London expert finds calling teaching first-year students
When history professor and London expert Robert Bucholz isn’t conducting research or writing books, he’s in the lecture hall, teaching Loyola’s newest Ramblers. He was recently honored with the University’s Excellence in Teaching Freshmen Award.
Robert Bucholz, PhD
Professor, Department of History
Talk a little about the classes you teach.
I was hired as our specialist in early modern English history, which used to be called Tudor-Stuart, so all the famous kings and queens—Henry VIII, Elizabeth, Charles II. I teach the History of Tudor-Stuart England, a course on English social history, and I teach a course on London. I also teach Western Civilization, which covers history from the cooling of the earth to the Clintons. I teach a large section of 144 students. That’s where I meet freshmen, and I love it.
You also conduct research, right?
I write on early modern England, and my specific area of interest is the British court—the entourage. In addition to my books, I run a database called the Database of Court Officers. This is now the official database; if you wrote to the Royal Archives at Windsor, they would send you to this. It lists every person who served in the British court from 1660 to 1837. It’s now being used by genealogists and scholars.
What attracted you to studying London?
Well, if you’ve ever been to London, it’s an amazing place. I find just about everything about it fascinating. I was attracted to history as a kid, and when I was in college at Cornell I had a couple of wonderful professors in British history. That’s when I realized how fascinating I found it and how much I respected the way British history is pursued.
And what’s it like being an American scholar who specializes in British history?
People have been writing British history continuously longer than anything else. To say anything, you’re really walking into the lion’s den. To say anything true, you have to read a ton of stuff, and a host of really good historians are going to jump on your back if you make a mistake. That challenge appeals to me. And of course to be an American and contribute to British history is difficult. But I’m very honored that the Royal House of Windsor will refer to my work.
What do you enjoy about teaching freshmen specifically?
When they first come into my class, I ask them, “How many of you hate history?” and about half the hands go up. I tell them, “I’m going to convert you. I think some of you will leave this course having a different opinion.” And I love the fact that they are open to that. They want me to convert them. I love their spirit. They’ve very bright and challenging, but they’re also just kind to each other. I love teaching these students.
Any hobbies outside of your career?
My great passion outside of the job is classical music. I love collecting different performances.
About the professor
Hometown: Grew up in Southern California; now lives in Chicago, just blocks from campus.
Professor at Loyola since: 1988
Courses taught: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions to the Seventeenth Century (HIST 101); The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions since the Seventeenth Century (HIST 102); Early Modern England, 1485–1760 (HIST 330); London, 1550–1715 (HIST 319); Honors Colloquium (HIST 376H)
Learn more about Professor Bucholz’s latest book, “London: A Social and Cultural History (1550-1750).”
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