Ice Cream Sunday: May 2 at 11:30 am in Pearlman 201

April 25th, 2016


Attention builds for Professor Paul Jankowski’s Book, “Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War”, on the 100th anniversary of this storied battle of the Great War

March 15th, 2016

Paul Jankowski, Raymond Ginger Professor of History, has been in high demand of late on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Verdun. As the author of the award-winning book, Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War (Oxford University Press, 2014), versions of which have been published in French, Italian, German and Spanish, Professor Jankowski has become a highly sought-after source for expert commentary and counsel regarding the meaning and impact of this iconic battle of WWI.

From the vantage point of 100 years later, there is a renewed desire among many to find some meaning in and to assess the lessons of a battle that lasted 300 days and took 300,000 French and German lives, thus becoming a symbol of the horrors of protracted industrialized warfare.

Toward that end, many conferences, seminars, museum openings, and other commemorative events have been or will be held as these centennial months unfold. In recent months, Prof. Jankowski has given or been asked to give talks at the French Embassy cultural service in New York, the French Consulate in Boston, the Public Library in Arlington, Virginia, and the World War I Historical Association in Norfolk, Virginia and has been interviewed by various European publications, including Le Figaro and Ouest-France in France, and El Païs, El Mundo, and El Correo in Spain. He has in addition contributed articles so far this year, requested by Desperta Ferro Contemporanea in Spain, The Historian in Britain, and by the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in France.

Of particular note, Jankowski served as the historic advisor for a documentary film titled “Verdun: Ils Ne Passeront Pas,” which aired February 9th in France and Germany on ARTE stations (a kind of European PBS). In a long and highly complimentary review of this documentary, the French newspaper Le Monde attributes much of the film’s strengths to its ties with Jankowski and his work. The reviewer notes, “Serge de Sampigny [the film’s director] had the good fortune of being advised by the American Historian, author of Verdun, Paul Jankowski. Remaining faithful to the thesis of this unprecedented work, he endeavors to analyze the infernal logic that drives two warring parties to perpetrate confrontation as murderous as it was indecisive.”

The Film, Television and Interactive Media Program (with the History Department) will be presenting a special screening of this documentary along with a Q & A with its director, Serge de Sampigny, and Professor Jankowski. This event will be held at Brandeis on Wednesday, April 6 at 7:00 PM in the Wasserman Cinematheque located inside the Sachar International Center.

Professor Jankowski also served as one of several expert commentators in a BBC-produced two-part radio documentary, Verdun—The Sacred Wound, that first aired on February 17.

This post was written by Martha Cronin.  For inquiries, you may reach Ms. Cronin at 781-736-2272.  

Informational: Invitation to sign up for the Annual Language Lunch

November 11th, 2015

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm -1:30 pm
Location: Sherman Function Hall

The Division of Humanities and the Foreign Language Oversight Committee, with support from the Provost’s office and the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, invite all members of the Brandeis Community (students, faculty and staff) to experience and celebrate the linguistic diversity of Brandeis during our annual Language Lunch event.

Individual language tables will host speakers of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Yiddish. Stay for a few minutes or for the entire hour. Do you speak several languages? Visit multiple tables during lunch. No matter ​your level of proficiency, you are welcome! The only rule is NO ENGLISH! Please speak only the language of a specific table (tables) during your visit.

Participants are asked to sign in at their chosen language table to receive a voucher for the buffet lunch. While the amount of food is limited to the first 10-12 people who sign up, we encourage people who were not among the first to fill out the form, to bring their own lunch fare to the table of your choice.

Please use this link below to sign up for the Mega Language Lunch!

French-Language Docudrama “Le Rêve de Champlain” based on David Hackett Fischer’s book by the same name wins a Gémeaux Prize

September 30th, 2015
Photo by Megan Bailey

Photo by Megan Bailey

Known as the Emmy Awards of francophone Canada, “Le Rêve de Champlain” won a Gémeaux prize in the category of Best digital production (website and/or mobile application) for a program or series: docudrama. Professor David Hackett Fischer’s bestselling book, Champlain’s Dream (2008), inspired and informed the French-language docufiction series. The prize was announced on September 20th during the 30th Gala des Prix Gémeaux in Montréal.

The innovative format of the “Le Rêve de Champlain” series combines dramatic scenes—starring popular Canadian actor Maxime Le Flaguais as Champlain—with interviews and reports hosted by renowned journalist and host Marie-Louise Arsenault.  The Champlain series was developed by Groupe Media TFO under the direction of Martin Cadotte and produced by Slalom and the Fair-Play Group. The series is accompanied by a suite of digital products, including a website, which includes interviews with Professor Fischer, as well as interactive games and educational applications that allow users of all ages to follow in the footsteps of Samuel de Champlain and to relive an era that shaped Canadian history.  An English Language version of this series is currently in production as well.

Professor Fischer is a University Professor and the Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University

Boston Globe: Professor Donahue Discusses Increased Demand in Local Food

September 18th, 2015

Demand for locally farmed food is on the rise in New England. Not typically thought of as a farming region, land devoted to farming has increased over the past decade. Brandeis Professor Brian Donahue shared his thoughts in a recent Boston Globe article Demand for local foods help Mass. Farming find its footing.

The land has provided sustenance in Massachusetts since before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. Farms spread across the terrain as colonists arrived and the population swelled, with the agriculture industry peaking around the turn of the 20th century.

But then the industry declined. Cheap energy made large-scale irrigation possible and the long-distance shipment of farm products by trucks and planes. Massachusetts growers found themselves competing not with the farm down the road, but with behemoth establishments in Florida, California, or Washington, said Donahue.

The article addressed the main reasons for the resurgence in farming and the new face of farming as seen through those not born into the industry.

Professor Brian Donahue is a Brandeis historian and Massachusetts farmer. He is a co-collaborator on “A New England Food Vision” which suggests that we should be growing half of our own food by 2060. For more information, please visit

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