History Department faculty members pride themselves on being dedicated to their teaching, scholarship and service.
This page includes short academic biographies for professors in the program.
Dr. Evan Faulkenbury recently published Poll Power: The Voter Education Project and the Movement for the Ballot in the American South (2019) that tells the story of a behind-the-scenes civil rights organization that funded hundreds of grassroots African American registration campaigns during the 1960s and 1970s. His courses and research focus on the civil rights movement, public history and United States history. Dr. Faulkenbury also facilitates internships in public history. He is currently working on a book project about slave revolts.
Graduate Program Coordinator
A medieval historian who focuses on gender and power, Associate Professor Laura Gathagan publishes widely on queenship, elite women’s power and masculinity in the 11th and 12th centuries. Her work carries her to France and England regularly. Her travels have inspired her to create a study-abroad class to the UK with her colleagues in the English department — ‘Medieval England: There and Back Again’ — that is available to graduate students. Dr. Gathagan is the editor of the Haskins Society Journal, an international referred publication on topics including Early English, Viking, Norman, and Angevin history. She co-edited the Companion to the Abbey of Le Bec in the Central Middle Ages (11th–13th Centuries) with Ben Pohl and is currently writing a biography of Mathilda of Flanders entitled, Embodying Conquest: The Queenship of Mathilda of Flanders. Dr. Gathagan is the graduate coordinator for the History Department.
A specialist in German, modern European, and global environmental history, Professor Scott Moranda’s specific research interests include environmental history and the history of tourism. He is the author of The People’s Own Landscape: Nature, Tourism, and Dictatorship and has also written on East German social history, the environmental history of tourism and ecotourism. He is actively involved with the Clark Center for Global Engagement, the Project for Eastern and Central Europe and using SUNY Cortland’s outdoor education center in the Adirondacks and other central New York environmental centers for the teaching of environmental history. Currently, Dr. Moranda is developing a book project on German and German-American soil health advocates and how their critiques of “uniquely” American forms of plunder capitalism shaped German, American and global thinking about soil health and sustainable capitalism.
As a former middle school history teacher, Assistant Professor Jared McBrady has a passion for helping others become exceptional history teachers. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Studies, with a cross-specialization in History Education and Teacher Education, from the University of Michigan. His teaching and research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in history and the preparation of K-16 history teachers. Dr. McBrady’s most recent scholarship uses the Decoding the Disciplines research and teaching paradigm to simultaneously give teacher candidates experience “decoding” tacit disciplinary knowledge of history and improve history curricula to make that disciplinary knowledge more explicit and learnable for students.
Coordinator, Adolescence Education: Social Studies
Dr. Gigi Peterson’s research and teaching interests include transnational histories in which the flows of people and ideas transcend national borders, and constitute important forces for change. Before transnational was trendy, her dissertation explored collaboration between Mexican and U.S. labor and civil rights activists in the 1930s and 40s. Her subsequent scholarly activity expanded on that work, and has also treated topics such as Chilean exiles (with presentations at universities in Germany and Cuba), immigrant rights and civil rights activism, a new project on rightwing violence in 1930s Texas and various aspects of social studies teaching. Migration remains a central theme in her teaching, which has included an international Summer School in Fulda, Germany, courses at SUNY Cortland, and Collaborative Online International (COIL) projects with international partners at the Universität Potsdam (UP), Germany, and Mexican and South African universities. Her Spring 2022 course “Rethinking Migration History” involves COIL collaboration with students at UP and La Trobe University (Australia), as part of a larger project, “UP Network for Sustainable Teacher Education,” funded by the German Academic Exchange (DAAD). Dr. Peterson will co-instruct a related Summer 2022 course at Universität Potsdam which will be open to SUNY applicants as well as other international students.
Dr. Kevin B. Sheets is chair and professor of history. He is the author of the two-volume Sources for America’s History (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press), now in its 10th edition. His focus on American intellectual and cultural history includes research and writing projects on the history of mind and memory in the nineteenth century. He has been awarded $3 million in U.S. Department of Education “Teaching American History” grants to fund professional development projects for K-12 teachers, and, with Dr. Randi Storch, he has received six grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in 19th century U.S. history and a graduate course in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) of history. He is also a member of the Organization of American Historian’s Committee on Teaching.
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Professor Randi Storch is an historian of United States with a focus on the twentieth century, labor, gender and democratic social movements. In addition to working with undergraduate and graduate students, she has co-led (with Dr. Kevin Sheets) six National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grants for K-12 teachers. She is the author of Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35 and Working Hard for the American Dream: Workers and their Unions from World War I to the Present. Dr. Storch’s publications appear in scholarly journals and on public history websites. Her passion for teaching has been recognized and rewarded by the SUNY System’s highest honor, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and its highest rank, Distinguished Teaching Professor.
Interim Director, Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies
A historian of development, Associate Professor Bekeh Ukelina teaches courses in African History, Migration, World history, African development. His research examines the ideologies and practices of development in Africa, south of the Sahara. He focuses primarily on understanding how the interlocking layers of exploitation in the colonial period and the neoliberal policies of the post-political independence period have shaped African relations with the Global North, and created conditions of underdevelopment on the continent. Dr. Ukelina’s work helps development experts tasked with designing and implementing policies and schemes to identify some of the pitfalls during the planning process, thus leading to better outcomes for inhabitants of Africa who are often living in terrible conditions partly because of planning failures. His most recent book, The Second Colonial Occupation: Development Planning, Agriculture, and the Legacies of British Rule in Nigeria won the 2018 NYASA Book Award.