Turning Points in History Lecture

Each semester nationally-prominent historians join us at UVU to share their ideas and work with our students, faculty, and the surrounding community. As part of each scholar’s visit to our campus, the scholar leads an interdisciplinary research workshop for undergraduate students with the intention of creating a dialogue between undergraduate students (new researchers) and a professional research scholar. This workshop provides students a unique opportunity to interact with scholars beyond the typical classroom setting. In addition to this research workshop, each scholar gives a formal evening presentation open to the public on their current research.

Students interested in participating in future workshops or attending lectures should contact the History Program for the current semester’s visiting scholars schedule.

Turning Points in History lectures have been postponed for 2020-2021 due to COVID-19, but you can read about past lectures here.

 Spring 2019 Turning Points Lecture


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Michael G. Vann, California State University, Sacramento

"Sewer Rats and the Frenchmen who Wanted to Kill Them: Getting Creative in the Archives"

1-2:15 p.m.

FL 120


April 16, 2019

Matthew Romaniello, Weber State University

"Merchant, Smuggler, or Scapegoat? John Elton's Life in Iran in the 18th Century"

5:30 p.m.

FL 120


Recent Turning Points Lectures

Thomas Andrews, University of Colorado

  • “Horses as Indigenous Americans: The Peculiar Place of Horses in Nineteenth-Century Native American Religious Revitalization Movements”

  • March 11, 2019

Seth Archer, Utah State University

  • "Hawai’i, 1778"

  • September 25, 2018

Anne F. Hyde, Oklahoma University

  • "Trapped: A New History of Race and the Fur Trade”

  • October 25, 2018

Maile Arvin, University of Utah

  • "Possessing Polynesia: Settler Colonial Ideologies of Race and Gender in Hawai'i and Oceania"

  • April 26, 2018

Paula Kelly Harline

  • A Reader’s Theater: “Mormon Polygamous Wives Running from the Law on the 1880s Underground”

  • November 16, 2017

Noël Mellick Voltz, University of Utah

  • “Sex, Law and the Concubine”

  • October 12, 2017

Student Highlights

Lucille T. Stoddard Outstanding Senior Thesis Award

Established in 2015 by the History Department, the Senior Thesis prize is awarded annually for a senior thesis of superior distinction in any historical field and period. In recognition of her contribution to the historical development and operation of Utah Valley University, the award is named in honor of Dr. Lucille T. Stoddard.




Travis Alston, “George Croghan: Personal Politics of Empire in the Ohio Country, 1742-1770”





Morgan Hardy, “Victor Hugues’ Guadeloupian Privateers: Public Utility and the Ex-Slave Citizenry”





Debra Fotheringham, “Battling Boredom during the Utah War: Entertainment in Camp Floyd and Fairfield, 1858-1861”

Honorable Mention:

Emma Cragun, “‘One Constant Scene of Drunkenness’: Political Power, Identity, and Saloons in Utah, 1847-1900”




Mandy Albino, “Letras de Asesinato: Narcocorridos and the Battle for Censorship”

Honorable Mention:

Kristopher Willis, "Pope Pius II and Desiderius Erasmus: The Turkish Threat and the Need for Unity”

Program Highlights

  • UVU's History Club has held movie nights, trivia nights, book sales, and other events in the past. If you're interest in History Club, contact faculty mentor
  • Dr. John Hunt and several students attended a conference, "Making Stories in the Early Modern World," held in Toronto, November 1-3, 2019. The conference was co-organized by Dr. Hunt with assistance from the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies and brought together over seventy scholars from the US, Canada, and Europe to explore the stories of peoples from all walks of life in early modern world (1400-1800). You can read more about students' experiences at this conference on the CHSS blog: More conference information can be found at this link:
  • In summer of 2016, Dr. Mark Lentz led a group of students on an educational travel experience following the trail of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776, a mission led by two Franciscan priests. Students visited sites and museums to learn more about the expedition and its significance in the history of the American West.

Phi Alpha Theta News

To join UVU's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, students must meet certain credit and GPA requirements. For more information about joining, contact interm faculty mentor Brendan McCarthy at

Conference News: UVU students have recently taken home awards at regional Phi Alpha Theta conferences and attended national conferences in Orlando and New Orleans. UVU last hosted the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference in Spring 2017. 



Faculty Highlights

the perfect fence

Mark W. Lentz

Murder in Merida, 1792: Violence, Factions, and the Law

University of New Mexico Press, 2018

During the summer of 1792, a man wearing the rough garb of a vaquero stepped out of the night shadows of Mérida, Yucatan, and murdered the province’s top royal official, don Lucas de Gálvez. This book recounts the mystery of the Gálvez murder and its resolution, an event that captured contemporaries’ imaginations throughout the Hispanic world and caused consternation on the part of authorities in both Mexico and Madrid. In this work Lentz further provides a readable introduction to the Bourbon Reforms as well as new insights on late colonial Yucatecan society through the vast depictions of the cross-section of Yucatecan people questioned during the decade it took to uncover the assassin’s identity. These suspects and witnesses, from all walks of life, reveal the interconnected layers found in colonial Yucatecan society and the social networks of Mérida’s urban underclass as well as their unexpected ties to the creole elites and rural Mayas that have previously been unexplored.

the perfect fence

Michael Goode and John Smolenski

The Specter of Peace: Rethinking Violence and Power in the Colonial Atlantic

Brill, 2018

Specter of Peace advances a novel historical conceptualization of peace as a process of “right ordering” that involved the careful regulation of violence, the legitimation of colonial authority, and the creation of racial and gendered hierarchies. The volume highlights the many paths of peacemaking that otherwise have hitherto gone unexplored in early American and Atlantic World scholarship and challenges historians to take peace as seriously as violence. Early American peacemaking was a productive discourse of moral ordering fundamentally concerned with regulating violence. The historicization of peace, the authors argue, can sharpen our understanding of violence, empire, and the early modern struggle for order and harmony in the colonial Americas and Atlantic World.

the perfect fence

Lyn Ellen Bennett and Scott Abbott

The Perfect Fence: Untangling the Meanings of Barbed Wire

Texas A&M University Press, 2017

In The Perfect Fence, Lyn Ellen Bennett and Scott Abbott explore the multiple uses and meanings of barbed wire, a technological innovation that contributes to America’s shift from a pastoral ideal to an industrial one. They survey the vigorous public debate over the benign or “infernal” fence, investigate legislative attempts to ban or regulate wire fences as a result of public outcry, and demonstrate how the industry responded to ameliorate the image of its barbed product.

John M. Hunt

The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome: A Social History of the Papal Interregnum

Brill, 2016

In The Vacant See in Early Modern Rome John M. Hunt offers a social history of the papal interregnum from 1559 to 1655. The study concentrates on the Roman people’s relationship with their sacred ruler. Using criminal sources from the Archivio di Stato di Roma and Vatican sources, Hunt emphasizes the violent and tumultuous nature of the lapse in papal authority that followed the pope’s death. The vacant see was a time in which Romans of modest social backgrounds claimed unprecedented power. From personal acts of revenge to collective protests staged at the Capitol Hill and citywide discussions of the papal election the vacant see provided Romans with a unique opportunity for political involvement in an age of omnipresent hierarchy.