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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Global Knowledge and History: The Speakers

Guide supporting the Center for Global Studies program of the same name - November 14, 2018.

Carol Symes


Carol Symes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies and the Department of Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois. She received an M.Litt from Oxford and a Ph.D from Harvard. Fundamentally, her research focuses on histories of communication and transmission: the means by which people of the past exchanged ideas and information; and the processes by which artifacts and understandings of the past are transmitted to future generations. 


"Doing Things beside Domesday Book." Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, vol. 93, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1048-1101.

"Knowledge Transmission: Media and Memory." A Cultural History of Theatre in the Middle Ages, edited by Jody Enders. London, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017, pp. 199-211.

"Popular Literacies and the First Historians of the First Crusade." Past & Present, vol. 236, 2017, pp. 37-67. 

"The History of Medieval Theatre/Theatre of Medieval History: Dramatic Documents and the Performance of the Past." Theatre Survey, vol. 52, 2011, pp. 1-30.

"When We Talk about Modernity." American Historical Review, vol. 116, no. 2, 2011, pp. 715-726. 


Dede Fairchild Ruggles


Dede Fairchild Ruggles is a Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture. She has an M.A. and Ph.D in the History of Art. A historian of Islamic art and architecture, Dr. Ruggles’ research examines the medieval landscape of Islamic Spain and South Asia and the complex interrelationship of Islamic culture with Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism and the precise ways that religion and culture are often conflated in the study of these. 


"At the Margins of Architectural and Landscape History: The Rajputs of South Asia." An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, vol. 30, 2013, pp. 95-117. 

"Ideologizing the Past." International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, 2013, pp. 574-577. 

Islamic Gardens and Landscapes. Istanbul, Koc University Press, 2016."The Geographic and Social Mobility of Slaves: The Rise of Shajar al-Durr, a Slave-Concubine in 13th-century Egypt." The Medieval Globe, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 41-55. 

Introduction. "The Social and Urban Scale of Heritage." On Location: Heritage Cities and Sites, Springer, 2012, pp. 1-14.


James Brennan


James R. Brennan is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. He has affiliations with the Center for African Studies, the Center for Global Studies, and the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He has an M.A. in History from University of Alabama, and a Ph.D in African History from Northwestern University. Brennan's area of research focuses on the East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. 


"Print, Reading, and Patronage in the 'Colonial-Born' Presses of the Indian Diaspora in Africa." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 35, no. 2, 2015, pp. 369-375.

"The Cold War battle over Global News in East Africa: Decolonization, the Free Flow of Information and the Media Business, 1960-1980." Journal of Global History, vol. 10, no. 2, 2015, pp. 333-356.

"Realizing Civilization through Patrilineal Descent: African intellectuals and the making of an African Racial Nationalism in Tanzania, 1920-1950." Social Identities, vol. 12, no. 4, 2006, pp. 405-423. 

"Rents and Entitlements: Reassessing Africa's Urban Pasts and Futures." Afrika Focus, vol. 26, no. 1, 2013, pp. 37-49. 

Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania. Athens, Ohio University Press, 2012. 

Roderick Wilson


Roderick Wilson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois. He has an MA in modern Japanese history from the University of Oregon and a PhD in East Asian history (1600-2000) from Stanford University. His research focuses on the intersection of people and their local habitats in early modern and modern Japan. 


"Placing Edomae: The Changing Environmental Relations of Tokyo's Early Modern Fishery." Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 3, 2016, pp. 242-289. 

"Modern Routes through Old Japan." Cartographic Japan, edited by Karen Wigen and Cary Karacas. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2016. 

"Changing River Regimes on the Kanto Plain, Japan, 1600-1900." A History of Water Series 2, Volumne 2: Rivers and Society: From Early Civilizations to Modern Times, edited by Terje Tvedt. London, I.B. Tauris, 2010. 

"The Use of Tokyo's Rivers for Water Transport." Urban Ecology - Tokyo Water City. Tokyo, Kashima Shuppan, 2006.