Senior and Junior Advisory Groups

The Senior and Junior Advisory Groups (SAG and JAG) play a significant role in the life of the History Department, advising the Chair and other members of the Department on such matters as the History curriculum, the structure of the major, advising within the major, and public events, both social and intellectual. In years when the Department is hiring new faculty members, SAG and JAG students participate in the hiring process, meeting with the candidates and subsequently offering their feedback from the perspective of students and majors. Members of the advisory groups also help out during registration and new student orientation, answering questions about the History major and sharing their knowledge about the Department in general. Each Fall self-nominations, along with nominations from the faculty and other students, are sought for membership in the Junior Advisory Group. Juniors automatically transition to the Senior Advisory Group at the beginning of their senior year at Williams.

If you are thinking about being a History major, or have just declared History as a major, or are simply interested in History, you should feel free to get in touch with any member of the advisory groups with your questions about the major, courses, and faculty in the Department. Moreover, if you have ideas about the major or the Department and its undertakings – things we should be doing or doing differently – reach out and share your ideas with members of the advisory groups.

Here is a list of all current SAG members with brief biographical statements and contact details:

I am a History and Classics double major from Claremont, California. I began my coursework in the History Department during Winter Study in my first year through “The Rose and the Pendulum,” a seminar that considered Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum as commentary on the construction of history. Since then, I have studied medieval witchcraft, the intellectual history of the early modern West, the cultural exchange between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, reformations, classical reception, colonialism, and archive studies. I am writing a thesis on the medieval manuscripts of the Hunterian Collection, a critical yet understudied library assembled by the eighteenth-century surgeon William Hunter and currently held at the University of Glasgow. I hope to offer a comprehensive catalogue of its medieval documents and to unearth the medievalisms – the archival representations or definitions of the Middle Ages – central to its construction.

Will Abersek – [email protected]
(studying remotely Fall ’20)

My name is Dom and I’m a History and Political Science major from South West England. This year I’m writing a thesis with Professor Waters on social policy and moral panic in 1980s Britain, but my historical interests also include European colonialism, particularly in the Middle East. During my time at Williams I have also had a strong interest in education and have been involved with various education outreach programs with the Center for Learning in Action.

Dominic Clarke – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

I’m a History major with a Justice and Law concentration. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in how the law is informed by, involved with, and influential upon social movements. This year I am writing a thesis advised by Professor Dubow that will explore the battle for socioeconomic rights in 1970s America, which spans from grassroots movements to arguments before the Supreme Court. But the great thing about the History major is that everybody is encouraged to explore a wide range of courses, which means that I (and most other majors) don’t just have one interest; for example, after taking classes with Professors Bernhardsson and Bevilacqua, I’ve discovered a passion for Middle Eastern cultural history. Outside of classes and research, I love to draw, sing a cappella with the Williams Accidentals, watch sunsets on Stony Ledge, and compete with the Mock Trial team.

Zoë Fisher – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

I’m a History and Chinese double major, so East Asia is a core interest of mine. My thesis, however, is on the Brazilian Amazon, so I’ve been working a lot with Portuguese and Spanish sources lately. My focus is on the intersections of environment and history. I arrived at Williams planning to major in History and Environmental Science, but I found that interpreting the natural world through the lens of social science was preferable. I supplemented my coursework with Envi classes relevant to my research (environmental law, botany) but kept my focus on History.

James Fitzgerald – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

Hello! I’m a History and English double major, as well as a thesis writer studying the New York City subway in the late 20th century. I have no idea how to summarize my interests but I tend to be drawn to urban spaces and political things (like the subway! Public transit is great!) Outside of the History Department, I am an editor at the Record and a harmonica player in the jazz band.

Joey Fox – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

I’m a senior, double majoring in History and Art History, with a concentration in medieval history. Last year I studied abroad with the Williams Exeter Program at Oxford University, where I got to further explore my interests in medieval history, cultural heritage, and archaeology. I am planning to write a senior thesis on the role that representations of Joan of Arc play in French visual culture and national identity. While at Williams, I’ve also been involved with both the Williams College Museum of Art and the Clark.

