Mercyhurst history professor selected for prestigious CIC seminar

John Olszowka, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Mercyhurst University, has been selected from a competitive group of nationwide candidates to participate in the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) seminar on “The Creation of the Modern American City: Chicago from 1830 to 1910.”

Olszowka is one of only 28 full-time history faculty from U.S. colleges and universities to be chosen for the seminar, which will be led by Henry Binford, associate professor of history and urban affairs at Northwestern University, and Carl Smith, Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history, also at Northwestern. The seminar, made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and cosponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Ill., June 16–20.

The team-taught seminar will explore developments in Chicago’s formative period, spanning its evolution from a tiny frontier outpost to the nation’s second city and emblem of urban modernity.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to participate in the seminar this summer,” Olszowka said, upon learning of his acceptance March 14. “It is an occasion to explore urban history in greater depth with some of the noted scholars in the field. It will go a long way in helping me to develop new facets of teaching history in my courses at Mercyhurst.”

Olszowka’s teaching and research interests include America (1850-1950), social and labor history, race and ethnicity, The Great Depression, and colonial/early America. He earned his doctorate in history from Binghampton University (SUNY) and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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