“Things Odious and Immoral”

The Foreign Relations of U.S. Slavery, 1775-1865

Please join the Hope College History Department as we welcome Dr. Steven Brady, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at George Washington University.

Tuesday, October 25 at 7 p.m.
This is a virtual event. Please click on the link below to join via Google Meet.


“What I Did This Summer – Part 2”

Hope College History Department

Dr. Jeanne Petit

Dr. Jeanne Petit spent the previous year on sabbatical, and in the Spring she got the opportunity to attend a conference in Scranton, Pennsylvania. While there, she took a tour of a now-defunct anthracite coal mine, and got a taste of the brutal conditions miners faced there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She also spent a week doing research in New York City, and got to visit one of her favorite museums, the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Later in the summer, she took a trip to Alpena, Michigan where she learned about Great Lakes shipwrecks and did a little fossil hunting. She found some cool crinoids, corals, and clams from the Devonian age (about 300 million years ago). 

Lackawanna Coal Mining Tour near Scranton, Pennsylvania
The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side of New York City
Some fossil finds from Alpena, Michigan

Dr. Wayne Tan

Dr. Wayne Tan led a team of summer student researchers (Chloe Bares, Aubrey Brolsma, and Ty Overhiser) to analyze the records of the Ottawa County Poor Farm. They applied methods of data analytics to seek new insights into the history of the Poor Farm. This project was funded by the Data Analytics/Science program and the Joint Archives of Holland.

(“The Poor Farm” by Ottawa County Parks Foundation with Vantage Point Visual and TDMP Films)

In early summer, Dr. Tan also submitted his final book manuscript to the publisher. Blind in Early Modern Japan: Disability, Medicine, and Identity (published in the Corporealities series by the University of Michigan Press) is now available for sale! (Twitter: @WTan_historian)

Dr. Maggie Burr

My family and I got to spend three weeks in England this summer, where we went for my D.Phil. viva (aka: Ph.D. defense). A couple days after passing the viva, we all got Covid, which was an unexpected way to end the trip. On the bright side, the entire group (my parents, husband Bram, who also teaches at Hope, our 2.5-year-old daughter Mia, and myself) got to spend time wandering around relatively-isolated portions of the English countryside (with some post-quarantine days doing real sightseeing at the end). Aside from seeing some very dear friends we hadn’t seen since before Covid (and passing the viva), the best part was introducing Mia to some of our old haunts in Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire: the Neolithic/Early Bronze Age Rollright Stones, Chastleton House, wading with ducks in the Windrush River the dinosaurs and early collections at the Natural History/Pitt Rivers Museums, Fayum portraits at the Ashmolean, etc. We went to visit family in coastal Massachusetts later in the summer (favorite part aside from seeing all the people: lobstah rolls and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) and, after all that excitement, spent the end of the summer relaxing, working on academic and home improvement projects, and seeing friends around Holland. 

“What I Did This Summer -Part One”

Hope College History Department

Dr. Lauren Janes

Professor Janes was thrilled to return to Paris, co-leading the Art, History, and Global Citizenship in Paris May Term.  It was wonderful to return to favorite restaurants, markets, and neighborhood spots and see them thriving. The students were able to visit museums, go on walking tours, and take in awesome cultural events. Dr. Janes was especially thrilled to tour the newly-renovated Musée Carnavalet, full of artifacts of the history of Paris.

Dr. Janes teaching in the Musée Carnavalet

Another highlight this year was her visit to Monet’s gardens at Giverny. Pictured left is Dr. Janes with Dr. Heidi Kraus, Hope College Associate Provost and Art and Art History Professor. 

The Art, History, and Global Citizenship in Paris May Term will travel again in May 2023!
Applications are due Oct 29 at travel.hope.edu. 

Dr. Gloria Tseng

This was a full summer, even though I did not attend the two summer conferences that I regularly attended for many years before the pandemic. The Andrew Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity at Liverpool-Hope University did not hold a conference this year, and I did not attend this year’s Yale-Edinburgh Group Meeting. In the last three years, two towering figures in the field world Christianity passed away—Lamin Sanneh in January 2019 and Andrew Walls in August 2021. Even though their deaths were not the reason for which I skipped the Y-E Meeting this year, I was deeply aware that the passing of these two co-founders of the Yale-Edinburgh Group and animating spirits of its annual meetings signified the end of an era in the field.

