Greetings from the Richards Center! 


This is our final newsletter for 2020. We hope you enjoy it, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!


Best regards, 


Matt Isham 

Managing Director 

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center 

Penn State

December 2020 Newsletter
In Memoriam: Polin Cohanne
We are sad to report that Polin Cohanne '72 passed away this month after a brief illness. Polin was a longtime supporter of the Richards Center and a beloved participant in the center's annual executive tours. Born and raised in three suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she earned her bachelor of arts degree in American Studies from Penn State and subsequently graduated from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. She then served as a judge advocate in the Marine Corps. Following her service, Polin was an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, California, for many years, before changing careers to work on political campaigns and in government positions. She was a senior program analyst in the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security for nearly a decade before retiring in 2015.
Shelden to Discuss Contested Elections in Online Roundtable
Richards Center director Rachel Shelden Richards Center director Rachel Shelden will participate in a January 6 online panel discussion on the history of contested elections. Hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, the discussion is free and open to the public. Interested participants can register here
Dr. Shelden published an article in The Atlantic in November that considers the political dangers posed by politicians' cynical public speech. The article compares such speech in 2020 and 1860, when the country was on the brink of civil war. Read the article here.
Shelden also appeared on two recent podcasts, American History Tellers and National Public Radio's Throughline. In both programs, she discussed how the power and influence of the Supreme Court has changed since the Civil War era and how the court's prerogative of judicial review evolved into the power of judicial supremacy.
Sanders Participates in National Humanities Center Program, "The Price of Injustice"
Associate professor of history and African American studies Crystal Sanders participated in an online panel discussion in November on the contemporary costs of historical injustice. The panel was organized by the National Humanities Center, where Dr. Sanders is the 2020–21 Anthony E. Kaye Fellow. The discussion, "The Price of Injustice: A Scholar-to-Scholar Conversation," considered the ongoing costs and challenges posed by segregation, racial inequality, and police violence.
Jones's Talk Featured on C-SPAN
In October, C-SPAN's American History TV broadcast an invited talk given by Jonathan Jones for Virginia Tech's Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. His talk explored America's first opioid crisis, which afflicted numerous veterans of the Civil War.
Dr. Jones also discussed his research into Civil War era opiate addiction in a recent episode of The Great History Hack podcast. Jones is the center's inaugural postdoctoral Fellow in Civil War history. He currently is writing his first book manuscript about the Civil War era opiod crisis.
Greenberg's Book Review Selected as New York Times Editors' Choice  
George Winfree Professor of American History Amy Greenberg reviewed David S. Brown's The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams in The New York Times. Her review, "The Brilliant, Bitter, Unlikable Scion of an American Political Dynasty," was selected as Editors' Choice of the week for November 23–27.
Aziz to Participate in Panel Discussion on Ethics of Care
Maryam Aziz, the Richards Center and Africana Research Center postdoctoral Fellow in African American history, will participate in a panel discussion on the ethics of care in March to commemorate Women's History Month. The panel will be hosted online by Virginia Tech. Dr. Aziz also will be interviewed for an article on Black women's wellness that will appear in Teen Vogue in 2021.
Reed Wins Article Award
Associate professor of history Julie Reed won the 2020 Patty Jo Watson Award for best article or book chapter on southeastern archeology. The award is presented annually by the Southeastern Archeological Conference. Dr. Reed won the award for the article, "Talking Stone: Cherokee Syllabary in Manitou Cave, Alabama," which she co-authored with Beau Duke Carroll, Alan Cressler, Tom Belt, and Jan F. Simek. The article appeared in the April 2019 issue of the academic journal Antiquity.
Graduate Student News
Doctoral candidate Cecily Zander was interviewed before Thanksgiving for the Civil War Museum of Kenosha's "Coffee and Hardtack" YouTube series. Zander discussed her recently published article about the many meanings of the Grand Review of the Union Armies that took place following the Civil War. Zander also published an editorial for The Washington Post's  Made by History platform. The editorial considers President Trump's recent threat to veto a key defense spending bill, unless the Congress amends the bill to repeal an unrelated section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Zander compares the threat to politicians' historical reluctance to politicize essential legislation like defense spending.
This publication is available in alternative media upon request. Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. U.Ed. LBS 21-312

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