To Walk and Think Among the Trees

October 17, 2018

photo of Janet Polasky

Janet Polasky, Presidential Professor of History, delivered an address at the faculty convocation held in honor of UNH’s new president, James Dean, on October 11, 2018. In the speech, Polasky touched on the birth of UNH and, with it, the conviction that has guided UNH since: that a liberal education is at the core of what UNH does — it is advantageous to students, integral to professional education and the foundation for civic engagement.

Read Janet Polasky’s address here.


Polasky Named Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton

April 22, 2016

Janet Polasky

UNH Presidential Professor of History Janet Polasky has been named the Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College in Minnesota. In spring 2017, she will teach two courses at Carleton: a seminar on Atlantic revolution and a course on women in modern European history from 1650 to the present.

“It meant a great deal to be nominated by faculty in the history department, because I was an undergraduate history major at Carleton,” says Polasky. “I presented a faculty seminar there when I was working on my last book, ‘Revolutions without Borders,’ remembering all the while the questions some of those same professors had asked me about my senior thesis.”

“I’m looking forward to the teaching,” adds Polasky. “It’s good to teach in different environments and to different kinds of students. It keeps us alert and energizes our teaching when we return home.”

Carleton College names Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professors through a competitive process of departmental nominations.


UNH Historian’s Book Chosen as Finalist for 2016 George Washington Prize

February 12, 2016

Janet Polasky

To mark the holiday celebrating the country’s first president, Washington College announced seven finalists for the prestigious George Washington Prize. Among them is UNH Presidential Professor of History Janet Polasky, nominated for her book “Revolutions Without Borders: The Call to Liberty in the Atlantic World (Yale University Press). The annual award recognizes the past year’s best written works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history.

Created in 2005 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Washington College, the $50,000 George Washington Prize is one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards. Past recipients have included Pulitzer Prize-wining historian Annette Gordon-Reed and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Distinguished historians and writers Sean Wilentz, Libby O’Connell and James Kirby Martin served as independent jurors who selected the finalists from a field of nearly 60 books published in the past year. The winner of the 2016 prize will be announced at a black-tie gala on Wednesday, May 25 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

This is not the first time a UNH historian has been chosen for this honor. Professor Eliga Gould was nominated for the prize in 2013 for his book, “Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire.”


Revolutions Without Borders: New Book by Historian Janet Polasky

March 19, 2015

book cover

For the tumultuous years from 1776 to 1804, a focus on compartmentalized national histories cannot do justice to the rowdy, radical interchange of ideas around the Atlantic world during the period. National borders were powerless to restrict the flow of enticing new visions of human rights and universal freedom.

In Revolutions without Borders: The Call to Liberty in the Atlantic World (Yale University Press), UNH Presidential Professor of History Janet Polasky focuses on the eighteenth‑century travelers who spread new notions of liberty and equality. It was an age of itinerant revolutionaries, she shows, who ignored borders and found allies with whom to imagine a borderless world. As paths crossed, ideas entangled. The author investigates these ideas and how they were disseminated long before the days of instant communications and social media or even an international postal system. Polasky analyzes the paper records—books, broadsides, journals, newspapers, novels, letters, and more—to follow the far‑reaching trails of revolutionary zeal. What emerges clearly from rich historic records is that the dream of liberty among America’s founders was part of a much larger picture. It was a dream embraced throughout the far‑flung regions of the Atlantic world.

Revolutions Without Borders explores how the revolutionary ideas that spurred the American and French revolutions reverberated far and wide, connecting European, North American, African, and Caribbean peoples more closely than ever before.

Janet Polasky is the author of the prize-winning Revolution in Brussels, 1787‑1793, The Democratic Socialism of Emile Vandervelde: Between Reform and Revolution, and Reforming Urban Labor: Routes to the City, Roots in the Country. Her book Emile Vandervelde, Le Patron won the Pierlot Prize in Contemporary History.


Center for the Humanities Announces 2015-16 Faculty Fellows

October 31, 2014

Center for the Humanities Logo

The Center for the Humanities announces the award of its 2015-2016 Faculty Research Fellowships to five faculty members in support of their research on the following projects:

Tom Haines (English)
“Fueled: An American Odyssey” is built upon six walks the author is taking across diverse landscapes of fuel in America to create an intimate reckoning of how our energy appetite impacts distant places and people.

Janet Polasky (history)
“Cosmopolitans Between Nations” will study the revolutions spawned at the center of Europe in the shadow of threatened empires and at the periphery of those same empires in the long decade between the American and French Revolutions.

Natalie Porter (anthropology)
“Viral Economies: An Ethnography of Entitlement in Pandemic Flu Control” will show how policymakers, health workers, scientists, and citizens exchange knowledge and resources at various sites of bird flu management in Vietnam.

Jeannie Sowers (political science)
“Children of the Uprisings: Protest, Violence, and Children’s Political Participation in the Middle East” will bring together humanities and social science methods to explore changing social discourses, state practices, and legal norms regarding children’s political participation, victimization, and vulnerability in the uprisings of selected Middle Eastern countries.

Reginald Wilburn (English)
“Marked With Milton: A Sequel in Intertextual Tradition” will examine overlooked appropriations of Miltonic influence in the tradition through close analytical readings of African American novels, vocal performances, literary criticism, and an obscure operetta containing strategically selected appropriated passages from Milton’s canon.

Funded by the Center’s general endowment and the Ben and Zelma Dorson Endowment in the Humanities, the fellowships provide a semester-long opportunity for junior and tenured faculty to pursue humanities research with no teaching obligations. Awardees participate in the Faculty Fellows Lecture Series in the year following their fellowship.


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