of the come-as-you-are, "seeker-friendly" megachurch model that dominated the 1980s and beyond. This lecture will explore the less well-known origins of the Jesus Movement in the heart of San Francisco's Haigh-Ashbury amid the promise and squalor of 1967's "Summer of Love," and the unlikely combination of hip and square that triggered a "Jesus Revolution."

Larry Eskridge is the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE). He has been with the ISAE since 1988 and served as adjunct faculty in the history department at Wheaton College since 1992. He is the author of a book on the Jesus People movement of the 1960s and 1970s, God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America (Oxford University Press, 2013), which won Christianity Today's "Book of the Year" award and took the top spot in the history/biography category.

Cosponsored by the Mellema Program in Western American Studies and the History Department.


Tuesday, May 6
Wednesday, May 7
& Thursday, May 8

3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Calvin History Honors Presentations: A Three-Day Symposium

Students graduating with honors in history will present their senior honors theses in this three-day symposium. Find out more about each presentation and read abstracts here.

Tuesday, May 6
  • Madi Goodman, "Struggles with Identity: Russian and Qing Conquest in Central Asia."
  • Nathan Slauer, "John Dewey and Republicanism."
Wednesday, May 7
  • Christine Bennett, "Hong Kong Triad Films and the 1997 Handover."
  • Kristin Fidler, "Reading the Signs of the Times: German-speaking Catholic Theologians Address Secularization in the Post-Vatican II Era."
  • Justin Ooms, "Who's 'Right'? Perspectives on the Freedom Party of Austria."
Thursday, May 8
  • Spencer Cone, "Compelled to Action: American Involvement in the Smyrna Refugee Crisis of 1922."
  • Rachel Hekman, "'We Know Not What to Believe': Faith and War in the Confederate Woman's Experience."
  • Jess McGhee, "Believing without Seeing: How Society in the United States Shaped the Concept of the Influenza Germ during the Pandemic of 1918."

Co-sponsored by the Honors Program.


Friday, May 9

3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

African & African Diaspora Studies Student Presentation

Shannon DeJong, "The Haitian Diaspora: Harnessing Homeland Relationships for Community-Based Development"

Haiti’s substantial diaspora population remains closely connected to the homeland and contributes significantly to the wellbeing of Haitians, particularly through the sending of remittances.  However, diaspora-homeland relationships could be further strengthened and harnessed to lead to more productive, sustainable development in Haiti.  By acknowledging their role in the traditional framework of lakou, a relational space where work is shared, and constructively engaging with the Haitian government and society, the Haitian diaspora would inspire accountability and more effectively empower Haitians to become agents of their own transformation, thus contributing to lasting positive change in Haiti.

Sponsored by African & African Diaspora Studies.


Wednesday, May 14

3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

End of the Year Awards and Party

Join us in celebrating the end of a year of hard work. Our scholarship winners will be recognized with award certificates and a chance to meet and thank the donors. There will be a game of "History Cranium," where you'll guess the historical figure or event through drawing, charades, or Taboo-style explanation.

And of course, there will be food... this is the 2nd Annual History Ice Cream Social!

Several of the scholarship donors will be present to congratulate the winners. Scholarship winners are expected to attend.



Fall 2013 Events

Wednesday, September 18

Celebrating a New Biography by James Bratt
"Abraham Kuyper for the 21st Century"

Abraham Kuyper was a giant in his time, and has been a major influence on Calvin College. But now what? What questions, challenges, and opportunities does his work raise for us today? How might James Bratt’s biography help us answer these questions?

History professor James Bratt, along with Tracy Kuperus and Nicholas Wolterstoff, will discuss his new book, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat.

Cosponsored by Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship (CCCS) and Eerdmans Publishing Company.


Wednesday, October 16

S. Lily Mendoza (Oakland University)
"Back from the Crocodile's Belly: Christian Formation Meets Indigenous Resurrection"

In this talk, Filipina intercultural communication scholar, S. Lily Mendoza grapples with the question: What happens when the “One True Story” encounters other faith stories? Riffing off her newly-released (coedited) anthology, Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory (dedicated to the memory of the Filipino indigenous women and men healers impaled on stakes by early Spanish missionaries and left on river banks for crocodiles to feast on) Mendoza narrates her personal journey growing up as a Methodist pastor’s kid, becoming a born-again believer and an aspiring Christian missionary trained by Philippine Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and the Navigators, and belatedly coming to grips with her relationship to her country’s colonial history and its consequences for her and her people’s struggle for wholeness and authenticity. Informed by a rich cultural memory bearing shades of Jonah’s story in the belly of the whale, she traces her faith learnings from encounter with deep ancestry in the “belly of the beast” and its larger significance for today’s struggle for sustainability and global coexistence.

S. Lily Mendoza is Associate Professor of Culture and Communication at the Department of Communication and Journalism, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan. She is the author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities.

