Department News

History Professor Shares Story of Mexicans in Chicago

The history of Mexicans on the country's largest Catholic diocese, in one of the country's biggest cities, is the fascinating story told by Deborah Kanter, history professor at Albion College. Kanter's talk is part of the College's Latino/a Heritage Month celebration and takes place Friday, October 12, at 1 p.m. in the College's Bobbitt Visual Arts Center, at the corner of Hannah and East Cass Streets.

Kanter traces the history of Mexican Catholicism in Chicago, from a barely discernible presence in 1940 to the present day, when 40% of the diocese is of Mexican descent and Spanish is studied by all seminarians. Focusing on the Slavic-founded neighborhood of Pilsen, Kanter traces the change and impact of Mexicans on the church and the community.

This presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Yvonne Spence, History Department secretary, at or 517/629-0396.

Faculty News May 2012

The Department bids farewell to Dr. Yajun Mo who joins the faculty at Long Island University.

Geoffrey Cocks has published a new book, The State of Health: Illness in Nazi Germany (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is featured in the documentary film Room 237 (screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival). Summer takes him to London to conduct research at Stanley Kubrick Archives, University of the Arts.

Deborah Kanter's article "Making Mexican Parishes: Ethnic Succession in Chicago Churches, 1947-77," will be published in U.S. Catholic Historian.

Chris Hagerman, on sabbatical in fall 2012, is embarking on a new project to explore how experience of the intense environmental destruction of the Western Front during the Great War influenced conceptions of nature in British artistic and scientific discourse. His research, supported by a GLCA New Directions Initiative grant, will take him to France, Belgium, London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Algonquin Park.

Marcy Sacks has two publications forthcoming: "Behind the Brown Mask: Joe Louis's Face and the Construction of Racial Mythologies," in ConFiguring America: Iconic Figures, Visuality, and the American Identity, Michael Fuchs, ed. (University of Chicago Press); and "Speaking Through Silence: Whites' Efforts to Make Meaning of Joe Louis," in The Cultures of Boxing, David Scott, ed. Indiana University Press).

Denault Receives Off-Campus Research Prize

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) recently recognized Chelsea Denault, '12, for writing the best student research project in the humanities on an ACM program during the 2010-11 academic year. Denault completed the project, "The Spirited Will Act: Josiah Quincy, Jr. and the Mob Culture of pre-Revolutionary Boston" while participating in the ACM's Newberry Library Seminar during the fall 2010 semester.

Geoff Cocks' New Book: History's Tools, Historian's Expertise Fully Utilized

Geoff Cocks previously authored Psychotherapy in the Third Reich.Geoff Cocks previously authored Psychotherapy in the Third Reich.Historians have held to the assumption that Nazi Germany built a society where individualism was stamped out because everyone in the "master race" was subordinated to the collective "racial community." While the racial community was a reality, Albion College history professor Geoff Cocks argues the individuals still looked out for their own material interests and that this was exhibited most significantly in the way Germans were concerned about their health.

Cocks used all of the skills he has developed as a historian to assemble first-person accounts—like a two-volume diary by Victor Klemperer, novels by Christa Wolf and Hans Fallada, and archival documents from Europe, the United States, and Israel—to complete his new book, The State of Health: Illness in Nazi Germany. The book was published by the Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom in January and will be released in the United States this spring.

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