Department Chair

  • James C. Harrison
    Professor of History
    Kiernan Hall 228


In October 2014, Visiting Assistant Professor Mara Drogan will participate in a workshop entitled "Nuclear Experts and Nuclear Expertise in a Global Context after 1945," to be held at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany

In June 2014,Dr. Karen Ward Mahar will be a participant in the NEH Summer Institute "The Meanings of Property," hosted by the School of Management at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. 

In June 2014, Dr. Karen Sonnelitter  will present "Philanthropy and Famine in Eighteenth-Century Ireland," Ulster-American Heritage Symposium: Irish Hunger, Poverty, and Migration, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT.

In June 2014, Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Mara Drogan will present a paper, "Nuclearism and the Bandung Conference of 1955," on a panel she organized, "Challenges to the Nuclear Order from the Global South in the 1950s," at the annual meeting of SHAFR Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

On May 14th, Siena News published Studying the Past, Building Skills for the Future, describing the impact of hands-on history for Siena history students and the community.

On May 12th, 2014, Sarah Kowiak successfully defended her honor's thesis, ""Kate Gleason:  Her Life Within the Context of Rochester, Gender, and Entrepreneurship." 

On May 7th, 2014, Lindsay Davenport successfully defended her honor's thesis, ‘The same spirit animated every heart’: The Seventy-ninth New York Infantry Regiment and Scottish Identity in the Civil War.”

On Sunday, May 4th, 2014, the students in Dr. Karen Ward Mahar's HIST475: Public History, curated an exhibit "Capital in the Capitol: A History of Albany Businesses," which opened in King's Place, the exhibit gallery of the Albany County Historical Association at Ten Broeck Mansion. 

On Sunday, March 30th, 2014, members of Fr. Daniel Dwyer's "Dutch Roots of New York Class visited the Crailo State Historic Site (Fort Crailo).  Built in 1707 on a foundation from the 17th Century, it was one of the seats of the Van Rensselaer family.  It may have been the site where"Yankee Doodle" was composed by a British Army Surgeon who was watching the arrival of a Connecticut militia unit during the French and Indian War.

On March 28, 2014, Dr. Karen Ward Mahar participated as a panelist at "Inspiring Change: Women Helping Women," an event sponsored by the Women's Fund of the Capital Region. It will take place from 12:45-4:00 in the South Rotunda at the SUNY College of Nanoscience and Engineering.  

March 25, 2014, Cameron Green '12, represented Fort Ticonderoga at the Career, Graduate School & Internship Fair that will be held on Tuesday, March 25th in the MAC from 3-6 p.m.  

On March 3rd, Fr. Daniel Dwyer and a group of students from his  "Dutch Roots of New York Class" visited the New Netherland Research Center at the New York State Library.  After informative presentations by Dr. Charles T. Gehring and Dr. Janny Venema, the students examined a 1652 "Charter" for Beverwyck, which later became the City of Albany; and one of the oldest maps of the Colony of Rensseaerswijck.  

On February 21, 2014, Meghan Vreeland ’16 delivered "Tailor-Made Men: Menswear, Masculinity, and the Rise of the American Business Executive," a paper co-authored with Dr. Karen Ward Mahar at the Second Annual Feminist Studies Conference.

In January 2014, Francis Butler ’15 presented "Experimenting Freedom: The Contraband Colony at Roanoke Island" at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention in Albuquerque, NM.  See Siena's Phi Alpha Theta chapter for more.

In January 2014, Lindsay Davenport ’14 presented “The Mutiny of the 79th New York Infantry Regiment” at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention in Albuquerque, NM. See Siena's Phi Alpha Theta chapter for more.

In January 2014, Karen Sonnelitter presented "'The Benevolent Sympathies of the Female Heart:' Protestant Women and Charity in Eighteenth-Century Ireland," Irish Women, Religion, and the Diaspora Research Symposium, Liverpool, England, January 2014.

In January 2014, Dr. Wendy Pojmann acted as chair and discussant on two panel sessions and contributed to a faculty panel on teaching history to undergraduates at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention in Albequerque, NM. See Siena's Phi Alpha Theta chapter for more.

In January 2014, Dr. Tim Cooper presented "Exhortations of a Fabricated Lord," at the Southeast Conference on Asian Studies at Duke University.

In Fall 2013, Francis Butler ’15, pursued Civil War Era Studies as the Siena representative in the Gettysburg Semester, where he also interned at Antietam National Battlefield.

Danielle Morgan ‘13’s capstone paper "Seeds of Industrialization for Chattanooga, Tennessee 1863-1877," will be published in the 2014 edition of the Journal of East Tennessee History.

In Fall 2013, Francis Butler ’15 presented  "To Bleed for a Higher Cause" at the 2013 New York State Historical Association Conference in Cooperstown

In October 2013, Dr. Karen Sonnelitter 'presented "The Worst in Christendom:' The Church of Ireland and Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Ireland," Northeastern Conference on BritishStudies, Storrs, CT.

In the Summer of 2013, Dr. Jennifer H. Dorsey and local Shaker sites collaborated to present “Heaven on Earth: Shakers, Religious Revival and Social Reform in America,” a Summer 2013 NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop for School Teachers.