I remained home, first working on a new project, the preparation of a grant application, which, if successful, would provide funding for starting a documentary on the conversion of the Atayal, one of more than a dozen indigenous tribes of Taiwan, to Christianity. Then I finished a paper on the twentieth-century Chinese writer Ba Jin, “Love, Resurrection, and Revolution: The Anguished Cries of a May Fourth Intellectual,” for inclusion in a conference volume. I first presented the paper at a conference organized by the University of Manchester and Hong Kong Baptist University in January of this year, “Translation, Literature, and Publishing in Chinese Christianities.”

On Thursday, September 22, I will present a version of this paper at one of the public talks of the Holland Museum (https://hollandmuseum.org/event/biblical-imagery-in-unlikely-places-christianity-and-early-twentieth-century-chinese-literature/?event_date=2022-09-22).

It was also a summer of gardening and hospitality. A friend came and stayed with me for a month from the last week of June to the last week of July, and the Atayal pastor with whom Prof. Choonghee Han (Communication Department) and I are collaborating on the documentary project visited for a few days before Independence Day.

I finally made it out to Colorado for ten days in mid-August, in time before the start of the new academic year. It was well-needed; I hiked, climbed, and came back better for it!

Biblical Imagery in Unlikely Places:

Christianity and Early 20th Century Chinese Literature – Virtual Program

Thursday, September 22, 2022
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Virtual Program
Register now on Eventbrite

The first three decades of the twentieth century witnessed both a remarkable expansion of missionary endeavors in China and the rise of anti-Christian and anti-imperialist sentiments among Chinese intellectuals. Surprisingly, the authors of this period who championed new Chinese literature often employed Biblical imagery in their works, infusing them with a Christian ethos. This presentation by Gloria S. Tseng, Associate Professor of History, Hope College explores the paradoxical relationship between Christianity and modern Chinese literature through a case study of the author Ba Jin’s novels. This program supports our exhibition In Service to Others: A History of Holland’s Women Missionaries.

About the Presenter

Gloria S. Tseng is Associate Professor of History at Hope College. She teaches courses on modern Chinese and modern European history. Her current research examines the indigenization of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century China, the historical processes by which Christianity evolved from a foreign faith associated with Western imperialism to a faith embraced by as many as ten percent of the population in some parts of the country.

What if Lincoln Had Lived?

Hope College, the History Department, and the Van Raalte Farm Civil War Muster of Holland are pleased to welcome world-renowned author, eminent Civil War historian, and prize-winning Lincoln scholar, Dr. Allen C. Guelzo from Princeton University. Professor Guelzo is the Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities and Director of the Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship in the James Madison Program at Princeton. The topic is What if Lincoln Had Lived?  Dr. Guelzo’s talk will touch on four likely scenarios for a very different reconstruction than the one we experienced at the hands of Andrew Johnson: Lincoln’s support for black voting rights, Lincoln’s encouragement of black economic integration, Lincoln’s interest in settlement of the west, and finally Lincoln’s desire to “clean the Confederate slate” by encouraging the Confederate leadership to flee into exile and be replaced by a new Unionist Southern leadership. 

Dr. Allen Guelzp

Dr. Guelzo will speak on
Friday, September 16 at 6:30 pm
Graves Hall, Winants Auditorium

Dr. Guelzo won book awards for Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. His articles and essays have appeared in scholarly journals, and also in The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The National Interest, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He has been featured on NPR, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and Brian Lamb’s Booknotes.

He has been a member of the National Council on the Humanities, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Charles Warren Center for American Studies at Harvard University. His most recent books are Reconstruction: A Concise History and Robert E. Lee: A Life.

Additionally, he will be speaking at Van Raalte Farm Civil War Muster, Saturday, September 17 at 11:00 am on the Farmhouse Porch, Van Raalte Farm, 1076 Sixteenth Street, Holland.  The topic is Our Shadow in the Storms: Ulysses S. Grant, The First Civil Rights President.

For more information on the Civil War Muster weekend activities, visit https://vanraaltefarmcivilwarmuster.wpcomstaging.com/

Hope College Returns to Vietnam

Dr. Fred Johnson, full professor of History, and his students are spending May term in Vietnam. After a two-year absence, it’s great to be back!


Students met once a week during the spring semester to get a thorough historical foundation of the US-Vietnam relationship. Students taking this course for Senior Seminar also prepared for their life view paper.

Dr. Johnson and his crew take a rest from their travels from Ha Giang back to Hanoig.

Dr. Johnson makes a new friend in Hoi An. Love those smiles!

