New Chair for Department of History

Dr. Mercantini is the new chair for the Department of History. To make things easy for you, he is in Dr. Bellitto’s old office. Please direct any inquiries for the ‘chair’ to him: jmercant@kean.edu

Welcome Back 2014-2015 

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Academic Year at Kean University. The Department of History faculty and staff are excited to see familiar faces and to meet new majors, possible majors, and all of you who enjoy history. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, events and activities planned for the upcoming year and we hope you will join us.

The Department of History is proud of our reputation, on campus and beyond, as one of the most active and engaged at Kean University. Whether it is showcasing student research at Liberty Hall Museum or the University archives; leading students on tours of historic sites around the region; or working with students individually to help you improve your writing and critical thinking; we are always eager to share our passion for history.

To keep informed of events as well as important information about registration and examples of how history is connected to our larger society, please join our social media networks.

Twitter: @KeanHistory

Facebook: Kean University Department of History

The Kean University Historical Society

The KEAN UNIVERSITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (KUHS) is a forum for those students at the University who are interested in activities on campus related to history. KUHS sponsors a wide range of activities each year, from a lecture series for speakers from both outside and within the campus, to book and film discussions, historical gaming, trips to local and regional historical sites, and a yearly panel discussion on academic advisement while at Kean, as well as career possibilities after graduation. All students are welcome to join and participate!

Tuesday, September 9th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, September 16th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, September 30th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, October 14th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, November 4th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, November 18th, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117
Tuesday, December 2nd, 3:30-4:15 PM at Hennings Hall room 117

Additional meeting dates, times, and locations for KUHS can be found through the organization's Cougarlink page and Facebook page. For any questions or interest on joining the organization, please contact history@kean.edu.


2014 marks the 350th Anniversary of the naming of “New Jersey.” New Jersey began in 1664 as a royal gift. Charles II of England granted a sizeable parcel of land on the east coast of North America to his brother James, Duke of York. James in turn gave a piece of this valuable real estate to two loyal noblemen, Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley. The document that records this transaction, now housed at the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton, proclaims that “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Cesarea or New Jersey.” And so New Jersey was born.

When the English arrived in 1664 they found a place that was already relatively diverse in its inhabitants. In addition to Native American populations, Swedish and Dutch settlers had already made the arduous journey to what would become the Garden State. This characteristic of diversity continues to be a hallmark of New Jersey today.

Kean University is celebrating New Jersey’s 350th birthday in a big way. A series of 52 videos, co-authored by Kean University Department of History scholars Terry Golway and Jonathan Mercantini and sponsored by the University are being shown on NJTV and online. All of the videos (some are still in production) can be seen on the Kean University YouTube page

And you can learn more about statewide celebrations of NJ350 at officialnj350.com


Congratulations to the thirteen new members of the The Omega Alpha chapter of Phi Alpha: John Boylan, Peter Bugbee, Tyler Castellano, Michael Cestaro, Sean Ertle, Alexander J. Ferenc, Samantha Fetzer, Christine Garbaravage, Jeremy Hollingworth, Casey Kanarkowski, Amanda McCollum, Teresa Pandolfo, and Alexandra Reilly! 

The induction ceremony for these new members was held at Kean Ocean on April 8th, 2014. Following the ceremony and reception, Professor Frank Argote-Freyre delivered a talk entitled "My Father Warned Me Not to Get a History Degree."

An additional 28 new members were also inducted to Omega Alpha Chapter at Kean University in Union. Students inducted include Ruqayyah Abdullah, Ramon Aldarondo, Melissa Calton, Franchesca Chabla, Jonathan Cutler, Nicholas DeRosa, Gregory Erickson, Kathryn Ferris, Briana Gordon, Gregory Jackson, Naomi Kammer, Gabriel Kissoon, Katherine Lalama, Jennifer Lee, David Lewis,Madeline Luboff, Sarah Masperi, Anthony McFarlane, Tracey McGurk, Jessica Motta, Rebecca Parker, Mary Piasecki, Jessica Roldan, Thomas Romano, Marisa Stalfa, Philip Vitale, Ray Urbanski, Alexie Zachariades.