Meadhbh Ginnane – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

I am a senior History and Biology double major from Vero Beach, Florida. I have many interests in history, but particularly love studying the premodern era, excited to continue that track in my senior year. On campus, I am also a member of the Swimming and Diving team, a thesis student researching pollination networks, and an enthusiastic enjoyer of the beautiful Berkshire views!

Ally Grusky – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

Hi! My name is Madeline and I am a History and Arabic Studies double-major. After taking the Fall 2020 semester off, I am returning to campus this spring to begin my Senior year. I have always loved history, particularly US history, but throughout my time at Williams I have developed a more general interest in the ways that policies and actions throughout history, particularly those in the US, go on to impact current ones that then have wide-reaching influences on Americans and people all over the world, especially those in the Middle East. During my Junior year, I spent six months working and then studying in Amman, Jordan, which was an incredible learning experience. On campus, I am also a barista at and manager of Goodrich Coffee Shop (when it is open) and a member of the Ultimate Frisbee Team.

Madeline Kaplan – [email protected]
(on campus Spring ’21)

I’m a Mathematics and History double major. My thesis is about the turbulence of public spheres during the 1760s and 1770s, as the thirteen colonies approached the Revolutionary War. I’ve written about Williams’ earliest abolition and colonization supporters, a challenging history that must be again confronted. Beyond coursework, I fish, climb, and ski with naive courage and excess gusto.

Darin Li – [email protected]
(on campus Fall ’20)

Hey! My name is Sonia Nyarko and I’m a History major! In high school, my favorite classes were in history and the mentors I have today were in the department. So coming to Williams I knew for sure that I wanted to be a History major, while simultaneously wanting to be a medical doctor. You CAN do both! I started my History journey with Professor Bevilacqua’s introductory course on the history of the coffeehouse and its connections to the Enlightenment. This course intensified my love for historical research and study! Since then, I’ve taken courses in a variety of subjects: medieval England, ancient China, the Nile, the modern Middle East, and historical philosophers like Thucydides, Hegel, Marx, and Foucault. All of these courses taught me information and skills I hadn’t learned in high school or expanded on basic concepts. The History Department has a wonderful team of professors and I have thoroughly enjoyed the courses I’ve taken with instructors like Professors Bernhardsson and Kohut. This year, I am writing a thesis advised by Professors Wong, Twagira, and Steward on African American/African immigrant relations/exchange in the mid-1900s. All of my work in History, in reading, writing, and researching, has prepared me for this endeavor and I’ve been supported by the Department the whole way! Joining the History major is one of the best decisions I’ve made at Williams and one that most people don’t regret! Happy to give recommendations and advice anytime!

Sonia Nyarko – [email protected]
(studying remotely Fall ’20)

Hi! My name is S. Justin Rivers; however, everyone calls me Say Say. I am an Economics, French, and History triple major with a concentration in Africana Studies. I did not come to Williams planning on being a History major; however, I am most definitely elated that I am one. During my time at Williams, my History courses have been without a doubt some of the most memorable and enjoyable courses that I have taken. I have found myself most passionate about American History, as well as European History – given my French major. Thus far, I have taken the following eight History courses towards my History major: HIST 226, “Early Modern Europe;” AFR 164, “Slavery in the United States;” HIST 364, “History of the Old South;” LEAD 212, “Sister Revolutions: France & America;” AFR 385, “Civil War and Reconstruction;” HIST 301, “Approaching the Past: The American Civil War;” and HIST 242, “Latin America: From Conquest to Independence.” Outside of the History Department, I am a member of the football team, I work in Lassell Fitness Center and for the Athletic Department as a clock operator at basketball, lacrosse, and baseball games, and I am co-president of the Gaius C. Bolin Chapter of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. I enjoy morning runs, getting a sweat in in Lassell, fried potato puffs at Paresky, and Sunday brunch at Driscoll. Feel free to contact me with any History questions. I would love to answer them and share my love for the Department and its courses with you.

Say Say Rivers – [email protected]
(taking a leave Fall ’20)

I am a History major and Public Health concentrator interested in American history, specifically the development of the American public health system and American immigration policy. During my time at Williams, I have taken classes in Middle Eastern history, American history, and Russian history. This spring, I will begin a senior history thesis studying the 1978 campaign for Proposition 13 in California, a constitutional amendment that significantly decreased property taxes in the state. On campus I am a manager of Goodrich, the student-run coffee bar, and a member of the ultimate frisbee team (La Wufa).

