After four years of serving as a mentor to his classmates and local high school students, providing tremendous leadership in the classroom and on the football field, and pursuing with dynamic intellect and insatiable curiosity a major in American studies, Michael Haines can say he got the most out of his F&M experience. At the College's Commencement ceremony May 10, his contributions as a scholar, leader and athlete earned Mike the 2014 Williamson Medal, the College's most prestigious award for student achievement. Mike also won the Sener Prize, which is awarded for outstanding work in American Studies, and was selected for the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Mike will be attending medical school in the fall, and credits his American Studies coursework with giving him "a grounding, a solid reason to go into medicine."
This is the second consecutive year that an American Studies major won the Williamson Medal. In 2013, the honor went to Alexis Teevens, who also won the department's Sener Prize.
* denotes member of the Eastern American Studies Association Honor Society
By Peter Durantine
For 35 years, Professor David Schuyler has challenged his Franklin & Marshall College students to view the subjects of culture and history from multiple perspectives.
He takes that same approach as a researcher and writer, a scholarly method that has earned Schuyler the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York from the New York Academy of History at Columbia University, his alma mater. The honor recognizes Schuyler's 2012 book Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909, and is the third prize the volume has won.
Named for the governor who served the Empire State in the 1930s and early 1940s, the award aligns with the New York Academy’s mission to "promote and honor outstanding historical research and writing." The academy's director, Kenneth Jackson, presented the award this spring at a dinner at Manhattan's Century Club.
"It's especially touching because he was co-director of my dissertation and has been a close friend for many years," Schuyler said of Jackson. "It was great to share that moment with him."
Schuyler, F&M's Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and American Studies and a founding trustee of the academy, is a native of the Hudson Valley city of Newburgh, N.Y. He grew up on tales of the subjects of his book: Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole, writer Washington Irving, and landscape gardener Andrew Jackson Downing.
"Many have written of these figures, but Mr. Schuyler brings them to life in engaging ways and with fresh insights," reads the Lehman Prize citation. "He never loses sight of the fact that these artists and writers not only rendered the Hudson River Valley for generations of Americans but also shaped their perception of it."
Schuyler remains committed to the Empire State's most prominent river region, serving on preservation boards as well as on the Hudson River Valley Review editorial board.
In a recurring feature called "Three Questions," Schuyler discusses the valley's significance to the United States, why landscape histories matter, and the evolution of teaching and learning in F&M's American Studies program. Click here to read the full article.
2013-14 was an eventful year for me. After arriving at Franklin & Marshall last fall, I spent much of my time getting familiar with Lancaster and the surrounding area, not to mention the great students and faculty at F&M. I’m so glad to be back again this year.
In February, I was invited to share my dissertation research on American Newsreels at the Visual Studies Research Institute at the University of Southern California as part of the seminar series, Getting the Picture: The History and Visual Culture of the News. The seminar was held in conjunction with the publication of Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News edited by Vanessa Schwartz and Jason Hill (Bloomsbury), which includes my chapter ““Public Forum of the Screen: Modernity, Mobility, and Debate at the Newsreel Cinema.”
This summer has been a busy one. In June, I spent two weeks in New York participating in the Advertising Education Foundation’s Visiting Professor Program. As a Visiting Professor at JWT – America’s oldest advertising agency – I was able to get a glimpse inside the advertising industry. Students who take my American Advertising class next spring can expect to enjoy the benefits of my experience as I have plans for guest speakers, new lectures and group projects based on real world scenarios. Since getting back to Vancouver from New York I have been prepping for teaching African American Studies in the fall and working on new research on documentary images of Martin Luther King.
In other news, my wife, Andrea, and I spent much of the summer gardening, laying a new patio and creating a backyard cinema. We recently held our first open air screening: Hitchcock’s Rear Window seemed an appropriate choice.
The 2013-14 academic year started with a research sabbatical. I visited archives in Boston, Detroit and Washington, D.C., to research my new project on "Economic Citizenship in Reagan's America." With my return to the classroom in the spring semester I taught three courses, including Studying America, a required course for juniors on AMS methods and theory. It was rewarding to work with our very capable students as they developed their understanding of our discipline and demonstrated intellectual maturity.
During the past year, I developed a new AMS course, As Seen on TV: History as Media Event, which explored the network news coverage of such key moments in U.S. history as the Vietnam war, Watergate and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. In April, four of my AMS students from the fall semester (Maria Guarisco, Courtney Rinden, Erin Moyer and Gabi Woods) presented a panel on the first hours of the live TV coverage of the JFK assassination at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference in Chicago. And most recently, I've been working with two Hackman Scholars (Courtney Rinden and Erin Moyer) as the first researchers to have access to the 28.5 hours of unedited video footage of Richard Nixon's 1977 interviews with David Frost. [Editor's note: Click here to read more about the Nixon/Frost project.]
In June I completed the copyediting on my book manuscript, Censoring Racial Ridicule: Irish, Jewish and African American Struggles Over Race and Representation, 1890-1930 (UNC Press). The book is due to appear in January 2015. For the second half of the summer I worked on a research project about the history of integrated swimming pools in Lancaster. The campaign to desegregate Lancaster's swimming pools involved several F&M faculty in the 1960s. Years ago, American Studies students did some of the early research with me and in the spring semester Shanni Davidowitz '14 wrote a draft of the essay with me, so it has been a collaborative American Studies project. I also spent time in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Montreal.
David Schuyler spent 2013-2014 completing The Frederick Law Olmsted Papers, vol. IX: The Last Great Projects, 1890-1895, which will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in late December 2014 or early January 2015. He is grateful to his collaborator, Greg Kaliss, and to seven F & M students who have been Hackman Scholars and who contributed enormously to the work on the volume. The summer 2014 team included Leah Brenner, Erin Moyer and Shannon Ricchetti. His most recent book, Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909 (2012), was awarded the New York Academy of History’s Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship.