Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Department of History and Classics

Department of History and Classics

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Passionate faculty. Curious students. 

These are essential ingredients to the best history departments — like ours.

Our faculty members know their way around the world — from the Americas and Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They’re also authorities on the issues — from the Renaissance and Reagan, slavery and samurais, women and war​, and much more. 

Our students, inside the classroom and beyond it, are captivated by the events and cultures — from Russia and the Reformation to Native Americans and nationalism — that have shaped our world. 

Away from the classroom, internships and our history club bring lessons to life — as does our annual Maymester course, which has taken students to Germany, Poland, Hungary, England, Ireland, and Japan in the past three years.

Whether you want to see the world from your classroom seat or travel it by the se​​at of ​your pants, we want you to take the journey with us. Take a look at some "Fast F​acts​"​ about our department to learn more!  

​What's New?​​

This is one of the most exciting times of the year, as we begin to hear news of what some of our amazing students will be doing when they graduate from the History and Classics Program here at PC.  

  • Riley Maloney will be pursuing a Master's degree in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Oxford University​ in the fall.  
  • Claire O'Connor has been offered a position at Harvard University, starting in in the Professional Education Department and then transitioning into ​a ​Faculty Support Specialist position at Harvard Business School​
  • Ernie Andreoli, History Major and Class of 2018, will be the first Fiondella Student Academic Achievement Award​ winner, which "recognizes distinguished student achievement in business and the humanities.​"  
  • Amanda “Dettey” Bielizna, a Master's student in our graduate program, has been accepted to the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute​, “Rethinking the Gilded Age and Progressivisms: Race, Capitalism, and Democracy, 1877 to 1920,” which will run this summer at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Dettey also has two book reviews coming out in the New England Journal of History. We are extremely proud of all our students! ​

​The Department of History and Classics was extremely proud to host our recent Rev. Cornelius P. Forster, O.P.​​​ Making History Conference​. ​ This is always our signature event of the year, and it features the best original research from our brightest students.   Thanks to the faculty, family members, and especially the students who attended and gave amazing presentations.  Making History is supported through a generous endowment from the Gladys Brooks Foundation.  We also thank the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Center for Engaged Learning for additional support.

Our very own Dr. Margaret Manchester is this ​year's Faculty Resident Director in the illustrious PC in Rome program.  And ... she's blogging about it. Follow Dr. Manchester's blog​ to see what PC students are up to in Italy! 

Recent Faculty Accomplishments   

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson​, Professor of History and Director of The American Studies Program​​​​​​​​​, was interviewed​ by C-Span​ for its American History TV series. Johnson was interviewed at the 2016 meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Providence and talked about the rise and decline of socialism’s popularity in America.  He was also featured in Time Magazine​​, in an article on the 1916 San Francisco Bombing and recently had his lecture on the bombing featured on C-SPAN ​itself.  ​   ​

murphy-final.jpgDr. Sharon Murphy is also becoming a bit of a media ​celebrity. An excerpt from her recent book, Other People's Money: How Banking Worke​d in the Early American Republic ​(Johns Hopkins, 2017) was recently featured ​on Time Magazine's website​. Murphy was also fe​atured in an interview on "Backstory," which discussed the history of American insurance and gambling (she comes in at the 28 minute mark). She was also recently featured on TLC's popular show, "Who Do You T​hink You Are?"​​! Finally, Murphy was recently offered a Summer Stipend from The National Endowment for the Humanities to continue her work on banking and slavery. The NEH is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of about 7%, and hers was the only NEH Summer Stipend granted among all institutions in Rhode Island this year. Great work! ​

Our department chair and fearless leader, Dr. Raymond Sickinger, has recently published a fascinating biography of Antoine Frédéric Ozanam, a famous French ​thinker, writer, and the primary founder of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul.  Sickinger's Antoine Frédéric Ozanam is now available from The University of Notre Dame Press.    

HUGE congratulations to Dr. Steve Smith, who has a new book coming out this summer: An Empire of Print: The New York Publishing Trade in the Early American Republic​, via the Penn State Series in the History of the Book. Great work, professor! 

​​​Congratulations to Drs. Adrian Weimer and Edward E. Andrews. Weimer and Andrews both recently published separate articles in The William and Mary Quarterly, the top journal in the field of early American history. Weimer’s piece is on “Elizabeth Hooton and the Lived Politics of Toleration in Massachusetts Bay,” while Andrews published “Tranquebar: Charting the Protestant International in the British Atlantic and Beyond.” Furthermore, Dr. Weimer has accepted two long-term research fellowships for the 2017-2018 year to support her project, Godly Petitions: Puritanism and the Crisis of the Restoration in America. The fellowships are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society.  

​Dr. Connie Rousseau's article, "Harbingers of the Future: Marriage Cases during the Pontificate of Innocent III and Lateran IV," has been accepted for publication by one of the oldest journals of law and legal history in the world, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung fur Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonische Abteilung (forthcoming, 2017).  ​

​​Congratulation​s to Riley Maloney! ​​​​

maloney.jpgRiley, a Class of 2017​ double major in History and Political Science, will be heading next year to Oxford University to begin a Master's Program in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.​ Riley has worked as an international English teacher twice, once in Ecuador and once in Vietnam. His research interests surround refugees, both historical and modern. As a sophomore, he completed an international research project investigating Amerasians, children of Americ​an GI’s born during the Vietnam war. This project gave him the opportunity to conduct in-person interviews both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As a senior, he wrote an Honors Thesis investigating Loyalists who fled to Prince Edward Island following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. We wish him luck in his future endeavors! 

See Also