Gregory Rosenthal

Ph.D., 2015, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Posts by Gregory Rosenthal


Summer Session I (May 28 – July 4)

TuTh 1:30-4:55

This course explores the significance of Central Asian peoples, goods, and places in historical perspective. Specifically, this course will investigate transnational relationships, overlapping peoples and regions, and historical interdependencies on the eastern front of Central Asia, where Central Asia meets China. We will explore the famous “silk road” of the early common era as one manifestation of this history. We will go backward and forward through time to uncover other manifestations of enduring connections between China and Central Asia. We will look at Xinjiang and Tibet, in the western borderlands of modern-day China, as well as parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

(Urumqi, People’s Republic of China, 2004 [Source: Wikimedia Commons])

From ancient times to the present, we ask the following question: what forces have brought this region together over time, and what forces have pulled it apart? Students will be responsible for completing three quizzes and two response papers.


Summer Session I (May 29 – July 6)

TuTh 6:00-9:25

As featured in television shows like “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch,” and in current news about clean-up workers exposed to toxic dust at Ground Zero, the interrelationships between work and environment are sometimes exciting, and sometimes downright dangerous and deadly. This is nothing new. Work environments have long been important sites of courage and risk, a stage for performing and proving one’s gender, racial, or national identity. Work environments have also been sites of cooperation and conflict between diverse peoples, and between people and non-human nature.

Child coal miners (1908)
Child Coal Miners (1908) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This course examines the relationships between work and environment in United States history from the colonial period to the present day, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will use books, articles, films, and students’ own real-world experiences with, and explorations of, work, to arrive at a common understanding of the place of work and environment in United States history. We will also seek to discover the parallels, if any, between the historical events and processes we study, and current issues in American society and politics. Students are expected to complete all readings, write two short papers, and produce a final project.


Summer Session II (July 11 – August 18)

TuTh 1:30-4:55

Tiki torches at a luau; hula dancers wearing coconut bras and grass skirts; surf boards floating atop crashing waves; warm welcomes of aloha. Perhaps we automatically conjure up these images when we think of Pacific islands. Yet the history of Pacific islands and peoples is deeper and richer than these stereotypes suggest. The goal of this course, then, is to add historical perspectives to our common understandings of Pacific islands and peoples.

Statue of King Kamehameha I (credit: Gregory Rosenthal)
Statue of King Kamehameha I
(Photo credit: Gregory Rosenthal)

This course will cover the following topics: the origins of Pacific Islanders, including motives and methods for transoceanic voyaging and island colonization; the cultures and socio-political structures that Islanders developed in the centuries before European contact; European exploration of the Pacific, including the exchanges of people, biological resources, and ideas between Pacific Islanders and European sailors, traders, and scientists; the impacts of European and Euro-American missionaries in the islands; the experiences of Pacific Islander migrants who traveled abroad as sailors, laborers, explorers and diplomats; late nineteenth and early twentieth century European colonization projects and indigenous anti-colonial movements; the role of anthropologists and the American academy in redefining the Pacific; indigenous perspectives on World War Two; and finally, the current social, political, and environmental struggles facing Pacific Islanders today. Students are expected to do all readings, participate in class discussions, complete a few quizzes, and write three short analytical papers as well as a final paper.


All presentations will be held in SBS N-318 from 12:50PM to 2PM.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011:

Suzanne Swartz, Medical Women, Eugenics, and Power: The Changing Positions of Female Physicians and Medical Students in Germany, 1931-1939

Wednesday, March 16, 2011:

Tim Nicholson, Cold War Educators in Tanzania

Wednesday, March 23, 2011:

Eric Cimino, Encounters between Travelers and the Travelers Aid Society: New York City, 1905-1910

Wednesday, April 13, 2011:

Gregory Rosenthal, Thinking with Birds: Marine Birds of the Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, April 27, 2011:

Jenn Jordan, The Apocalypse Will Be Televised: The Book of Revelation, Medieval Apocalypticism and Supernatural

Flyers including abstracts and more detailed information will be handed out one week prior to each meeting.

Curriculum Vitae
Research Interests
Please visit my website:

Dissertation: "Hawaiians Who Left Hawaiʻi: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World, 1786-1876"

Examination Fields (passed with distinction, 2012): U.S. to the Civil War; Late Imperial China; Environmental History.

Courses taught:

HIS/AAS 340: China, Central Asia, and the Silk Road (Summer 2013)

HIS 396: Dirty & Dangerous Work in American History (Summer 2012)

HIS 340: Society and Culture in Early China (Winter 2012)

HIS 340: Pacific Islands: Histories of Paradise (Summer 2011)
Scholarly Works
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

"Life and Labor in a Seabird Colony: Hawaiian Guano Workers, 1857-1870," Environmental History 17 (October 2012), 744-782.

"Boki's Predicament: The Material Culture and Environmental History of Hawaiian Sandalwood, 1811-1830," World History Bulletin 27 (Spring 2011), 46-62.  Winner of the Phi Alpha Theta / World History Association Student Paper Prize (Graduate Division), 2010.


Review of films As Goes Janesville by Brad Lichstenstein and Brothers on the Line by Sasha Reuther. In The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies, no. 7 (Fall 2013).


"Marx in the Mountains: Poverty and Environment in and outside of the Classroom," Perspectives on History 53, no. 2 (February 2015): 36-37.

"It's Been Two Years Since Sandy: The Lesson We Missed," History News Network, October 19, 2014.

Encyclopedia Entries:

"Hawaii" in The Sea in World History: Exploration, Travel, and Trade (ABC-CLIO) [under contract]

"Bayonet Constitution," and "Kamehameha," in Imperialism and Expansionism in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection, eds. Chris J. Magoc and David Bernstein (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2015)

"Hiawatha," "King Kamehameha," and "Tonga," in Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues, ed. Steven L. Danver (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2012).

“Wilderness Act,” in Encyclopedia of Water Politics and Policy in the United States, eds. Steven L. Danver and John R. Burch (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011).


(w/ Elizabeth B. Jacks) The Hudson River School Art Trail Guide (Catskill, NY: Thomas Cole National Historic Site, 2009).

Working Papers:

(w/ my students in SENV 3452A: Environmentalism and the Poor) "Forms of Working-Class / Peasant Environmental Resistance," downloadable at The Stream: a Blog for the Middlebury School of the Environment, August 25, 2014.