Guest speaker, Professor Julia Landweber, delivered a lecture entitled “The ‘Queen of Beans’ Comes to France, Or How the French Learned to Love Coffee.”

The 2014 “Dr. Martin Siegel Prize for Excellence in Research and Writing an Original Piece of Historical Scholarship,” the prize awarded to the best senior seminar paper, was awarded to Abigail Petritsch for her paper on the historiography of Cleopatra. The award was presented by Dr. Adrienne Siegel, wife of the late Dr. Martin Siegel who taught in the Department of History for many years.


Don't miss our opening year student mixer!
September 11, 3:15pm Townsend 111

Come meet history majors and the Department of History faculty at our Open House. You'll be able to learn more about our courses, the History Honors Program, the Kean University Historical Society and upcoming lectures and events on: Springsteen, race relations, World War I, banned books and more.

Kean Ice Bucket Challenge

The Department of History will be participating in the #Kean IceBucketChallenge to raise money for ALS research. Dr. Mercantini will join President Farahi and other members of the Kean Community on the steps of the new Green Lane building at 2pm on Monday September 15. Full details for the event can be found at: http://www.kean.edu/als-ice-bucket-challenge

Please join us in what is expected to be the largest Ice Bucket event in New Jersey. If you would like to make a financial contribution you can do so here!

Writing Workshops

The Department of History will continue to offer writing workshops this semester.  Scheduled workshops include:
September 9: “How to Take an Online Course,” 3:15 PM, T111
September 22: “How to Read Effectively,” 3:15 PM, T111
September 29: “How to Take an Essay Exam,” 3:15 PM, T111

October 16: “Writing a History Paper,” 3:15 PM, T111

In the meantime, note that you can always get help with writing with the resources available on the Department of History website at http://www.kean.edu/~history/resources/workscited.html.

Resolving Constitutional Conflict: Past and Present

This year's Constitution Day event will take place on Thursday, September 18 at 12:30 pm in the Carriage House. The program is titled "Resolving Constitutional Conflict: Past and Present," and will feature Dr. Robert Hunt from the department of political science, speaking on religious freedom; Dr. Gil Kahn from also from the department of political science, discussing the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government; and Dr. Abigail Perkiss, exploring the links between Prohibition, the legalization of marijuana, and violent crime in the US.

Faculty Lecture 

Abigail Perkiss, Assistant Professor of History, will present a lecture entitled "Making Good Neighbors: Community Organizing and Racial Integration in Postwar Philadelphia," on October 9 at 2 PM in the Carriage House at Liberty Hall. In the talk, Dr. Perkiss will discuss themes featured in her book, Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia.

Mark your Calendars

September 9: Writing Workshop, “How to Take an Online Class,” Mercantini,3:15 PM, T111

September 11: History Major Mixer, 3:15-4:30 PM, T111

September 18: Constitution Day, “Resolving Constitutional Conflict: Past and Present,” 12:30 PM, Carriage House

September 22: Writing Workshop, “How to Read Effectively,” Nicholson, 3:15 PM, T111

September 29: Writing Workshop, “How to Take an Essay Exam,” Mayer, 3:15 PM, T111

October 9: Faculty Lecture, Abby Perkiss, "Making Good Neighbors: Community Organizing and Racial Integration in Postwar Philadelphia," 2PM Carriage House

October 13: Writing Workshop, “How to Write a History Paper,” 3:15 PM, T111

October 14: "Born in the USA at 30: New Jersey and America in the Popular Image," Dr. Louis Masur, 3:15pm, Kean Hall 127

October 21: Advising Meeting, 3:15 PM, Bruce 109, and 6:30 PM, T111

October 28: Halloween Lecture: “What Was Really So Scary about Frankenstein?,” Lisa Nocks, 3:15PM, Carriage House

November 10: World War I Panel Discussion, 3:15PM