JHU Arts & Sciences Weekly Newsletter, for October 25, 2023, featured none other than the History Department’s senior lecturer, Victoria Harms, in their “Faculty Focus” section:
Describe your primary scholarship or research, and tell us what is most exciting about your current project.
Trained in European, mostly Central European history in the 20th century, a certain fascination with the U.S. has made me a Cold War historian and had me embrace sports history—for its boundless opportunities to explore the complexity of our societies. Correspondingly, I am working on two projects, 1) the West German positioning vis-à-vis the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics; 2) the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and Reagan’s America. Both help us better understand our world today, and inform current affairs and controversies, not least of all Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as corruption, doping, and all sorts of other scandals surrounding recent (and upcoming) Olympic games.
Share a best practice or tip for successful teaching or mentoring.
Be curious, listen, and respond accordingly (and allow second chances). Everyone has different needs, expectations, ambitions, and dreams. Our students are smart and work hard; when they feel respected, they will mirror empathy, understanding, and generosity, and they have made teaching at Hopkins the most rewarding experience I’ve had at any university so far.
What do you like to do outside of work?
A love for traveling and reading comes with the territory. I love sports (see above) and enjoy working out, being active. Although some wear-and-tear has limited my running lately, having finished 16 marathons and seven ultramarathons still gives me a modicum of bragging rights.