Cosponsored by the Nagel Institute, Asian Studies, CAS, Gender Studies, and Religion.


Monday, October 21

Michael Bullington (Senior Manager, McDonald's Golden Archives)
"Liberal Arts Majors: 'Go For It' in the For-Profit Marketplace"

Michael Bullington will speak on his career as a history major, his decision to seek employment in the corporate sector, and his work as an archivist for McDonald's Golden Archives. He will provide encouragement and advice for liberal arts majors to "go for it" in the for-profit marketplace.

Bullington is a certified archivist and is the senior manager for McDonald's Golden Archives. He is responsible for ensuring that the legacy of the McDonald's brand is preserved in the Archives, Heritage Hall in Hamburger University, and at the #1 Store Museum in Des Plaines, IL. He also works with the media relations team as an expert spokesperson on McDonald's history.

Prior to joining McDonald's, Bullington served as an archivist for Kraft Foods Inc. and Rush medical Center. He served as President of the Academy of Certified Archivists and he is the past Chair of the Illinois State Records Advisory Board. He is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists, the Society of American Archivists, the Midwest Archive Conference, and the Chicago Area Archivists. Bullington holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Illinois State University.

Cosponsored by CAS and the Career Development Office.


Friday, November 1

Career Development Panel
"The History Major in the Work Place"

"What can you do with a history major?" is one of the most common questions we hear from incoming students and concerned parents. Perhaps you've been considering a history major, but wonder what your career prospects might be and what kind of work you can find if you don't want to go into teaching.

This event will specifically address that question and look at career options for history majors who do not go into teaching or academia. Career counselors from the Career Development office will facilitate the discussion and provide more information about their services. A panel of Calvin history alumni will discuss their career paths and how their history major prepared them for work outside of academia. History majors and those considering majoring in history won't want to miss this talk!

The alumni panelists are:

  • Eric Kamstra ('11), manager of annual fund special programs at Calvin College
  • David LaGrand ('88), attorney with LaGrand & Lowery PLLC, owner of Wealthy Street Bakery, and involved in local politics
  • Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra ('07), liaison librarian to the Area Studies and Religious Studies departments at GVSU
  • Jen Vos ('12), customer service associate at the Grand Rapids Public Museum


Wednesday, November 20

Robert Schoone-Jongen (Calvin College)
"Immigrants in No-Man's Land: Two Tales of Land Deals, Waterproofing, Big Pots, and the Great War"

Theodore F. Koch and his erstwhile partner, Nicolaus Jungeblut, both came to the United States during the great Minnesota land boom of the 1880s. They fared well financially and became naturalized American citizens, but they remained deeply connected, both socially and economically, to German financiers. When the United States entered the First World War in 1917, Jungeblut found himself trapped in Germany, while Koch rode out the war years in Texas. Both of them had their assets confiscated by their adopted country. both were twice cursed--as traders with the enemy and as immigrants married to German wives. Their stories spotlight the shadowy transfer of wealth the Great War precipitated, economic scars that never healed, and the chasm between idealistic wartime rhetoric and the thievery it cloaked.

Professor Robert Schoone-Jongen was on sabbatical in the fall of 2012 and spent the time researching and writing a biography of Theodore Koch. He visited archives in the Netherlands, Germany, Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota and traveled to Koch's European homes and the sites of his American colonies. Find out more about Robert Schoone-Jongen and his work here.

Cosponsored by the Mellema Program in Western American Studies.

Wednesday, December 4

Jordan Davis (Senior Thesis Presentation)
"On the Trail to Bartolo: Toward a Reflexive, Non-Reductive, Rematerialized Theory of Religion along the Undocumented Migrant Journey in the US-Mexico Borderlands"

Graduating history major Jordan Davis will present the results of his senior project, which was supervised by Professor Bert. De Vries.

Jordan Davis's research is based on fieldwork conducted during the 2013 Undocumented Migrant Project (UMP) field season, a long-term anthropological study based at the University of Michigan. Utilizing historical, ethnographic, and contemporary archaeological data, he will examine three undocumented migrant religious shrines in the Bartolo Mountain Region of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Drawing from Manuel A. Vásquez’s contributions toward a reflexive, non-reductive, rematerialized theory of religion, a semi-narrative structure will be developed to contextualize the three Bartolo Mountain shrines within the clandestine social process of undocumented migration between Mexico and the United States.



Find out more about past events, including recordings and .PDFs of some presentations.


Join us on Wednesdays

History lectures are usually on third Wednesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. in the Meeter Center lecture hall, unless noted at left.

The final colloquium of the year is a special presentation by our graduating Honors students, who present the results of their year-long thesis research.

History colloquia are open to the Calvin community—
students, alumni, faculty, and friends—and all are encouraged to attend.

The Meeter Center lecture hall is on the third floor of Hekman Library, off the library lobby.

Come early to enjoy refreshments and conversation and to get a good seat.