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Aquinas College Professor Selected to Participate in American History Seminar

May 29, 2014 - (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Dr. Jason Duncan, professor of history at Aquinas College, is one of a select group of college faculty members from across the nation chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to participate in a special American history seminar about Chicago.

A native of Albany, New York, Duncan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He joined the Aquinas Faculty in 2002, where he currently serves as a history professor and chair of the history department. Before entering academics he worked in politics for several years, including as a legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. He is also the author of two books, Citizens or Papists? The Politics of Anti-Catholicism in New York, 1685-1821 (Fordham University Press, 2005) and John F. Kennedy: The Spirit of Cold War Liberalism (Routledge, 2014).

“I’m excited to take part in this seminar,” said Duncan. “It’s an honor to be selected for this important discussion and to sit beside such a diverse and knowledgeable group of scholars.”

From a pool of 51 faculty members nominated, 28 were selected to participate in the week-long seminar, “The Creation of the Modern American City: Chicago from 1830 to 1910.” The seminar will be held June 16 to 20, 2014, at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois. During lectures, group discussions and field trips, participants will exchange ideas with seminar directors Henry Binford, associate professor of history and urban affairs at Northwestern University, and Carl Smith, Franklyn Bliss Snyder professor of English and American studies and professor of history at Northwestern. The seminar is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance. The number of institutions that nominated faculty members who are active as scholars and teachers of this subject is most impressive,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “We believe Dr. Duncan will play a strong role in the seminar.”

The seminar will use a chronological and topical approach to explore major developments in Chicago’s formative period, when it evolved from a tiny frontier outpost to the nation’s second city and emblem of urban modernity, for better and for worse. Discussions will focus on the built environment of Chicago by examining a series of major man-made structures and institutions that both reflected the larger events and ideas that created them and have left a lasting mark on the cityscape. Participants will discuss the coming of the canal, the railroad, and Chicago’s rise to become the transportation center of the nation; the stockyards, the packinghouses, and the city’s transition from commercial center to industrial colossus; the place of the Great Fire and the skyscraper revolution in the evolution of the cityscape; the social strife and economic conflict revealed in the Haymarket bombing and the Pullman Strike; the hopes of urban reform expressed by Hull House, the World’s Columbian Exposition, and the 1909 Plan of Chicago; and the beginnings of the African American community that would later be called the “Black Metropolis.”

For more information, visit the CIC website.

CIC Participants in 2014 Gilder Lehrman Seminar
Cameron Airhart, Houghton College (N.Y.)
Megan Boccardi, Quincy University (Ill.)
D’Ann Campbell, Culver-Stockton College (Mo.)
Kevin Donnelly, Alvernia University (Pa.)
Jason Duncan, Aquinas College (Mich.)
Dierdre Egan-Ryan, St. Norbert College (Wis.)
David Gellman, DePauw University (Ind.)
Daniel Glenn, St. Edward’s University (Texas)
Brian Hallstoos, University of Dubuque (Iowa)
Karen Huber, Wesleyan College (Ga.)
Patrick McLean, Albion College (Mich.)
Julie Mujic, Sacred Heart University (Conn.)
John Olszowka, Mercyhurst University (Pa.)
Matthew Pehl, Augustana College (S.D.)
Susan Rabe, North Park University (Ill.)
Scott Roulier, Lyon College (Ark.)
Joel Shrock, Anderson University (Ind.)
Dale Soden, Whitworth University (Wash.)
Catherine Stewart, Cornell College (Iowa)
Susan Taylor, Wiley College (Texas)
Katherine Tinsley, Manchester University (Ind.)
Abigail Van Slyck, Connecticut College
Paul Van Wie, Molloy College (N.Y.)
Melissa Walker, Converse College (S.C.)
Jacalynn Welling, Malone University (Ohio)
Anne Heath Wiersma, Hope College (Mich.)
Megan Witzleben, Hilbert College (N.Y.)
David Woodard, Concordia University-St. Paul (Minn.)