Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies

80 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903 – 401.277.5000

Our Professional, Dedicated and Diverse Faculty


Dean Budnick received his Ph.D. from Harvard University’s History of American Civilization program in 2000. He also holds a JD from Columbia Law School. His doctoral dissertation “Directed Verdict: The Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle Trial Discourse” focuses on a 1921 incident in which Arbuckle, then the highest-paid silent screen star, was charged with manslaughter and despite his acquittal was banned from film. This state of events was a product not only of prevailing attitudes towards Hollywood and a new culture of celebrity but also of tabloid journalism, the onset of Prohibition and the emerging, oft-contradictory roles of women. Budnick also is the director of Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club, a documentary film that opened nationally and later aired on the Sundance Channel. He is the author of four books, most recently, Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped, which explores computerized ticketing and live entertainment from the mid-1960s through the present (with some accounts of ticket scalping on Charles Dickens’ final American speaking tour as well).

Catherine DeCesare received her PhD in US History from Providence College in 2000. She received her M.A. in US History from Fordham University in 1987 and a B.A. in History from Providence College in 1985.  Her dissertation entitled, “Courting Justice: Rhode Island Women and the General Court of Trials, 1671- 1729” focuses upon women’s participation in civil litigation and criminal proceedings in colonial Rhode Island.  She has contributed a chapter on women and the legal culture of colonial Rhode Island in Patrick T. Conley, ed., Liberty and Justice: A History of Law and Lawyers in Rhode Island, 1636- 1998.  She enjoys teaching US History and especially US Women’s History.  In addition to women’s history, other areas of interest include colonial and revolutionary America, legal history and Rhode Island History. She also serves as history coordinator for the Providence Campus and is available to meet with students in room 253.

Burton Edwards received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, specializing in Medieval European History. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University; Drexel University; Camden County College; Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island School of Design. His research focuses on Biblical commentaries written during the Carolingian Era.  He is an expert in the history of medieval handwriting; the history of the manuscript book and textual transmission.  His teaching interests include the entire span of Western Civilization; Early and Late Medieval History; The History of The Renaissance and the Reformation and the History of the Book from 300 A.D. to 1600. He also works full time at the John Carter Brown Library on the campus of Brown University.

Christopher LaMonica received an MA and PhD in Political Science (African Politics) from Boston University in 2000, an MPP in Political & Economic Development from the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dr. LaMonica has lived and worked abroad much of his adult life in France, the UK, Zambia and New Zealand. His research encompasses the history of local and coastal governance in sub-Saharan Africa, current challenges to trade logistics and port security, and the social, environmental, and other developmental impacts of oil extraction. He is the founder and managing editor of the academic journal, Africana, based at the African Studies Center at BU and is working on textbook, under contract with CQ Press, entitled African Politics: Frameworks for Analysis.  He is currently an Associate Professor of Government at the United States Coast Guard Academy, where he specializes in African area studies.

Joseph Pearson received his Ph.D. in Theology, History of Christianity and Medieval History from the University of Notre Dame. At Fordham University, he taught a variety of western civilization and medieval history courses, including courses on the Renaissance, the High Middle Ages and the Reformation before returning to Rhode Island. A Fulbright Fellow, Pearson studied at the Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France. He has presented numerous scholarly papers and he has published scholarly papers, including “The Anti-Jewish Polemic of Alan of Lillie” and “The Cambridge Companion to Anselm/ Anselm of Canterbury and His Theological Inheritance/ Anselm of Canterbury: The Beauty of Theology”. In addition to teaching, he enjoys historical editing. He works with various publishers and historians as a copy editor.

Alison Rose received her Ph. D. in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1998.  She has an M.A. in History from the University of Washington in Seattle and a B.A. in History from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  Her research focuses on the images and participation of Viennese Jewish women in turn of the century Viennese culture.   She has published several articles in this area and is currently working on a book on Jewish women in Fin de Siècle Vienna.  She enjoys teaching modern European history courses at URI, including Western Civilization Since 1789, the History of the Holocaust, as well as the capstone in European history.

Earl N. Smith III grew up in Newport, R.I. and now resides in Providence.  He attended the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Howard University.  Presently, Earl is the Assistant Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, teaches in Africana Studies program, and is the Director of the Cabo Verde Study Abroad Program (  He also serves as a Board Trustee for Paul Cuffee School ( and Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (; and is involved in Rhode Island Port Markers Project initiative (  His research interests include the history of slavery, African American organizations and ideologies, and the prison industrial complex.  He has taught HIS/AAF 150: Introduction to African American History, AAF 201: Introduction to African American Studies, AAF 300: Genocide, AAF 300: Pan Africanism, AAF 300: The History, Politics, and Culture of Cabo Verde.  In addition to this, Earl is an avid fisherman, music connoisseur, and freedom fighter.

Robert Widell grew up in Alabama before attending Duke University in North Carolina.  Since that time he has lived for various periods in Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Boulder, Colorado, and, now, Providence. His interests outside of history include film, running, cooking, and Duke basketball. His current research focuses on black activism in Birmingham, Alabama during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Based on that research, his current project explores a variety of efforts by that city’s African American community to address such long-standing issues as police brutality, job discrimination, poverty, and health care.  In so doing, the work encourages historians to take an expanded view of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, taking into account locally-based activism that continued into the mid-1970s. At URI, he teaches both United States and African American History, including HIS 150, HIS 340, and HIS 341.

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