In the Summer of 2013, Dr. Wendy Pojmann was selected to participate in a 5-week 2013 NEH Summer Seminar “Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento,” held at the American Academy of Rome, Italy.

In the Summer of 2013, Dr. Karen Sonnelitter was selected to participate in a 4-week 2013 NEH Summer Seminar “Researching Early Modern Manuscripts and Printed Books,” held in New York City.

Dr. Wendy Pojmann's second scholarly book, Italian Women and International Cold War Politics, 1944-1968, was published by Fordham University Press in 2013.

Summer 2013, History Major, Francis Butler, Assisted Dr. Bruce Eelman on his Latest Book Project

Summer 2013 Francis Butler assisted Dr. Bruce Eelman, Associate Professor of History, on his book project concerning mob violence in response to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The team researched where the riots happened, who was involved, and what provoked the riots. Speaking of his undergraduate research experience Francis said, “It allowed me to actually do what historians do and experience learning in a dynamic and unique way where I had agency over my work. I think that if more Siena students participated in undergraduate research it would allow them to develop their skills as research and thinkers and enable them to begin working in their desired field before graduation. I think this experience will be invaluable for me as I go on to graduate school and my career after graduation.” Read more in the CURCA Newsletter.


Dr. Wendy Pojmann Publishes History of Italian Women and Cold War Politics


Italian Women and  International Cold War Politics1944-1968 by Dr. Wendy Pojmann, Associate Professor in the History Department, was published in January by Fordham University Press.  Pojmann considers the reach and impact of national Italian women's associations and international women's movements in relation to Italian bipolarism and major events of the Cold War. She argues that Italian and other European women played a much larger political role than Cold War histories tend to relate and that they developed successful strategies for a women’s rights agenda from the local to the global levels. More information can be found at


150th Commemoration Conference in Gettysburg

Dr. Bruce Eelman will moderate one of the panels for The Future of Civil War History: Looking Beyond the 150th, a conference commemorating the anniversary the American Civil War from March 14-16.  Panels and papers will deal with many aspects of the war, including challenges of teaching and writing about the Civil War, historic preservation, and museum studies. Registration is open to anyone, and ends on March 1. Contact Dr. Eelman if you are interested in Civil War era history, teaching at the secondary level, or a career in public history. More information is available at the Conference Website.



Dr. Mara Drogan delivers paper at International Conference on South Africa's Nuclear Program held in Pretoria, South Africa

Visiting Assistant Professor Mara Drogan presented a paper entitled "A White Man's Club": Atoms for Peace in South Africa, at the international conference, The Historical Dimensions of South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Program, organized and hosted by Monash University South Africa, in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS Africa) and the Wilson Center's International Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.  Held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 9-11 December 2012, this landmark conference explored South Africa's nuclear development from the post-war era to the recent past.


McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution Recieves National Endowment for the Humanities Landmark Workshop Grant

 Dr. Jenn Dorsey, Director of the McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution 

Siena College is now accepting applications for its 2013 NEH Landmark Workshop Heaven on Earth: Shakers, Religious Revival and Social Reform in America. Two, one-week workshops for 80 teachers (40 teachers per workshop) will be held in Albany, New York, July 7-13 and July 14-20, 2013. This workshop examines the history, culture and legacy of American Shakerism. Participants will engage in interactive seminars with scholars; investigate Shaker artifacts and primary documents at the New York State Museum and New York State Library and tour three historic Shaker sites: Watervliet Shaker Historic District, Hancock Shaker Village, and Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon. Throughout the workshop participants will brainstorm on how to apply their discoveries to curriculum and bring the fascinating history of the Shakers to life for contemporary students.



History Department Co-sponsors Civil War Roundtable

  Dr. Bruce Eelman with student presenters at the Civil War Roundtable, November 3 - 5
Dr. Bruce Eelman hosted a symposium entitled, "1862: A Year of Battles," commemorating the 150th anniversary of the war, November 3 – 5. Three days of presentations by students, scholars, public historians, and other experts on the Civil War were capped off by a tour of the Burden Ironworks that highlighted local connections to the war. Students had the opportunity to present their research alongside professional scholars. Cassandra Jane Werking ’13 presented her work on the letters of Orsell Cook Brown, a Quarter Master’s Assistant of the 44th Volunteer Infantry of New York, which she transcribed as part of her work as a Siena Summer Scholar. Dr. Eelman spoke on, “’A Great Curiosity to See Battle’: Ellsworth’s Avengers in 1862.” More details are available from Capital District Civil War Roundtable and from Siena News.



Center for Revolutionary Era Studies Receives $175,000 NEH Grant

Dr. Jenn Dorsey, Director of CRES

Siena College’s Center for Revolutionary Era Studies (CRES) has been awarded a grant in the amount of $175,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers. This is the second NEH grant that CRES has received.since 201. “I am excited about this project as it will allow us to build collaborations with academic historians, public historians, museum professionals and performing artists in an effort to expand humanities programming. It will also raise awareness of the unique contributions of New York to the early history of the United States,” said Jennifer Dorsey, Ph.D., director of CRES. More details are available here.