Clare Rogowski – [email protected]
(on campus Spring ’21)

I am a History and Economics double major from Korea and Vietnam. I’m particularly interested in how we can use empathy to re-think and re-imagine an inclusive history — one that doesn’t “other,” needlessly categorize against a “norm,” or appropriate — and seek targeted change. I’ve done some research on the history of student activism at the College as a public humanities fellow where I got to consult the College’s library archives and conduct interviews with current students and alumni. The past summer, I worked on my Levien fellowship researching hunger, elections, and other Covid-19 related struggles, while pickling cabbage (Kimchi), baking bread, and practicing yoga!

Haeon Yoon – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

Here is a list of all current JAG members with brief biographical statements and contact details:

My name is Emily and I’m a Junior history major. I came to Williams unsure what I wanted to major in, but hoping to explore the concept of narrative deeply. I’m so grateful for how this interest brought me to the History department! Each course I’ve taken, whether on Material Culture or the North American West, has expanded and disrupted my previous perception of storytelling, fueling interdisciplinary thinking to construct the most raw and complex accounts. Outside of classes and research, I’m passionate about education access and policy, community outreach, creative writing, and art.

Emily Bleiberg – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

Hi! I’m a Junior History and Political Science double major with a Leadership Studies Concentration and Arabic Certificate. Though I’m especially interested in the Middle East, I’ve taken history courses on lots of different time periods and topics. The department really encourages its majors to explore a wide range of issues, and I love making connections between different classes. In my free time, I also enjoy showing Williams to prospective students as an admissions tour guide and serve as one of the co-presidents of the Junior Advisors to the class of 2024!

Max Chayet – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

Hey! My name is Darío and I am a History major and French concentrator. I have always been drawn to history but I never thought I would actually end up majoring in it! What I love about history is how encompassing it is, which is perfect for me because my interests are all over the place. I really enjoy learning about religion, border studies, cultural heritage, kpop (Twice <3), and anything in between. When I am not imagining myself in some random historical setting, I dance with Ritmo Latino, go to VISTA and CISA meetings, and love to be outdoors (for the most part :0 )!

Dario Herrara – [email protected]
(studying remotely in Fall ’20)

My name is Kitty and I’m a History and Art History double major from Telluride, Colorado. I rediscovered my childhood love for history during the Spring of my first year, and I’ve taken a range of courses since, from American Slavery to Russian Imperialism. My expansive interests, or more accurately my inability to pin down one favorite region to study, has led me to pursue global history and the nuances of connection and exchange beyond the label of the nation, which is what I’m studying here at the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford. In addition to a tutorial on Global and Imperial History I am taking a class on Modern Art where we look at images and objects not solely as the work of an artist but as products of a historical moment. I feel so grateful to be a part of this group and am excited to continue thinking historically in this department and beyond.

Kitty Holbrooke – [email protected]
(at WEPO in 2020-21)

My name is Rachel and I’m a History major from Brooklyn, New York. I’ve always loved history, and since coming to Williams I’ve really enjoyed taking a range of courses in American, European, and South Asian history. I’m particularly interested in US history, politics, and the role of social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rachel Horowitz – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

I am a History and Political Science double major. Looking back, I have always loved history courses and have been fascinated with how the past influences our present, but I didn’t consciously realize this until taking two history classes during my freshman year. Since then, I have taken a wide variety of classes in different areas and time periods, and I am particularly interested in how history is told and remembered over time. Aside from academics, I also work at the elementary school and enjoy playing music in what little free time I have.

Elizbeth Hughes – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

I’ve loved all the classes I’ve taken in the history department. I’m still figuring out my focus within the major, but I know I’m interested in U.S. history, especially U.S. religion, law, and politics. At Williams, I’m an editor on the Record and an aficionado of the songs played on the Thompson bells. I live on campus, close enough to the bell tower to hear each clanging of “Edelweiss” or “Hey Jude.”

