A Tribute to Robert H. Ferrell
Distinguished Emeritus Professor of History Robert H. Ferrell died on August 8. Please see below for a tribute written by our own Nick Cullather, one of Professor Ferrell's many students. You'll also find an obituary by James Grant, another Ferrell student, in the Wall Street Journal and an obituary in the Aug. 22, 2018, edition of the New York Times.
Prof. Robert H. Ferrell passed away August 8 in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he was cared for by his daughter Carolyn and her family. He authored over 60 books, including American Diplomacy: A History, a standard text for college classes on foreign relations during the 1960s and '70s. Despite near blindness from macular degeneration, he published more after retirement than during his teaching years. In his nineties he assured friends he would slow down, but he was prone to backsliding. His latest monograph, Unjustly Dishonored: An African American Division in World War I, came out in 2011 shortly after Inside the Nixon Administration (2010) and a biography of Grace Coolidge (2008).
Ferrell joined the faculty at IU in 1953 and taught here for thirty-five years. He mentored several generations of graduate and undergraduate students who remember his Ballantine office stacked to the ceiling with books, part of a personal collection so large he bought a house near Bryan Park to store it. Ferrell's students learned his iron laws of writing: Short sentences are best. Never begin a paragraph with a date. Do not "stack" nouns. Two direct objects might slip past his red pen but three were an offense.
His care for his students went beyond the classroom. Tapping his many contacts in government, he placed students in jobs. When one complained of noise in the dormitories that made it hard to study, he went out for a nighttime reconnaissance and circulated a report demanding action from the administration.
The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, of which he was a founder, awards an annual book prize in his honor. He will long be remembered and missed by his many students, readers, and colleagues (even though this sentence is one he would never have allowed).
- Since May 2018 Maria Bucur has published The Century of Women: How Women Have Changed the World since 1900, Lanham: Roman and Littlefield; "Thinking War: Public and Intellectual Discourses on the War in Romania," Südosteuropa Jahrbuch; "Mihaela Miroiu si Maria Bucur--Puterea si dorinta noastra de a iubi nu seaca niciodata," interview with Alice Nastase Buciuta, Marea Dragoste, 15 August 2018, http://revistatango.ro/mihaela-miroiu-si-maria-bucur-puterea-si-dorinta-noastra-de-a-iubi-nu-seaca-niciodata-99426 ; "Adevarurile nespuse despre Centenar. Razboiul si Unirea celor mici," interview with Ioana Ene Dogioiu in ziare.com, 12 August 2018, http://m.ziare.com/social/adevarurile-nespuse-despre-centanar-razboiul-si-unirea-celor-mici-ne-invartim-in-acelasi-cerc-vicios-interviu-1523816 ; "45 pentru 45*: Anca Șincan interviu cu Maria Bucur," LaPunkt, 1 June 2018, http://www.lapunkt.ro/2018/06/45-pentru-45-anca-sincan-interviu-cu-maria-bucur/; "Povestea de film a Cenuşăresei din România care a cucerit America: 'Trăiesc România ca pe o nevoie, o lipsă şi o bucurie'," ziare.com, 20 May 2018, http://www.ziare.com/social/stiri-sociale/povestea-de-film-a-cenusaresei-din-romania-care-a-cucerit-america-traiesc-romania-ca-pe-o-nevoie-o-lipsa-si-o-bucurie-interviu-1514117; "Ce sărbătorim noi la 1 Decembrie? Nişte promisiuni," Observator Cultural no. 922, 18 May 2018, interview taken by Ovidiu Simonca, https://www.observatorcultural.ro/articol/ce-sarbatorim-noi-la-1-decembrie-niste-promisiuni/.
- In July Ann Carmichael spoke on "Pest House Imaginaries: Inside, Outside, Overhead" at a St Andrews (Scotland) conference on "Visual Plague: Image, Imagination and Imaginary."
- PhD student Amanda Lanzillo was awarded a Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship from the Library of Congress' Asian Division to conduct dissertation research with the Library's South Asian collection. Amanda was also awarded a Sahapedia-UNESCO Fellowship for research on South Asian cultural heritage, which she will use to conduct a dissertation-related side project looking at migration and food cultures in colonial India.
- Ph.D student Asher Lubotzky presented a paper titled "The Equivocality of Violence in a Settler Colony: The Case of German Southwest Africa" at the annual African studies conference of Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University (June 2018). Asher also published his research on international students at Indiana University, titled "Diplomacy, Diversity, and Dollars: How the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement Shaped International Student Policy at Indiana University, 1950-1970". It was published on the IU Bicentennial blog: http://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2018/08/20/diplomacy-diversity-and-dollars-how-the-cold-war-and-the-civil-rights-movement-shaped-international-student-policy-at-indiana-university-1950-1970/
- In June, Julia Roos received a research and travel grant from IU's Center for European Studies, in support of her archival research on the post-1945 trials of doctors involved in the Nazi-era forced sterilizations of the biracial German descendants of colonial French soldiers born in the occupied Rhineland after the First World War. In July, Roos gave an interview to the Berlin-based production company, DocDays, for a ninety-minute documentary on the persecution of the biracial Rhenish children during the Third Reich. The documentary has been bought by ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, or, "Channel Two," one of Germany's two major national public stations), and ARTE, a Franco-German TV network, and is being pitched to other stations, including WGBH Boston.
- In May, Mark Roseman was a panelist in the concluding round table at the annual von Weizsäcker Conference, this year with the topic "Audiences of Nazism: Media Effects and Responses, 1923-1945" organized by the European Studies Center (ESC), St Antony's College, University of Oxford. In July, his review article "Mind the gap. What Nazis and their opponents said -- and why," appeared in the Times Literary Supplement (July 27, 2018), No. 6017: 24-5
- Fei-Hsien Wang and Ke-chin Hsia's coauthored essay, "Sissi, The Chinese Princess: A Timely and Versatile Post-Mao Icon" has appeared in Sissi's World: The Empress Elisabeth in Memory and Myth, ed. Maura E. Hametz and Heidi Schlipphacke (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). Analyzing the surprising popularity of a 19th century Austrian Empress-Hungarian Queen in China today, this is the first foray into a late-20th/early 21st century topic for both authors
- Ellen Wu was elected to a three-year term on the executive board of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. In May, she spoke on the plenary panel "Immigration Law and Immigration History" at the Immigration Law Scholars and Teachers Workshop, hosted by Drexel University. In July, she participated in IUB's Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities (IDAH) Summer Incubator to launch her project analyzing social media and Asian American politics. She will continue this work as a 2018-2019 IDAH Faculty Fellow.