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:
Hi, everyone! My name is Sanjeev and I’m a History & CS major from Connecticut. I’m most interested in American history, particularly when examined from underrepresented perspectives. While all of my history classes at Williams have been amazing, my favorite has been “Freud: A Tutorial” with Professor Kohut. The skills I’ve gained as a history major at Williams–reading efficiently, writing well, and thinking critically–have proven to be so useful in many aspects of my life, both professionally and personally. Feel free to reach out with any questions!
Sanjeev Ashok Kumar – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Peyton, and I am a History and Anthropology double major from Long Beach, CA. The study of history has always been a passion of mine, and I have been very lucky to explore it at Williams and at the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford. My areas of interest lie primarily in social history and more recently material history, archival work, and museum studies. I love the History major’s opportunities to engage in independent research and the amount of depth that can be found in all of the courses. A few of my favorites have been Professor Skorobogatov’s tutorial on Stalin and Professor Merrill’s course The North American West: Histories and Meanings. On campus at Williams, I am involved behind the scenes with the theatre department, working in stage management and in the scene shop.
Peyton Beeli – [email protected]
My name is Eden Bloch, and I am a senior from Long Island, New York. I am a History major, concentrating in Africana Studies, Jewish Studies, and Justice and Law. I have enjoyed developing close relationships with many professors within the History Department. One of my interests relates to how minority groups, including African Americans and Jews, have responded to discrimination throughout history, and the ways in which their responses are similar and different. In addition to the History Department’s Senior Advisory Board, I serve as the Committee Chair for the Library Committee and a member of the Honorary Degrees Committee. I am also a Mentor for Peer MentEph and a member of the Williams College Jewish Association.
Eden Bloch – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Oliver, and I am a History and Economics double major from Chicago. While modern European history is one of my main interests (shoutout to Professors Garbarini, Waters, and Kohut!), I have loved exploring the department’s diverse offerings and always find that there are too many amazing courses to choose from during registration. Outside of academics, I am involved in the Club Volleyball team, the Jewish Association, and Margins Finance Club. Definitely reach out if you have any questions about the wonderful History Department or anything else!
Oliver Cohen – [email protected]
Hello! My name is Eleonora (but I mostly go by “Ele”), and I am a History and English double major from Washington D.C. While I have gravitated towards the study of history since middle school, I truly uncovered my passion for the subject as a freshman at Williams. I am particularly interested in the early modern period and the intellectual, political, and social changes of the late 19th century. As a double major, I especially enjoy exploring the rich dialogue that exists between historical context and literature in different eras. I pursued this interest abroad with the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford, and I am now working on a history thesis about women’s engagement with Shakespeare during the late 19th century as a way to connect my love of women’s histories with my literary interest in the Bard. Outside of academics, I am an avid (though slow) runner, a dedicated member of Novelteas, a barista at Goodrich Coffee Bar, and a writing tutor in the Writing Workshop. I am also the Student Assistant for the Study Away Office, so if you have any questions about studying history abroad, I am happy to help!
Ele Grenfell – [email protected]
Hello! My name is Jackson Hartigan and I’m a Junior from Portland, Oregon. I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences in history classes here at Williams, but I think it was Chris Waters’ “Archive Stories” tutorial that made me realize I had to be a history major. Since then, I’ve developed an interest in the history of knowledge production, storage, and transmission, particularly through early modern archives, libraries, and antiquarian practices – my prospective thesis subject. I am attending WEPO this year, where I plan to continue pursuing my current interests while also developing a background in global history. Outside of classes, I’m on the cross country and track teams, and I’ve had a fantastic and productive time working on various projects in Special Collections since my Freshman fall.
Jackson Hartigan – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Brandon and I am a History major from Cranford, New Jersey. I, like so many others, came to Williams undecided. I started my foray into history with Professor Skorobogatov’s course, “After Stalin: Soviet History from ‘Thaw’ to Collapse” and have not looked back since. My favorite part of the major is the way that history complements the rest of my coursework in political science, art history, and religion. The foundational knowledge afforded by studying history has allowed me to “connect the dots” in so many ways that I never thought possible. Outside of academics, I am involved in student-faculty committees and work with the Dean’s office to advocate for transfer and non-traditional students on campus.