Irene Loewenson – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

My name is John Menton, and I am a History major and Leadership Studies concentrator from Tallahassee, Florida. I am interested in studying history as it relates to understanding modern dynamics in American politics, and I am particularly interested in studying the history of the American South and how that history influences the political and racial divisions we see in America today. Additionally, I have taken classes on Middle Eastern and Chinese history at Williams, and am currently expanding my knowledge of global history at Oxford through the WEPO program. Outside of my academic interests, I am on the Men’s Golf Team at Williams and am also involved with the Leadership Studies Student Advisory Group.

John Menton – [email protected]
(at WEPO in 2020-21)

Hey! My name is Connor and I’m a History and Economics double major from Long Island, NY. I chose my History major almost purely because of the amazing professors I’ve had the great fortune to learn with, including Professors Dubow, Merrill, Bernhardsson, and Bevilacqua. Although the classes I’ve taken in the department have been all over the place geographically and topically, I’ve found that a lot of my interest lies at the intersection of my two majors and seeing how economic/material developments influence culture, policy, and “radical” responses. This year I’m taking tutorials through the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University and studying global capitalism, revolution/dissent, labour relations, and inequality, which I’m hoping will lead to a more specific senior thesis in economic history next year. Aside from my studies, I also do a lot of work with the Williams Firsts community and Summer Humanities & Social Sciences program, I work in the Admission Office as a Tour Guide and Admission Ambassador, I’m a peer tutor for Economics, I mentor high schoolers in an alternative public school program through our Center for Learning in Action, and I dance with Ritmo Latino!

Connor Middleton – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

I’m a History and Chinese double major from Atlanta, Georgia. Though I spend a lot of time learning about China, my interests are as varied as can be, and I’ve had a blast exploring a wide variety of topics through the History department. I just like reading old documents, so I’m pretty easy to please. Outside of class, I play a lot of music around campus and help to run NovelTeas, the College’s book and tea club.

Hal Olson – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

I decided to be a history major because it is a subject I can read and write about for hours. I did not take a history class until my sophomore spring so I would like to emphasize how it’s possible to take on a new major later in your college career! History is amazing because it allows us to examine the origins of systems that define the world we live in today. It also gives us a lens into moments of both immense personal strength and weakness that can help add nuance to how we view humanity. Right now I am studying abroad at Oxford where I am taking a course on early modern European History. Please feel free to reach out to talk about classes at Williams or Oxford, I love to talk about history!

Nicolas Shanosky – [email protected]
(at WEPO 2020-21)

I’m a History and Psychology double major & Africana Studies concentrator from Georgia. I realized that I wanted to major in history during my freshman year when I took a class taught by Professor Merrill entitled “Manifestos in American Politics.” My current research project (mentored by Professor Merrill) for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is actually inspired by my time in this class, as it focuses on the history of the Black Manifesto (1969) and the links between Black radicalism, religion, and reparations. In my history courses at Williams, I have been most interested in rethinking U.S. history through historically underrepresented voices. On campus, I am a dancer in Kusika, a director for the Gospel Choir, a co-chair for Converging Worlds, and the TA for the Africana Department.

Kaylen Smith – [email protected]
(on campus in Spring ’21)

I’m a philosophy & history double major concentrating in Africana. My favorite history courses have been those taught by professors Dubow, Bevilacqua, and Kohut, who are all so amazing. My favorite courses so far have to be on European Intellectual History (331) & my tutorial on Victorian Psychology (484). I became a history major because I value how uniquely comprehensive historical methodology engages with the world, and simply fell in love. I also find myself constantly moved, encouraged, and supported in the history classes I’ve taken, and feel so fortunate to be in community with such remarkable people.

Blain Solomon – [email protected]
(on campus in Fall ’20)

Hello! My name is Isabelle, and I am a history major from New York, NY. This year, I am studying abroad through the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford and am super excited about seriously delving into British history. Since my freshmen spring, I have taken classes all over the major, from Professor Dew’s first-year seminar on slavery in the American South to Professor Bevilacqua’s cultural history tutorial that studied the relationships between European Christians and Islamic Arabs throughout time and place. After taking Professor Bernhardsson’s transcendent “Modern Middle East” my sophomore fall, I knew that I wanted — rather, needed — to be a history major. It was probably the easiest decision I’ve had to make at Williams, and I’m super excited to see where the rest of my courses take me, maybe even to a thesis next year!

Isabelle Wood – [email protected]
(at WEPO in 2020-21)