Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Fellows pass torch to new guard of scholars, continuing study of "Power and Place"

Tue, June 7, 2011
Fellows pass torch to new guard of scholars, continuing study of

As the Class of 2011 makes its way across the stage and prepares for the next juncture of their lives, we bid farewell to our current resident fellows and welcome the incoming group for the 2011-2012 year.  In keeping with our 2010-2012 theme, “Power and Place,” our fellows this year worked on colonialism in German East Africa, on issues of Asian-American citizenship in Hawai’i, on biopolitics in Revolutionary Europe and its Atlantic colonies, and on the creation of the state of Pakistan.  Apart from presenting their work at our bi-weekly workshops, the fellows also had a chance to submit journal articles and book reviews for publication, organize panels for conferences, and apply for grants and job positions.

Dr. William Nelson used the public workshop format as a launching pad for his new book project.  He used the feedback from the workshop to transform his paper into two book chapters now in progress for publication.  During his year at the IHS, Dr. Nelson accepted a tenure-track job at the University of Toronto. He believes that his success in the very competitive fellowship process and the opportunity as a fellow to begin his second book project provided him with a real advantage in obtaining this position.

Dr. Michelle Moyd secured another resident fellowship at the International Research Center–Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, where she will work on a project on colonial militaries and labor regimes.  Her new project, she tells us, is an outgrowth of an article she produced while in residence at the IHS where she has also made excellent progress on her first monograph,"Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa." She also received a New Frontiers Research Grant from her home institution to allow her to begin her “next major book project on the social and cultural history of the 1979 war between Tanzania and Uganda.”

Resident fellows also had a chance to participate in newly formed manuscript workshops.  Through these workshops the participants met with a core group of UT History Department faculty members who read their manuscripts and provided comments to aid them in preparing the manuscripts for submission to publishers.  

According to fellow Dr. Ellen Wu, the “fuzziness” of transforming the dissertation into a manuscript is “a source of much anxiety.” For Dr. Wu, the experience of being the manuscript workshop’s “guinea pig” allowed her to “emerge from the session with a set of useful questions and ideas and a much more defined roadmap for [her] revisions.”  She will complete her book manuscript titled "The Origins of the Model Minority: Race and Imperatives of Asian American Citizenship in the Mid-Twentieth Century" this summer. During his stay and through the manuscript workshop, Dr. Venkat Dhulipala, transformed his dissertation into his manuscript titled "Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India," which he also plans to send out to the presses this summer.

Our fourth corps of fellows, chosen from a group of over 150 applicants, will continue to work within the theme of Power and Place.  Their work ranges from runaway female slaves in the U.S., to rural schoolteachers in Mexico, to the global diffusion of the British coffeehouse, to provincial bureaucrats in the Ottoman Empire, to urban metabolism in Victorian England.

Barbara Krauthamer received her Ph.D. from Princeton in 2000 and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Her main area of interest is the history of slavery and emancipation in the Americas.  Her current book project is a study of runaway slave women in the U.S. from the 1780s to 1861 in which she offers a comprehensive study of existing sources that reveal how enslaved African and African American women conceptualized and experienced self-liberation.  While most studies on slave resistance focus on enslaved men, Krauthamer’s work addresses the historiographical gap by centering women in the struggle for freedom.  Their efforts to free themselves from slavery, she argues, “reflected a politicized understanding of both slavery and freedom” as much as enslaved runaway men.  This groundbreaking work will add to our understanding of African and African American women’s political activism, as well as the literature on slavery and slave resistance.

Tanilís Padilla, