2013 Speaker Biographies

Nick Bartel taught two years with the Peace Corps in Micronesia, then worked for 37 years with the San Francisco Unified School District, interspersed with work in Korea, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and a refugee camp in Thailand.  A major area of interest was teaching about medieval Islam to middle school students, and that's how he first connected with ORIAS - back about 1989.  He created several websites, including one on Ibn Battuta, one of his personal heroes.  On a summer trip, he made his own pilgrimage to Ibn Battuta's birthplace in Morocco, and followed as best he could other places on his route to Cairo, Egypt.  He hopes to add to this itinerary.  Mr. Bartel retired a few years ago so that he could work full time on curriculum for limited-English speakers in ESL and the subject areas of world history, U.S. history, biology, geology, and nutrition.

Cynthia Brown taught tenth grade world history for two years and lived in northeast Brazil for two years with the Peace Corps, Dr. Brown directed the single-subject credential program at Dominican University from 1982-1992. She retired from full-time teaching in 2001. Teaching part-time after 2001, Brown pioneered the teaching of big history at Dominican, where it is now a required course for every incoming freshman. She is the author of Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present, 2nd ed. (New York: New Press, 2012; 1st ed. 2007) and co-author with David Christian and Craig Benjamin of Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014).

Kay Corcoran has taught 6th grade humanities core and art for the past 26 years, most recently in the Reed Union School District in Tiburon. Her curriculum unit, "The Artistic Legacy of Alexander the Great" was developed through her participation in the Fulbright/Hays Summer Seminars Abroad to Greece and Turkey in 2011.  Kay has developed and shared several other extensive units with ORIAS over the years, including a Scholar/Literati Scroll project presented at the Asian Art Museum.

David Fraser received his Ph.D in East Asian History from U. C. Berkeley and is currently the Managing Editor of the scholarly journal,Asian Survey, at the Institute of East Asian Studies. While completing his doctorate in the 1990s he taught K-12 teachers on modern China for the late, great CLIO Project in History-Social Science Education in the Graduate School of Education, and was one of the organizers of a three-week NEH seminar for teachers on Asian Civilizations. Before coming to Berkeley, David spent a number of years as a journalist in East Asia. In addition to his work on China, David is an avid sailor on the San Francisco Bay, giving him a special appreciation for Zheng He's maritime accomplishments.
Contact: dfraser@berkeley.edu

Erich Gruen is Professor Emeritus, having retired from both the History and Classics Departments, as well as from a recent stint as chair of the Jewish Studies program. He taught at U. C. Berkeley for more than forty years, offering courses and seminars in Greek history, Roman history, and Jewish history in the Greco-Roman period. He has published a dozen books in those fields, and I has supervised or served on the dissertation committees of more than ninety PhDs over the years.
Contact: gruene@berkeley.edu

Guneeta Singh Bhalla was raised in both India and the US.  She received her Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics in 2009 and recently completed postdoctoral work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley.  Growing up she noticed the discrepancy between what she learned in school and the stories she heard within her community about the founding of India and Pakistan in 1947.  She realized that no one could tell the story of the carnage and suffering that occurred better than those who experienced it.  After an inspiring visit to the oral testimony archives at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in 2008, she began recording stories from survivors of Partition on video.  In 2011 The 1947 Partition Archive  was founded.  In 2013 Guneeta began volunteering full time for The Archive.
Contact: guneeta@1947partitionarchive.org

Pete Hammer is currently the librarian at Burton High School in San Francisco. He previously taught journalism and history in the SFUSD and was the district's support provider for high school history/social studies teachers. He completed the Zheng He unit in 2011 as part of a Fulbright Distinguished Teachers assignment in Singapore.
Contact: petehammer0@gmail.com

Sean Hanretta received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He specializes in the intellectual and cultural history of West Africa. His particular interests are the history of Islam in West Africa and of West African religions more generally. Past research has focused on Sufism in Francophone West Africa. His current projects focus on Islamic political identity in Accra, on wedding and funeral reform in the Gold Coast/Ghana, and the history of higher education in West Africa. He also has strong interests in historical theory and methodology and the history of the African diaspora.
Contact: hanretta@stanford.edu

Rachel Reinhard is the new director of U. C. Berkeley History Social Science Project. After completing her Ph.D. in History at U.C. Berkeley she taught history at SUNY and in China before returning to campus this year. Most recently she served as the Director of Community Engagement for Teach For America's Oakland office. Find more online on her background and the CHSSP offerings.

Alex Saragoza is Associate Professor of History in the Department of Ethnic Studies at U. C. Berkeley. He formerly served as the Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies and was subsequently Director of the U. C. Study Center in Mexico. He is a very popular presenter for ORIAS programs covering Latin America and has been active in teacher institutes on and off-campus for many years.
Contact: alexsara@berkeley.edu

Carol Silverman is Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Oregon. She has done research with Roma for over 25 years in Balkans, Western Europe and the US. Her research explores the intersection of politics, music, human rights, gender, and state policy with a focus on issues of representation. She is also a professional performer and teacher of Romani music, and works with the California NGO Voice of Roma. Her book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (Oxford University Press, 2012), explores how Gypsy music is both an exotic commodity in the world music market and a trope of multiculturalism in cosmopolitan contexts. Her recent research, supported by the Guggenheim foundation, is on the globalization of Gypsy music.
Contact: csilverm@uoregon.edu

Christy Story received her PhD from UCSC and began teaching Economics at Castilleja and leading the internship program in 2001 after a post doctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of Law and Society.  As a member of Castilleja's History department, she has taught International Studies, Economics, AP Macro Economics, Modern East Asian Studies, Individual and Society (in the 10th grade) and the 9th grade world history course, Cultures and Civilizations.  She helped launch Castilleja's first Global Week program in 2004 and then led the first Global Investigator's trip for Castilleja juniors to China with an on-line distance learning component in 2007.
Contact: cstory@castilleja.org

Bruce Thompson has been teaching European history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since 1991.  His course on the history of espionage and intelligence is the only course of its kind at the University, and (judging by enrollments and waiting lists) one of the most popular courses at UCSC.  During the 1980s, Thompson studied European intellectual, cultural, and military history at Stanford University under the supervision of the distinguished military historians Gordon Craig and Peter Paret.  He recently edited a volume of Gordon Craig's essays entitled Knowledge and Power: Essays on Politics, Culture and War, published by SPOSS and the University of Washington Press in January.  
Contact: brucet@ucsc.edu