Student Spotlight: Pamela Johnson

Loyola University Chicago’s history graduate program is home to dozens of students with a wide range of interests. This spotlight series highlights some of these interests and celebrates the history department’s diverse graduate student community.

This “Student Spotlight” focuses on Pamela Johnson. Pam is in her third (and final!) year of the European History MA program. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas in 2006.

What are your fields of interest?
I study both modern and early modern Europe, with an emphasis on France. I’ve studied the French Revolution, but I’ve found myself more drawn to the Third Republic. I particularly enjoy micro-history, women & gender, race relations, and urban studies. It’s been wonderful having the opportunity to study those different fields in my courses here at Loyola. I feel that it’s given me a well-rounded view of French history.

Why did you choose Loyola?
I chose to apply to Loyola after being accepted into a few other history programs here in Chicago and finding that they were not the right fit for me. After researching the department, I knew I wanted to work with Dr. Suzanne Kaufman, because she’s done work on modern France. Loyola was definitely the best decision for me. Continue reading “Student Spotlight: Pamela Johnson”

The things we do – Reminiscences from Toronto

“They should go and hang themselves.”

That was my answer during a Q&A at York University history graduate conference back in February. My poor word choice reflected the need for improvement of my public speaking skills. Thanks to the generosity of Loyola University Chicago, my Canadian friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends, I was able to present at New Frontiers with three great panelists under the catchy title of “Memories of War: Transforming Violence.” My paper was based on how Spanish society has coped with the trauma of the 1930s civil war during the military dictatorship of Franco and democracy since the 1970s. Until now, everything seems ok.

However, I chose to stir things up a bit expressing my desire that historians ought to do something more than sitting down, giving the same lectures over and over, and to incorporate current topics into their analysis of history in a socially useful way. Then, a professor from York raised the question, what do we do with those that don’t see any problem with society, that are content with what happens around them? Thus, my impolite and somewhat disrespectful response. But was it? If we are not producing history for our present (sorry for break it to you but if you are thinking that you are leaving a legacy for generations to come, chances are that you are wrong), why are we doing it at all? In academia, some may say “because I can, because I want to, because I get paid a lot of money to do so.” I mean, seriously, is that it?

Disclaimer: I am currently in the path of becoming a PhD student. I might or might not end up working at an university but, in any case, I feel obliged to do my best to make a difference. I don’t mean to sound pretentious but rather avid to learn from my colleagues and work with them. The question to solve is how my (future) research is going to make a difference, which I will leave for my next post.