Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content
Doug Howard lecturesDoug Howard lectures

News & Events: Colloquia & Events

Don't miss an event! Become a fan of the Calvin College History Department on Facebook to stay updated on colloquia, social events, career talks, and more.

Spring 2016 Events

Wednesday, February 17
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

"Towards an Inner History of African-American Lives: A Perspective from the 1960s"

Randal Jelks (University of Kansas)

This discussion begins with the theologian and mystic Howard Thurman’s 1945 publication of The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death, a substantial body of writings by African Americans on faith and alienation from religious faith. This inner history, a term borrowed from the religious studies scholar Robert Orsi to describe the lived religious experience of Italian immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century in Harlem, New York, is to be found in the published works of African-American entertainers, athletes, and activists who have successfully published memoirs in post-WWII American life. In describing how these performers described their inner lives, this lecture argues that Americans can learns something important about the shaping of the individual self and what it means to live collectively in democratic societies.

Randal Jelks is professor of African and African-American Studies and professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas. He is also an ordained clergy person in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas, Dr. Jelks taught at Calvin College. His research and writing interests are in the areas of African American religious history, the African Diaspora, urban, and Civil Rights history. His award-winning books include African Americans in the Furniture City: the Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Schoolmaster of the Movement, a biography of Martin Luther King Jr's mentor Benjamin Elijah Mays.


Wednesday, April 6
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Doug Howard (Calvin College)

Details of this talk TBA.

Doug Howard is professor of history at Calvin College. His field of research is the history of the Ottoman Empire. He teaches courses on early world history, Middle Eastern societies, India, and U.S.-Middle East relations. He spent Fall 2015 on sabbatical.


Wednesday, May 4
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Honors Student Presentations

Students graduating with honors in history will present their senior honors theses. Please join us in celebrating their achievements by hearing their research.


Wednesday, May 11
3:30 pm, Meeter Center Lecture Hall

End of Year Awards and Party

Join us for a time to celebrate. Awards will be presented to scholarship winners. Some of the scholarship donors will be in attendance, so scholorship winners are strongly encouraged to be there. After the awards, we'll enjoy games and food, including an ice cream sundae bar.


Past Events: Fall 2015 Events

Wednesday, September 23

3:30 pm, Alumni Board Room (Commons Annex)

"Border of Lights: Remembering the 1937 Haitian Massacre"

Edward Paulino (John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY)

In 1937, the Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, ordered the slaughter of as many as 20,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in an ethnic cleansing on the Dominican-Haitian border. Border of Lights invites artists, activists, teachers, students, parents, and clergy to gather together to honor a tragedy long forgotten in the annals of 20th century genocidal history and unknown to many people.

Edward Paulino will discuss the 1937 massacre and the efforts by Border of Lights to commemorate, collaborate, and continue the legacy of hope and justice. Paulino is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research interests include race; genocide; borders; nation-building; Latin America and the Caribbean; the African Diaspora; and New York State history.

This event is co-sponsored by AADS, French, History, Spanish, and ISDC in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.


Wednesday, October 21

3:30 pm, Alumni Board Room (Commons Annex)

"A Matter of Approach: The Making of New Netherland's History"

Nicholas Cunigan and Stephen Staggs (Calvin History Department)

Stephen Staggs completed his doctoral thesis on Native-Dutch relations in New Netherland. Nicholas Cunigan is completing his thesis on extreme weather and indigenous resistance in the Dutch Atlantic. Both are examining the relationship between Dutch colonists and indigenous peoples in New Netherland, but both utilize different historiographical approaches. Join us to hear more about their individual research, how the topics overlap, and how their differing approaches can offer new insight into the history of New Netherland.

Nicholas Cunigan and Stephen Staggs teach in the Calvin History Department.

Co-sponsored by the Frederik Meijer Chair in Dutch Language and Culture.


Wednesday, November 11

3:30 pm, Chapel Undercroft

"Purity, Patriarchy, and the First Wave of Christian Anti-Trafficking Activism"

Kristin Du Mez (Calvin History Department)

In recent years, churches and religious nonprofits have awakened to the plight of women and children caught up in human trafficking. But Christian anti-trafficking activism goes back nearly 150 years. This talk will explore the first wave of Christian anti-trafficking activism, and the way in which women like Katharine Bushnell, a leading anti-trafficking activist, understood that Christian theology itself needed to be reformed in order to provide the basis for true emancipation. And it will consider how lessons from the past might help the church refine its approach to global anti-trafficking efforts today.

Calvin history professor, Kristin Kobes Du Mez will speak from her recent book, A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism (OUP, 2015).

This event is co-sponsored by the Sexuality Series, History, and Gender Studies.


Thursday, December 3

3:30-6 pm, Chapel

ISIS, Terrorism & Refugees: A Teach In

Our hearts break with news of massacres in Paris and Beirut. We are inundated with stories of terror, violence, and hatred around the world. Refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries are desperate to find safe haven, while America and other nations struggle with how to respond. What's happening and how did we get here? And what can we do about it? We invite you to join us for a "teach in" -- a time of teaching, learning, and discussion.

Calvin faculty will give brief talks offering their expertise in response to the recent terrorist attacks, the threat of ISIS, and the refugee crisis. They will then form a panel to take questions and lead a discussion. Calvin students, faculty, staff and the wider community are invited to attend. This is a "teach in" rather than a formal lecture; attendees may come and go as they are able, and are warmly invited to ask questions and raise their concerns.

Topics include:

  • Bert de Vries (History & Archaeology): The Refugee Crisis in the Middle East
  • Doug Howard (History): ISIS and Regional Politics
  • Jason VanHorn (Geography): Mapping Terrorism
  • Frans van Liere (History & Medieval Studies): Is Islam a Violent Religion?
  • Joel Westra (Political Science): The Strategy of Terrorism

Sponsored by History, Medieval Studies, and the Middle East Club.

Watch a video recording of this event.


Wednesday, December 9

3:30 pm, History Department Lounge (HH 495)

History Department Christmas Party

Join us in celebrating Christmas and the end of the semester with a festive party featuring food, games, and a time to relax and socialize before exams. Details to follow, but expect a return of the traditional gingerbread cookie decorating.



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.