Pflaum Lecture Series

Our departmental lecture series, begun during the 1971-72 academic year, is named in honor of John C. Pflaum (1904-1975), a member of the history faculty from 1946 to 1972. Thanks to the generosity of his former students and colleagues, each spring a distinguished scholar is invited to campus to speak on a significant issue in history.

About John C. Pflaum

John C. Pflaum (1904-1975) was a professor of history with special interests in the Civil War, the European origins of the First World War, and early Carlisle.  He held the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in recognition of his popularity with students during his Dickinson tenure which began in 1946.  He received his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he also taught for three years after spending six years on the faculty of Temple University.  During his lifetime, he was a most voracious reader–especially a devourer of history, memoirs, biography, and prose literature.  Above all, John Pflaum was a born teacher who inspired fanatical devotion in several generations of Dickinsonians.  His teaching placed an emphasis upon precision and fact and evidenced love of conventional art and literature.  His enthusiasm and dedication are best described in his own words, “The sheer pleasure of teaching, the fun I’ve had in the average class--this is what I remember more than anything else.  My heart is in the lecture room.  It’s almost a shame to take the money.”

2022 Pflaum Lecture

Prof. Katherine Benton-Cohen, Professor and Director of Doctoral Studies in the History Department at Georgetown University, presented the 2022 Pflaum Lecture on April 12, 2022.  Her talk, "In the Middle:  Being a Historian at Middle Distance, Middle Age and in the Middle of It," discussed the personal and intellectual connections between her first and second books, one on the Arizona border's racial and labor history, the other on the origins of federal immigration policy, as well as her role as a historical advisor and film extra in an unusual documentary about the border today.  Prof. Benton-Cohen then reflected on how this phase at the middle of her career has shaped a new project that combines both personal and professional experience in a history of a powerful family -- the Phelps-Dodges -- who were central to the themes of her first academic work.  Finally, she contemplated looking at her work at a middle distance -- the consequence of the disruptions of COVIC in the middle period of her life as a professor and a parent.  

Bell Lecture Series

This lecture series, begun in Fall 2010, honors Whitfield Bell, Jr., class of 1935, author and pioneer in historical editing.  Bell was the Boyd Lee Spahr Chair of American History.  Each fall, in October or November, the current History Majors Committee invites a faculty member in the Dickinson History Department to present a public lecture on a subject of their choice related to their research.  Below is a list of the Bell lectures that have been delivered to date.

Bell Lectures, Fall 2010 - present

2010 - "Joan of Arc and Napoleon in French Public Memory," Prof. Regina Sweeney

2011 - "Indians, Empires, and Violence in the Northeast North America, 1600-1763," Prof. Chris Bilodeau

2012 - "Eleventh-Century France to Twentieth-Century Hollywood:  An Unusual Journey," Prof. Stephen Weinberger

2013 - "Alexander the Great in Late Medieval and Early Modern Persian Historiography:  How the world conquerer and his trusty sidekick, Aristotle, toured Iran and accidentally founded a city that became the center of the world," Prof. Derek Mancini-Lander

2014 - "Stalin's Niños:  Raising Spanish Civil War Refugees in the Soviet Union, 1937-1951," Prof. Karl Qualls

2015 -  "Their Side of the Story:  Black Women's Workplace Resistances in Civil Rights Era Milwaukee," Prof. Crystal Moten

2016 - "Sustenance, Poison, and Cure:  The Role of Food in Caring for the Sick in Early Modern Japan," Prof. W. Evan Young

2017 - "Apocalypse 1979:  Prelude to the Siege of Mecca," Prof. David Commins

2018 - "Black Power and the Myth of White Ejection," Prof. Say Burgin

2019 - "Cross Cultural Encounters:  Botanical Knowledge and Scientific Networks in Nineteenth-Century Angola," Prof. Jeremy Ball

Recent Bell Lectures on video: 

A video of Prof. W. Evan Young's Bell lecture delivered on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 pm in Denny 317:

 A video of Prof. Crystal Moten's Bell lecture delivered on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 at 4:30pm in Denny 317: