Yale’s History Department has deepened its lineup by hiring three new junior professors to join the faculty this fall.
The four-year positions in 20th century U.S. politics, Caribbean history and the history of Byzantium are just three of seven appointments the department plans to make in preparation for next year. Last month, the department hired Ole Molvig in the history of physical science. It also plans to appoint senior professors in Japanese history, 20th century African-American history and European medieval history.
In each of the three recent junior appointments, the search committee’s first choice accepted Yale’s offer, History chairman Jon Butler said.
“This is what you want to have happen in any search,” Butler said. “They open up additional areas of inquiry and they really add significantly. We’re really broadening the department and making a significant reach in our offerings.”
Yale hired Beverly Gage ’94 as the 20th century U.S. politics professor. Gage, who received her Ph.D. from Columbia University last year, will teach courses on terrorism, war, communism and political violence.
She completed her dissertation on the 1920 Wall Street explosion in New York, which is the subject of her first book.
“I was studying it a couple of years before Sept. 11,” Gage said. “Living in New York and watching Sept. 11 unfold while working on that project on terrorism in New York was a very strange process.”
Gage has been an active organizer of a graduate student union at Columbia, but said she does not plan to actively support Yale’s GESO.
“I’ve always been personally a supporter of unionization,” Gage said. “[But] I don’t think it’s my position as a professor to be an organizer in any capacity.”
To fill a void in Caribbean history, the department tapped Lillian Guerra, who is now a professor at Bates College. Guerra will teach lecture courses on Cuba, Puerto Rico and the modern Caribbean as well as a seminar on gender and sexuality in modern Latin America.
“What I wanted to do was go to a place where I would get to do scholarship as a more regular and appreciative part of my everyday career,” said Guerra, a Cuban-American. “At the same time, I wanted to go to a kind of dream institution. It’s like a dream come true.”
Guerra’s appointment strengthens Yale’s growing Latin American course offerings, history professor Gilbert Joseph said.
“We’re overjoyed with this appointment,” said Joseph, the chairman of Yale’s Latin American Studies Council. “She’s incredibly dynamic, she’s an intellectual juggernaut and she has many interests as a scholar.”
The history department also hired Yuval Rotman, its first appointment in the history of Byzantium since the late 1980s. Rotman will teach lecture courses on Byzantium as well as seminars on the history of Byzantine slavery and sainthood.
Since Yale has not offered courses on Byzantium in over a decade, Rotman said he will do his best to generate student interest in the subject.
“When I visited Yale during my interview and on other occasions I got to speak to several students and they absolutely told me that this is part of the world that is missing,” Rotman said. “I will try to do my best to fill the missing link.”
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Rotman received all of his degrees abroad, but he has been studying at Princeton University this year in a postdoctoral fellowship.