Research Initiatives

History Research at UCCS

The UCCS History Department's faculty and students research and present at national and international academic venues as well as at the Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum and the annual graduate student Day of History conference. Department members also initiate or participate in a number of interdisciplinary digital humanities projects producing new insights into the past and its relevance today.

Day of History Graduate Student Conference

Leah Davis-Witherow giving talk in auditorium

Each year, History graduate students present one or more of their research projects to peers, faculty, and the broader community at the UCCS Day of History conference, part of the department's professionalization programming for MA students. The keynote talk is frequently given by one of the many alumni of our program currently heading local historical institutions, such as last year's talk by Leah Davis-Witherow, UCCS History MA alumna, instructor in the History Department, and curator of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.

Religion, Race, and Democracy in American History

Dr. Paul Harvey

Distinguished Professor Dr. Paul Harvey is currently working on a book for Oxford University Press on contending notions of nationalism--civic, religious, and racial--that have shaped American history, and why racial-religious definitions have come to gain such prominence in contemporary politics and culture. In this work, Dr. Harvey is incorporating research assistance from graduate students in courses such as Religion and Culture in American History, and Civil Rights in American History. In addition to providing research assistance, students may assist in public outreach components of this work, including public talks at history departments, historical societies, and churches.

Visions from the Apocalypse: Global Religious Responses to World War Two

Graduate research assistant presenting original research

Dr. Paul Harvey also incorporates both undergraduate and graduate student research assistance from courses on World War Two: A Global History into another current book project looking at global perspectives on the second World War through lenses of religion. As in Dr. Harvey's other work, students have opportunities to participate in public outreach components of this work, including public talks at history departments, historical societies, and churches.

Coming to Terms With the Past

For years, Dr. Rob Sackett has worked on aspects of "coming to terms with the past" (Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit) in early West Germany. That daunting phrase means the effort to stimulate public awareness and discussion of Nazi crimes. In 2020, Dr. Sackett received grants from UCCS's Committee on Research and Creative Works (CRCW) and from the American Philosophical Society to travel to Germany for archival research. By 2021, when he was again able to travel, his attention was focused on the activist career of Annedore Leber who had taken part in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler in July 1944. The Gestapo knew enough about her involvement to arrest her but not to condemn her to be hanged, which was the fate of most of her co-conspirators, including her husband. After the war, Leber devoted her life to spreading public knowledge of the conspiracy, which often meant defending the conspirators against lingering accusations of treason. Dr. Sackett's method, drawn from reading of secondary (scholarly) literature, was to examine her efforts in light of three questions: 

  • In the years directly following the war, when by all accounts Germans generally were struggling to survive and resentful of their defeat, how did she conceive of the public as receptive to her appeals? 
  • In social conditions of reasserted "patriarchy," what rhetoric did she devise, and what persona did she project, suited to herself as a woman who persisted in putting a controversial subject before the public? 
  • As it became clear that the West German political future lay in democracy, how did she represent the conspiracy as an anticipation of democratic values?

This project has advanced in conjunction with research assistance from students, including Annabelle Nippe and Kristine Bell.