Program Overview

This course will explore the history and culture of Vietnam. The course will have a history component and a modern-day component, and will examine Vietnam’s military history, particularly with respect to the American war. We will also explore various modern elements of life in Vietnam as well as meet members of several communities: an HIV/AIDS clinic operated in a Buddhist pagoda, a woman’s shelter, and a child-protection center. We will also visit two UN-sponsored (or formerly sponsored) facilities: a women’s health clinic in a Hmong village near the China border and a school for victims of the war defoliant Agent Orange, still impacting children three generations later.


We will spend 14 days in Vietnam, visiting Ha Noi, Ha Giang Province,
Dien Bien Phu, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). 

Interested in traveling abroad next summer?
Please contact the Hope College Off-Campus Study Program for more information.

Small Details Spark New Questions

Dr. Lauren Hinkle ’04 Janes of the history faculty and students Grace Pettinger, Maria Seidl and Brooke Carbaugh are featured in this month’s edition of News from Hope College. It tells of their summer-long project that uncovered the truth about the lives of the women at Hope College in the 1930s and 1940s.

Understanding the War in Ukraine

“Students and readers in general may be wondering how to make sense of the ongoing war crisis and human tragedy in Ukraine,” says Dr. Wayne Tan, Assistant Professor of History, Hope College. “Here is one question to start with: Why does Ukraine occupy such an important place in Russian history?”

Here are a few of his book recommendations:

To learn more about the general history of Ukraine, from the ancient origins of its culture through the 2010s, check out “The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine” by Serhii Plokhy. As Ukraine is embroiled in an ongoing struggle with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence, Plokhy explains that today’s crisis is a case of history repeating itself: the Ukrainian conflict is only the latest in a long history of turmoil over Ukraine’s sovereignty. 

For a focused study of how Ukraine emerged in historical discussions as the quintessential birthplace of Russian culture, check out “Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation” by Faith Hillis. She recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands. 

Well written and chock full of insights into the politics of late Imperial RussiaChildren of Rus’ is a model of meticulous scholarship and perceptive analysis and should be essential reading for anyone interested in learning about the complexities of Russian and Ukrainian identities.” Journal of Modern History

For more about the culture of government in Russia and how it affects everyday people, check out “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism reclaimed Russia” by Masha Gessen.

  • Winner of the 2017 National Book Award in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards 
  • Winner of the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award  
  • Named Best Book of 2017 by the New York Times Book ReviewLos Angeles TimesWashington Post,  Boston GlobeSeattle TimesChristian Science MonitorNewsweek, Paste, and Pop Sugar.

Additionally, Dr. Janis Gibbs and Dr. Lauren Janes from the History Department share two great resources from Pulitzer Prize-Winning author and journalist, Anne Applebaum.

On NPR’s most popular podcast, Fresh Air, Anne will talk about why Putin takes Ukrainian democracy as a personal and political threat — and how Stalin created a famine to destroy the Ukrainian national movement in the 1930s.

Here is the link to this episode.

In her non-fiction book, “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine”, Anne analyzes the bitter history of Ukraine as a part of the Soviet Union, the disastrous results of collectivization of farms in Ukraine, and the policy decisions by the Soviet government that created famine in Ukraine. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.

“With searing clarity, Red Famine demonstrates the horrific consequences of a campaign to eradicate ‘backwardness’ when undertaken by a regime in a state of war with its own people.” —The Economist

Spring 2022 Course Offerings

Advising week kicks off this coming Monday, with Registration starting Monday, 11/8. Take a look below at our options for this coming spring. You can always check out the full schedule here.

HIST 130 | Intro to Ancient Civilizations | Prof. Maggie Burr | TR 1:30 – 2:50 PM

This course will focus on significant developments in history from its Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek origins through the Renaissance. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history.

4 Credits | CH1

HIST 131 | Intro to Modern European History | Dr. Fred Johnson | TR 9:30 – 10:50 AM

The course will focus on significant developments in modern European history from the Renaissance to our own time. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history.

4 Credits | CH2

HIST 140 | Religion, Politics, and Society in Europe | Dr. Janis Gibbs | MW 1-1:50 PM

Using the early modern period of European history (1500-1800) –think Renaissance, Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, the Scientific Revolution, the French Revolution, among other topics–we will work on the basics of conducting historical research and writing analytical research papers.  This course focuses on reading, understanding, and constructing historical arguments, on thinking like a historian, on conducting historical research, and on improving your writing skills in the context of scholarly historical writing. This course is required for history majors and minors, and is an option for fulfilling the  methodology course requirement for the Global Studies major.