Brandon Hashemi – [email protected]
Hey! My name is Nina, and I am a History and English double major from New York City. I’ve always been drawn to History, and realized halfway through sophomore year that I had already completed the vast majority of the major requirements just by taking courses I was interested in. Throughout my time (so far) at Williams, I’ve taken exceptional courses covering topics such as: soccer and the political history of Latin America, the role of emotions in modern Japanese history, queer European History, and Black labor history. Every professor has made such a radical impact on my experience at Williams that it just made sense to become a History major, and I’m delighted to hopefully do a thesis on my as-of-yet undecided focus within the major. Outside of academics, I’m involved with theatre on campus, I play on the Ultimate Frisbee team, and I am a JA.
Nina Kolman – [email protected]
My name is Emily, and I am a History and (Art) History & Studio double major. I always loved studying history, but it was not until my sophomore year that I started to take history classes at Williams. I especially love learning about Asia, although I also have a strong fascination with American and European history. I am currently doing a History thesis on a late 16th-century manuscript called the Itinerario, written by Dutch traveler Jan Huygen van Linschoten. My other academic interests include learning more about museum practice and architectural design. Outside of class, I really enjoy playing the flute.
Emily Kuwaye – [email protected]
Hey, y’all! My name is Maximilian (he/him), and I’m a history major and global studies concentrator from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I hadn’t planned on becoming a history major when I arrived at Williams, but I took a first-year seminar with Professor Merrill titled The Manifesto in US Politics, and I’ve been hooked ever since. (Professor Merrill is even my advisor now!) I’ve taken courses that cover a variety of places and times, but I find myself particularly drawn to Eastern Europe and the American West and Midwest — places I or my family are from — in the twentieth century. Outside of classes, I’m a member of the Firsts community on campus, I dance and drum with Kusika, and I love to play board games, eat ice cream, and play with dogs. Please feel free to reach out to talk about anything; I’d be happy to meet you!
Maximilian Peters – [email protected]
Hello, I’m a Senior from New York City. I’m majoring in History and Political Science with a concentration in Justice and Law Studies. For the fall semester I’m studying in Copenhagen, Denmark (and sorely miss Williams History). I tend to take courses relating to American foreign policy, which I have been able to explore across a range of subfields. I study history in order to examine how power is wielded and to see how stories of power-wielding are told. When I’m not studying, I enjoy cycling, hiking, eating offal, and reading longform journalism.
Ben Platt – [email protected]
Hello! My name is Hazel and I am a History, Comparative Literature, and French triple major. I have always loved history and have wanted to be a history major since I first learned what a major was. My focus within the history major is Latin America and the Caribbean, but I have taken courses spanning the world, from Africa to Europe to the United States and global history. I’m particularly interested in decolonization, storytelling/historiography, and the francophone world. Outside of the classroom, I’m involved with a variety of clubs, work at the Career Center, and spend a lot of my time running around the Purple Valley.
Hazel Richards – [email protected]
Salvador Robayo – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Lucy Walker and I’m an English and history major from Washington DC. I’ve loved the history major at Williams, and in my time here have taken an interest in public health, medicine, and health policy in courses with Professor Merrill, Professor Siniawer, Professor Kohut, and Professor Long. I’ve worked as a research assistant in the history department as well. Outside of class, I’m involved in dance on campus and work as a Hopkins Forest educator. I’m also an archival editor for the Record, and love working with Special Collections.
Lucy Walker – [email protected]
Here is a list of all current JAG members with brief biographical statements and contact details:
My name is Asher, and I’m a History and Political Science double major from New York (state…). I’ve taken a variety of History courses at Williams, but I’m especially interested in labor, cultural, and intellectual history. In the summer of 2022, I did an archival research project in Special Collections about labor (e.g., custodians, landscapers, nurses) at Williams in the second half of the nineteenth century. Additionally, I have a growing interest in nineteenth-century European Jewish history and the intracommunal debates about assimilation, religious and cultural tradition, Zionism, and so on. Outside of class, I write for The Haybale, noodle on guitar, and annoy my friends with useless trivia from my summer research.
