UNCW Public History faculty members are committed teachers, researchers, and advocates. Like public historians everywhere, they are fully engaged in helping communities explore, analyze, and preserve their pasts.
Nana Akua Amponsah, Oral History
Nana Akua Amponsah is an Assistant Professor of African History. She received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. She specializes in the history of West Africa and the African Diaspora with particular interest in Women, Gender, Sexualities, Reproductive Health, Oral History and Historical Memory. Her recent publications include a co-authored book, Women’s Roles in Sub-Saharan Africa and a co-edited book, Women, Gender, and Sexualities in Africa.
Nathan Crowe, Digital History
Nathan Crowe is a historian of science, technology and medicine who specializes in the history of twentieth century biology. He earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2011, after which he worked as a postdoctoral fellow on a large digital history project, the Embryo Project Encyclopedia, at the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University. At UNCW, Professor Crowe teaches courses on the history of science, the Darwinian Revolution, and Race, Religion, and Politics in Modern Science, as well as a variety of topics related to the history of biology in his senior and graduate seminars. Along with working on his manuscript about the history of cloning, Professor Crowe uses digital history tools to understand how developmental biology as a field changed in the decades after WWII. To do this he works with with a self-generated database of thousands of developmental biologists from 1945-1970 and applies a variety of computational and visualization methods to understand how research changed over time both nationally and internationally. He is always looking for ways in which technology can inform and augment his historical research projects.
Monica Gisolfi, Environmental and Southern History
Monica Gisolfi directs the undergraduate internship program and offers classes in environmental history and southern history. She has a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is the author of Big Chicken, Small Farmers: Rural People and the Rise of Agribusiness in the Georgia Upcountry, 1900-1970 (University of Georgia Press, 2013). She is currently working on new research about African American farmers from 1984 to the present.
Tammy Gordon, Museum Studies
Dr. Gordon at the Jingle Bell 5K, running as the leg lamp from A Christmas Story to raise money for the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.
Tammy S. Gordon Director of the UNCW Public History Program, has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University and teaches courses in museum education, museum exhibition, collections theory and practice, and public history in international context. She is the author of Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life, the forthcoming The Spirit of 1976: Commerce, Community, and the Politics of Commemoration (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013) and other pieces published in The Public Historian, The Journal of American History, the American Historical Review and History: Reviews of New Books. Her work in museums includes six years in the Exhibits Division at the Michigan State University Museum, where she researched, developed, designed, and fabricated exhibits. Her favorite part of public history is the opportunity to work with different communities.
Robert Hart, Environmental and Southern History
Dr. Hart, outstanding in his field
Robert Hart, an environmental and southern historian, teaches classes and conducts research on the intersection of culture and ecology. He is especially interested in cultural and historic landscapes. His most recent article, "The Lowcountry Landscape: Politics, Preservation, and the Santee-Cooper Project" was published in Environmental History in January 2013, explores the way opponents of the New Deal linked conservation and historic preservation to oppose a hydroelectric project in South Carolina. He also focuses on longleaf pine and wetland ecosystems in the South. He has been involved for the last ten years in an extensive longleaf pine restoration project near Charleston. Hart frequently takes his classes into the field to explore the environment of the Carolinas and has informally consulted with public historians at a historic plantation in South Carolina as they seek to make race and the environment part of the park’s interpretative framework.
Kenneth Shefsiek, Historic Preservation and Museum Administration
Ken in his element—on the back porch of an historic house museum
Kenneth Shefsiek holds a Master in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Georgia, with a primary focus in 18th century colonial America. Dr. Shefsiek teaches courses in historic preservation, museum administration, and historic house museums. His dissertation, “Stone House Days,” is a microhistory concerning ethnocultural change over the long eighteenth century within a village established in 1677 by French-speaking Protestants in a Dutch cultural region within an English colony. He is currently transforming his dissertation into a book manuscript, expanding it in order to address the construction of memory and the establishment of sites of commemoration in that community in the 19th century. As the former executive director of the Geneva Historical Society and former curator of education at the Huguenot Historical Society, both in New York, he brings a wealth of practical experience to his teaching in public history.
Jarrod Tanny, Jewish History
Dr. Tanny, known for teaching about humor and for having a sense of humor
Jarrod Tanny is Assistant Professor and the Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Fellow in Jewish History. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on Russian and Jewish history. His monograph, City of Rogues and Schnorrers (Indiana University Press, 2011), examines how the city of Odessa was mythologized as a Jewish city of sin, celebrated and vilified for its Jewish gangsters, bawdy musicians, and comedians. Dr. Tanny’s teaching and research interests include popular culture and collective memory. His current project focuses on Jewish humor in America.