"My research focuses on marriage in Minnesota before 1850, particularly as a means of understanding gender, sexuality, race and nation-building in the region. Marriages of all kinds, and the households that marriages created, were inextricably bound up with questions of nation and identity for the Dakota, the Ojibwe, mixed-heritage individuals, and Americans who interacted in the Upper Midwest. Through the stories of married - and divorcing - men and women in the region, we can trace the uneven fortunes of American expansion in the early nineteenth century, and the nation-shaping power of marital acts.
It's a concurrent interest of mine to find creative ways to train and support K-12 teachers who are social science educators. I am the Lead Historian for Bringing History Home in Iowa, where I work with teachers to help them create dynamic curriculums based on primary source research. Funded by federal Teaching American History grants totally more than $3 million dollars since 2001, Bringing History Home has served over 900 teachers across Iowa, Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, and Wyoming. We conservatively estimate that 45,000 elementary school children and 15,000 middle and high school students have passed through our program, demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in their historical thinking skills as a result."
Years at Knox: 2005 to present
Ph.D., History, 2005, University of Iowa.
MA, History, 1996, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
B.A., (Hons), American Studies, 1994, University of Nottingham.
American Indian History, Women and Gender in North America, Sexuality and Marital Law.
Full Curriculum Vitae - (DOC)
Research Funding from the College Faculty Career Enhancement Grant, awarded to Knox College by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Council of Independent Colleges / Gilder Lehrman American History Seminar participant, New York University, June 24-30, 2007.
Seashore Dissertation Fellow, University of Iowa, 2004-2005.
Newberry Library/Centers for Institutional Cooperation Research Fellow, 2003-2004.
Charles Strong Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Iowa, 2003-2004.
Charles Strong Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Iowa, 2002-2003.
Newberry Library/CIC-AISC Fall Workshop Fellow, September 2002.
Custom of the Country: Marriage and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country, 1820-1845. Under contract to the Minnesota State Historical Society Press, forthcoming 2013.
"Atoms, Honeycombs, and Fabric Scraps: Rethinking Timelines in the Undergraduate Classroom," The History Teacher, forthcoming 2012.
Co-author, "Reading Historical Evidence in the College Classroom," with Elise Fillpot, under revision for Theory and Research in Social Education, March 2012.
Review of Colette A. Hyman, Dakota Women's Work: Creativity, Culture, and Exile. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012 in The Annals of Iowa, forthcoming, 2012.
Review of Saliha Belmessous, ed., Native Claims: Indigenous Law Against Empire, 1500-1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, in The Historian, forthcoming, 2012.
Review of James Joseph Buss, Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2011, in Western Historical Quarterly, forthcoming, 2012.
Review of Mary Lethert Wingerd, North Country: The Making of Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010, in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 36.1 (2012): 213-216.
"Labor and Trade in Colonial America." Beyond the Texbook, an initiative of the National History Education Clearinghouse at George Mason University, Washington, D.C. February, 2012.
"Pelagie Farribault's Island: Property, Kinship, and the Contested Meaning of Marriage in Dakota Country, Fort Snelling, 1820-1838," Minnesota History 62.2 (Summer 2010): 48-59.
Review of Carl J. Ekberg, Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2007, in The Annals of Iowa 70.1 (Winter 2011): 67-69.
"Ethics for Historians: The Perspective of One Undergraduate Class." Perspectives on History. January 2010.
"'Am I a Woman that I Should Hoe Corn?': Marriage as Imperialism, Marriage as Resistance: Dakota Country, 1835-45," A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber," Oct. 5-6, 2012, Iowa City, Iowa.
"SOCC it to 'em: Teaching Historical Thinking Skills in High School and College," Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, April 18-22, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"Course Design for Historians," Workshop for Graduate History Instructors, University of Iowa, Department of History, April 14, 2012.
"Catherine Denial" at the Humanities Storycorps Project, University of Iowa, February 2012.
"Teaching College-Level History," Workshop for Graduate History Instructors, University of Iowa, Department of History, August 18, 2011.
"The Digital Early Republic," Roundtable Panelist, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, July 22-25, 2010, Rochester, New York.
"Life after Schaeffer Hall." Roundable panelist, University of Iowa, Department of History, May 10, 2010, Iowa City, Iowa.
Panel Commenter, The May Brodbeck Symposium: New Voices in Women's and Gender History, May 9, 2010, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
"To Calm the Sterner Passions of Man: Women, Politics, and the History of Marriage in the United States." Women's History Month Guest Speaker, Carl Sandburg Community College, March 18, 2010, Galesburg, Illinois.
"Exhibiting History: Making the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Come Alive." Professional Development Workshop for Teachers (with Knox students Erin Souza and Margaret Spiegel), Conference on Illinois History, October 1-2, 2009, Springfield, Illinois.
"Pelagie Farribault's Island: Property, Kinship, and the Contested Meaning of Marriage in Dakota Country, Fort Snelling, 1820-1838." Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, July 16-19, 2009, Springfield, Illinois.
Panel Chair and Commenter: Minnesota in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. The State We're In: Creative and Critical Approaches to Minnesota History at 150, May 28-30, 2008, Collegeville, Minnesota.
"Bringing History Home: Transforming K-5 Social Studies Education in Five Iowa School Districts," Illinois Association of Teacher Educators Conference, October 27, 2006, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois.
"The Gritty, Elusive Nature of History." Iowa Council for the Social Studies Fall Conference, October 4-5, 2005, Des Moines, Iowa.
Panel Member, "Linking History Content Institutes to Classroom Teaching." U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Program, Annual Project Directors' Meeting, April 19-20, 2005, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Campus & Community Involvement
Academic Standing Committee, 2012-2015.
Elected Faculty Observer to the Board of Trustees, 2011-2013.
Coordinator of Assessment, Department of History, 2010 to present.
Cultural Events Committee, 2012.
Ford Fellowship Committee, 2010-2011, 2011-2012.
Curriculum Committee, 2007-2010.
Honorary Degrees Subcommittee, 2007-2010.
First Year Preceptorial Steering Committee, 2006-2008, 2009-2010.
Alumni Hall Visitors' Center Committee, 2006-2010.
What Students Say
"Catherine Denial is not just a professor; she is a friend to many students and yet she maintains respect and discipline in her classes. She focuses on the forgotten aspects and people of history and finds ways to make the most dull events exciting."
-Sara Patterson, Chemistry and History double major
"I couldn't ask for more from a professor and advisor. Catherine continually provides her students with new perspectives on history, and she is committed to her students' success both inside and outside of the classroom."
-Erin Souza, History major
Leading up to a worldwide event -- Gun Control Theatre Action Week, May 27 through June 2 -- a play by Knox College theatre professor Neil Blackadder was selected for a new collection, "24 Gun Control Plays."
Rana Tahir, a double major in creative writing and political science, wrote dozens of poems and created 29 paintings after interviewing Kuwaiti residents about the 1990 Iraqi occupation.
Knox College awarded more than $3,000 in prizes in the 2013 Al Young Art Show. Organizing 200 art works in an array of media is a challenge, according student Katie O'Connor, who helped arrange the entries.