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Matthew WarshauerFocus on Scholarship:
Bringing Connecticut History to CCSU

Connecticut History has become the first scholarly professional journal to be housed at CCSU, and Dr. Matthew Warshauer, associate professor of history, has assumed editorship of the journal. “I am absolutely thrilled to have Connecticut History here at CCSU,” said Warshauer. “The journal will maintain its traditional excellence in publishing really fine research articles, but it also will expand into the public history and secondary school sector. We will provide more information on what is happening in our state’s museums, historical societies, and archives, and offer materials that will be usable in middle and high schools. Good history is not happening only within the state’s colleges and universities. It’s all around us, and we want to tap into that history and make it accessible to a wide audience.”

According to Warshauer, upcoming issues will include articles on Native Americans and the law, slavery, and the economic and cultural effects of the state’s attempt to create good roads at the turn of the nineteenth century. “Connec-ticut is rich in historical resources, and, as one of the original thirteen colonies, it occupies a special place in the nation’s history,” he observed. “As the only scholarly journal devoted to our state’s past, Connecticut History is committed to serving as a resource for academics and the public history sector, as well as the general public.”

Since 1975, Connecticut History has been published by the Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH), a non-profit organization promoting the study of the history of the state. With the resignation of editor Dr. Robert Asher, who is in the Department of History at the University of Connecticut, the ASCH Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Warshauer, who had served on the editorial board. Warshauer, a 1990 graduate of Central, has been a member of the CCSU History Department since 1997. A specialist in 19th-century American political history, Warshauer focuses his scholarship on Andrew Jackson. Dr. Katherine Hermes, associate professor of history at CCSU, who will be the book review editor, played a key role in easing the editorial transition to the University.

Published twice yearly, Connecticut History has an editorial board of 13 members currently from CCSU, Yale, UConn, Sacred Heart University, and the Connecticut State Library, as well as independent scholars. “We have a diverse editorial board that spans many fields of history,” said Warshauer. “Thus we want to see the best of research on everything from slavery, to maritime topics, to women’s history, as well as more articles focused on the 1789–1840s period.”

Readership of the journal is broad, including museum and historical society professionals, academic scholars, history buffs, graduate students, and educators. “People realize that we need to be cognizant of where we came from so that we can better understand who we have become and how we got here.” In addition to articles, the journal carries reviews on exhibits and books, notes, and documents.

New features are being designed specifically for the benefit of middle and high school teachers. In some issues, selected articles will be accompanied with a lesson plan that will appear on the journal’s Web site. Warshauer described another change: “We will also take the current ‘Documents’ section of the journal, which is devoted to important primary sources such as diaries, government papers, letters, and speeches, and connect the documents to the article and lesson plan so middle school teachers could utilize a sort of package on a particular subject.” Further, a Web site review feature will be added to the journal, and it too will be connected to the lesson plan. These altered components, Warshauer said, will “make Connecticut History not only an important resource for educators around the state but also create a forum that will help with future collaborations between Connecticut’s universities and secondary schools.”

Expanding further on the journal’s aims, Warshauer explained, “As editor, I think the journal represents where both the History Department and the University is attempting to go. We want to show our serious commitment to research and scholarship, our traditional focus on teacher education, and our mission to expand community outreach. With the rise of the History Department’s Public History Program we have made a commitment to focus more specifically on state and local history. Public history is a field that is exploding within academic institutions around the country, and we see ourselves at the forefront of the movement in Connecticut. Creating links with other history agencies in the state is paramount to the success of our Public History Program.” Accordingly, a new feature will highlight particular collections from the state’s museums, archives, or historical societies.

Warshauer also plans to take advantage of the University’s connection to ASCH, and on November 8 will host the annual ASCH meeting on campus. This year’s program topic is “Native Americans and the Law,” and papers presented will be published in the fall 2004 issue of Connecticut History. CCSU is also hosting the ASCH Web site (http://asch.ccsu.edu/)on the CCSU server.

“Bringing Connecticut History here to CCSU and forging relationships with ASCH are parts of our long-term plan of ultimately forming a Center for the Study of Connecticut History,” announced Warshauer. “While plans are in progress and in the preliminary stages, our goal is not to attempt to replace or duplicate what other historical organizations in the state are doing, but to act as a hub for speakers, make connections, and further the goals of the state’s public history sector.”

— Geri Radacsi

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