Courtesy University of North Carolina

History dept. soon to welcome Nicole Bauer

Incoming professor Nicole Bauer will specialize in European history, particularly French and Russian.

The history department is getting a fresh face this fall. Nicole Bauer, currently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be replacing Dr. Bradley, who is retiring in May.

In the fall, Bauer will teach Modern Europe, which surveys European history from the Protestant Reformation to present day, as well as the French Revolution.

The latter course hasn’t been taught for decades at TU. Bauer’s specialty is French history.

Teaching the French Revolution is important because it “is one of the most monumental things to have happened in Western history,” she said. “We get a lot of our modern ideas about politics from it.”

Bauer is also interested in teaching a course that would compare French, Russian, Iranian and other revolutions over time, according to Kristen Oertel, a chairperson and professor for TU’s history department. As Bauer is a cultural historian interested in looking at honor and gender among other things, she’s also considering offering a course on women in European history and a course on masculinity and honor in early modern Europe. The latter course, for instance, might “look at rituals like duels and try to understand them, a bit like anthropologists would.”

Bauer’s research also looks at the connection between secrecy and honor, such as how early modern Europeans used secrecy to maintain their research. “I’m attracted to tricky concepts like honor or complicated ideas related to religion because…I believe that history is a lot more than just economic forces affecting people,” she summarized.

The history department has lacked a professor specializing in Europe since 2011, when Dr. Jay Gellar left, Oertel said. With Dr. Bradley leaving, the department also loses their Russian specialist.

215 candidates applied for the position, which the department narrowed down to 15 for a Skype interview and three to bring to campus. Bauer was chosen for her academic pedigree, student reviews and research potential.

“Her research on secrecy and scandal in the French Revolution looked very promising for publication and scholarly significance,” Oertel said.

Bauer attended the University of California at Berkeley for her B.A., Yale for her M.A. and UNC-Chapel Hill for her Ph.D.

Bauer said visiting TU showed her the history department was “dynamic and interested in public humanities or public outreach,” which was part of TU’s attraction.

The students also appeared to be “sharp, lively, enjoy their classes and like their teachers,” she said. “Overall there was a pretty good vibe.”

Post Author: Michaela Flonard