Dr. Mitch Kachun
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D., Cornell University (1997)
African American; historical memory; public commemorations
Department of History
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5334
At the undergraduate level, I regularly teach the General Education survey, HIST 3280: African American History and the writing intensive HIST 3285: African Americans in Michigan. I occasionally teach other core courses for History majors and minors, and advanced topical courses in African American history. At the graduate level I offer readings and seminar courses in African American History and History and Memory, as well as HIST 6980: College Teaching and Professional Activity. I currently serve as the History department’s Director of Graduate Studies.
My research concentrates on how African Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries have used historical knowledge and public commemorations in their efforts to work for equal rights, construct a sense of collective identity, and claim control over their status and destiny in American society. Some current projects include an analysis of slave narratives and historical memory and a book assessing Crispus Attucks’s place in American history and memory.
My most recent book is a co-edited edition of an 1865 novel written by an African American woman, which is now appearing in book form for the first time: The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride: a Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins (Oxford University Press, 2006). My previous book, Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915 (University of Massachusetts Press, 2003) was released in paperback in March 2006. Recent articles include: “‘Big Jim’ Parker and the Assassination of William McKinley: Patriotism, Nativism, Anarchism, and the Struggle for African American Citizenship” (Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, January 2010); “From Forgotten Founder to Indispensable Icon: Crispus Attucks, Black Citizenship, and Collective Memory,” (Journal of the Early Republic, Summer 2009); and “African Americans, Public Commemorations, and the Haitian Revolution: A Problem of Historical Mythmaking” (Journal of the Early Republic, Summer 2006). I have contributed entries in numerous reference volumes, as well as reviews in the Journal of Negro History, Journal of American History, Journal of Southern History, Journal of American Ethnic History, and others.