New members of the Department of History, fall 2019

This fall the Department of History welcomes four new faces.

Flora Cassen, PhD, joins the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of History as an associate professor. Most recently, Cassen served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her 2017 book, Marking the Jews in Renaissance Italy: Politics, Religion, and the Power of Symbols, published by Cambridge University Press, offers an analysis of the discriminatory marks that the Jews were compelled to wear in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy. Her second book project studies how Italian Jews became subjects of the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth century, and how they understood the empire’s colonial endeavors in the Americas. She is also working on a short textbook on antisemitism, which is under contract with Routledge.



Kristoffer Smemo, PhD, joins the Department of History as a visiting lecturer. Smemo is a historian of the United States specializing in social movements, political parties, public policy, and urban spaces in the long twentieth century. He teaches introductory survey courses and specialized classes on the social and political histories of the United States and the world. Smemo’s current book project, Making Republicans Liberal: Social Struggle and the Politics of Accommodation in Twentieth Century America, is under contract at the University of Pennsylvania Press. He earned his doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara.




Alex Brown joins WashU as an administrative coordinator supporting the Department of History. She works with the director of undergraduate studies and the director of graduate studies to supervise all areas of the department’s curriculum. She manages undergraduate and graduate course offerings and serves as the principal conduit between the department, the College office, and the Graduate School. She works with undergraduate majors and graduate students as well as with the faculty to make certain our students meet all their degree requirements. Alex joined the history department with a background as an elementary school teacher and, more recently, in an administrative role at the Miriam Learning Center.



Brian Harting joins Arts & Sciences as an administrative coordinator supporting the Department of History. He works with the department chair and with the faculty to help plan and conduct long-term projects as well as day-to-day activities. He serves as the principal conduit between the department and numerous administrative offices, including facilities, Arts & Sciences computing, and the dean’s office. He supervises all purchases and office arrangements. He also coordinates talks, conferences, and other department events. Brian maintains the department website and provides faculty support for Canvas. Brian came to the history department from the Olin School of Business, where he conducted numerous forms of faculty support.