History and hysteria is topic of Penn State Mont Alto Colloquy

Dr. James Donovan

James Donovan, Penn State Mont Alto associate professor of history, will present "History and Hysteria" during a Colloquy Series talk at 2 p.m. April 13 in the University Library.

Credit: Debra Collins

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Penn State Mont Alto will continue its spring Colloquy Series at 2 p.m. on April 13 when James Donovan, associate professor of history, will speak on the topic of “History and Hysteria” in the University Library. The program is open to the public and is free of charge. Coffee is provided and discussion is encouraged. The Colloquy Series presents current research by Mont Alto faculty in an informal environment at a level that is accessible to a general audience.

Donovan will discuss common patterns in history when heightened tensions of mass hysteria have brought on unfounded or exaggerated fears leading to intensified persecution of unpopular or vulnerable groups. In particular, he will talk about the Black Death in Europe in the mid-14th century, which brought on the flagellant movement and intensified persecution of Jews; the Salem witch trials; the McCarthyite era; and more.

Donovan teaches several history courses at the Mont Alto campus, with his primary interest being the French Revolution and Napoleon. His research has focused on crime and justice in France in the 19th and 20th centuries. Donovan earned his doctorate in history from Syracuse University. He holds a master of arts in history from New Mexico State University and a bachelor of arts in art from Yankton College.