Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dr. Joseph Rishel & the Morning Mix--this Friday!

Dr. Joseph Rishel

We weren't kidding when we said that we have some pretty amazing scholars in our department.  Dr. Rishel is no exception.  A master of Pittsburgh's history (as well as all things American history), he's also one of the most down-to-earth, knowledgeable, and all-around swell guys we know. 

He's also actively involved in the community.  This Friday, February 25, 2011, Dr. Rishel will be speaking at Tom Baker's Morning Mix, which educates and inspires individuals in Western PA while also serving as a useful monthly networking resource. Hosted by Tom Baker and Vivian Lee Croft (a Duquesne University graduate and former student aide here in the History Department), the Pittsburgh Morning Mix is an opportunity to learn from visionary leaders who will speak about their experiences within the business, non-profit, government, and educational sectors.

Vivian Croft and Tom Baker
Friday's Morning Mix
Date: Friday, February 25, 2011
Location: Panera Bread, 3401 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA  15213 (directions)
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m. Open networking
8:45 a.m. Introductions
9:00 a.m. Featured speaker (Dr. Rishel!)
9:30 a.m. Wrap up

If you are interested in getting connected to other civic leaders while also learning valuable lessons about success and service, the Pittsburgh Morning Mix will be a great fit for you. The Pittsburgh Morning Mix is coordinated by Get Involved!, Inc. and Baker Leadership and held monthly at Panera Bread on Blvd. of the Allies.

The next Morning Mix will be held on Friday, March 23, 2011, and will feature Chaz Kellem, Manager of Diversity Initiatives with the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Monday, February 21, 2011


Trust us when we say we have a department full of some of the most fascinating (and funny) scholars around.  Meet Dr. Joe Coohill, our next victim participant in our Faculty Spotlight Series. He's no exception. His answer to question #7 will give you a chuckle.

(And if you're just joining us, check out the previous Faculty Spotlight posts on Dr. Matthew Hyland, Dr. Michael Cahall, Dr. Joseph Rishel, and Dr. Jing "Jay" Li.)

1.  What is your favorite historical era or moment?

The United Kingdom (Britain and Ireland) in the 1830s and 1840s. The "Age of Reform." Endlessly deep and fascinating. Almost every aspect of government's relations to the human condition was debated in depth during this highly-compressed period: political rights, workers' rights, the rights of women and children, economic rights, and on and on. Things get much less interesting in the 1850s.

2.  If you weren't teaching history, what would you be doing? 

I would be in politics, law, or journalism.

3.  What is your favorite piece or event of Pittsburgh history?

The Pirates winning the 1971 World Series.

4.  What one book would you recommend to every student of history? 

There are too many to list.

5.  The classic dinner question - what historical figures (up to 5) would you have to dinner? and just as important - what is the main course?

Charles Barry (British architect), Augustus Welby Pugin (British architect), Lord Duncannon (British politician), Joseph Hume (British politician), and Sir George Hayter (British painter), all because I'm doing research on them now and could get some exclusive interviews and ask them to save all their letters solely for my research. Main course -- lamb with rosemary, roast potatoes, peas, claret and port.

6.  Does history really repeat itself?


7.  What historical location and during what time period would you have liked to lived? 

I would like to have lived in Madrid in December 1863, so that I could strangle the infant George Santayana in his crib. Then he would never have grown up to say, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (often misquoted in various ways -- "those who do not learn from history,...", etc). And humanity would never be plagued by what has become a threadbare and meaningless cliche.

8.  Who/what leader had the coolest historical costume? 


9.  What is the most significant historical moment you have known in your lifetime?

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Eastern European/Soviet socialism.

10. Do you have a favorite historical quote or reference?  


Friday, February 11, 2011


We continue with our Faculty Spotlight series by highlighting Dr. Jing "Jay" Li.  Dr. Li joined the Duquesne University Department of History in 2002.  We're thrilled to announce that his first book, China's America: The Chinese View the United States, 1900-2000, will be released next month by SUNY Press.

Continue reading to find out a little bit more about our very own Dr. Li!

1.What is your favorite historical era or moment?
In the Spring-Autumn era, which was 2,500 years before our time, Confucius travelled around China with his students, in horse-drawn carts, trying to convince kings and princes to take up his philosophy. Few listened to him and even fewer acted on his advice, but the traveling, with the master talking and complaining, should be fun.

2. If you weren’t teaching history, what would you be doing?
Slowly but surely becoming a tiny little piece of history all the same.

3. What is your favorite piece or event of Pittsburgh history?
When the two formed and converged here. It’s actually prehistory, but that’s what made the existence of Pittsburgh possible in the first place.

4. What one book would you recommend to every student of history?
Science and Civilization in China. Head-authored by the famed Joseph Needham, there are 27 volumes of the book in existence currently, with more to come. I looked at them and marveled.

Alternatively, one may try 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates. 

5. The classic dinner question—what historical figures (up to 5) would you have to dinner? And just as important—what is the main course?
Mao, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Gandhi (I know, that’s six – I can be an observer).

As for the main course, the guests must work it out among themselves. Otherwise, no one gets to eat.

6. Does history really repeat itself?
Yes and no. True, you can’t exactly step into the same river twice, but the river is there.

7. What historical location and during what time period would you have liked to live?
Would like to time-travel through all of them. Hang around and observe Tolstoy writing his War and Peace.

8. Who/what leader had the coolest historical costume?
Hard to beat Gandhi on this one. (“Beat” is probably the wrong word to use on the pacifist).

9. What is the most significant historical moment you have known in your lifetime?
I happened to be in Beijing in May and June 1989 when demonstrations at the Tiananmen Square took place.

10. Do you have a favorite historical quote or reference?
“Those who don’t know history will repeat history” – meaning students who failed their history courses must retake them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011