Asher Gladstone – [email protected]
Hi everyone! My name is Hikaru Wakeel Hayakawa, and I am a History major with an Environmental Studies concentration from the Lenape Homelands, specifically, Maplewood, NJ. My main interests are within the twentieth century from the perspective of the Global South and Native Nations (i.e., decolonization, the founding of international organizations, the Cold War, environmentalism, and human-nature relationships). I appreciate the History Department’s breadth and depth, and the opportunity to pursue independent research within our own interests. My favorite course in the Department was Mohican Nation in Williamstown, where I extended my internship with the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation’s Historic Preservation Office into the school year through public history research in collaboration with the Nation, Professor Christine DeLucia, and Professor Margaux Kristjansson. On campus at Williams, I am a member of Storyboard, the Native American/Indigenous Working Group, the Committee on Community and Diversity, the Record, and the Environmental Studies Advisory Committee. I am also a Tour Guide and Writing Tutor.
Hikaru Kayakawa – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Gabby and I am a history and economics double major from Philly! My favorite thing about the history department, besides the amazing professors, is all the different classes you can take. I’ve explored everything from modern Mumbai to medieval Europe, although my favorite class has to be Professor Nolan’s class on the development of the atomic bomb: ‘Going Nuclear.’ Regardless of which classes you take, I think the history major has been rewarding and incredibly valuable to my experience at Williams. The major has taught me to think and craft arguments in ways I never thought possible! Anyways, besides being a complete history nerd, I am also a member of the Women’s swim and dive team, a JA, and a Tunnel City coffee fanatic. Please reach out if you have any questions as I am happy to help!
Gabriella Lopez-Ona – [email protected]
Hello! My name is Ella, I’m a junior from New York City, and I’m majoring in history and religion and concentrating in Jewish studies. I’m particularly interested in religious histories of the modern period, and I’ve loved taking classes within that domain at Williams, including Professor Garbarini’s tutorial on Holocaust memory and Professor Bohlen’s seminar on religion and American politics. Outside of class, I enjoy working on the Williams Record and running near campus!
Ella Marx – [email protected]
Ollie Saleh – [email protected]
Hi all! My name is Dover Sikes, and I’m a Junior from Eugene, Oregon. I’m majoring in history and pursuing a concentration in environmental studies and a certificate in French. While I’ve explored many different social sciences, my first history class at Williams in the fall of my sophomore year—“Controversies in American Thought” with Professor Casey Bohlen—reminded me how much I love this discipline. I’ve enjoyed every subsequent history class I’ve taken! I’m particularly interested in environmental history and modern European history, examining how we can use history as a tool for approaching current environmental crises. Outside of the classroom, I’m involved in dance on campus, the Jewish Association, Special Collections research, tour guiding, and am an avid hiker.
Dover Sikes – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Annabelle and I’m a junior from Newbury, Massachusetts pursuing a History and French double major. Ever since learning about the American Revolution in elementary school I have been fascinated with studying history. In high school I took every history class I could and trained to become a historic role-player at Strawbery Banke, a local outdoor history museum. While there I really enjoyed engaging the public in connecting with the past. At Williams my favorite class so far has been Professor Garbarini’s World War One tutorial which sparked my current interest in Modern European History. Outside of class, I’m a co-editor for the Williams Literary Review and ride on the Williams Equestrian Team!
Annabelle Svahn – [email protected]
Hi! My name is Kitt Urdang and I’m a junior history major from Connecticut. I’ve wanted to study history since high school because of my amazing history teachers who pushed me to question everything we learned (shoutout to Mr. Sheppe and Mr. Graham)! Studying history at Williams has been an incredibly rewarding experience — my 100-level history seminar is still a highlight of my time here and I’ve also loved getting pursue research projects in upper-level classes. My area of interest is modern American history, particularly social and environmental history, and my favorite history classes have been Religion in American Politics with Professor Bohlen and Professor Merrill’s class on manifestos. Outside of class, I am a JA and an editor at the Record, and when I have free time, I love to ski and hike in the Berkshires!
Kitt Urdang – [email protected]