2 Credits

HIST 175 – 01A & 01B | Michigan History | Dr. Fred Johnson | TR 12-1:20 PM (01A) & TR 1:30-2:50 PM (01B)

This course is a survey of Michigan History to the present and is primarily designed for students majoring in education. The main objective of History 175 is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the chronology, narratives, perspectives, and interpretations of Michigan history from its beginnings to the present. To this end, students will: examine relationships, including cause and effect, among important events from the era; identify the sequence of these events and describe the setting and the people affected; analyze and compare interpretations of events from a variety of perspectives; and assess the implications and long-term consequences of key decisions made at critical turning points in Michigan history.
2 Credits

HIST 200 – 01A | The Holocaust | Dr. Janis Gibbs | TR 3-4:20 PM

The Holocaust is probably something most students have encountered, either in school, in movies, or in literature. (Think Schindler’s List or Life is Beautiful on screen, or Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, Night.)  In this class, we will consider the reasons for the development of a plan of genocide by the Nazis, and the methods by which they carried out their plans.   We will use video, written primary sources, and historical analyses to study the Holocaust.  It’s not cheerful, but it’s important. Think about the genocide of the Rohynga in Myanmar, or the Chinese attempts to destroy the culture of the Uighur population,  or the genocide in Darfur in the early 2000s.  As human beings, we are bound to understand atrocity, so we can resist it.  

2 Credits

HIST 207 | Introduction to World History to 1500 | Dr. Wayne Tan | MWF: 9:30-10:20 AM (Online synchronous)

What is world history? This is a question of great interest among historians across the fields and of relevance to all of us today. In this course, we will discover details and the broad canvas of world history. We will study major themes in world history from the ancient times until around 1500—from the foundations of the ancient civilizations through the rise of medieval empires and the early modern maritime global order. Who were the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Chinese? How did various foreign cultures interact with one another? How were empires built and why did they go to war? These are some questions related to the themes we will regularly consider throughout this course. By the end of this course, we will learn that the world we live in today is (and continues to be) shaped by events from the distant past, and appreciate how texts, art, and digital media can help us tell our shared histories. 

4 Credits | CH1, GLI

HIST 208 | Intro World History since 1500 | Dr. Lauren Janes | Online Asynchronous

Toussaint Louverture on horseback, hand coloured etching by an unknown artist, French, 1802. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, 29510:20.

This course examines global connectivity in the last 500 years of world history. An online asynchronous course, students engage with the material through readings, asynchronous discussions of texts, video lectures, podcasts, and a digital textbook. Students also meet once a week, at a set and consistent time, in a required Google Meet with Dr. Janes for a small group tutorial session discussing the week’s material. 

4 Credits | CH2, GLI

HIST 215 | The Roman World | Dr. Bram ten Berge | MWF 12-12:50 PM

The Romans dominated the Mediterranean world for centuries. Their language, literature and architecture are still the basis for western culture. Sometimes they seem like modern people, except for those funny togas, but when we look at them more closely we see that their culture might have been a thin veneer over the barbarism of gladiator games, slavery, and vast inequality between social classes. Through the study of written documents and archaeological remains we will try to understand who the Romans were and why we are still so fascinated by them. 

4 Credits

HIST 270 | Modern China | Dr. Gloria Tseng | MWF 2-2:50 PM

This course offers a narrative history of China from its last Imperial dynasty to its current Communist regime. The first three weeks of the course are devoted to the late Qing dynasty, or the society, institutions, and ways of thought of “traditional” China. The remaining twelve weeks of the course are devoted to twentieth-century China, which spans the Republican and Communist eras. Building upon the knowledge acquired in the first third of the course, we will seek to comprehend the making of “modern” China, a process that was often violent and tumultuous.

4 Credits

HIST 295 | Overthrowing Empire: Decolonization Across the Globe | Dr. Lauren Janes | TR 12-1:20 PM

Image via gandhiserve.org

This global history course examines the end of modern imperialism through a close look at two examples of revolutions leading to decolonization: India and Algeria. Throughout the course we will focus on studying the writings, theories, and tactics of anti-colonial leaders. Student research projects will focus on decolonization case studies in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

4 Credits | GLI

HIST 351 | Slavery & Race in America, 1619-Present: The Struggle Within | Dr. Fred Johnson | MW 3- 4:20 PM

From its origins as a British colonial society to its dominance as a global superpower, the United States has struggled to resolve conflicts arising from issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration. This course examines how such factors have influenced the overall development of the United States while exploring strategies for reconciling those and related challenges confronting Americans in the 21st century. 

4 Credits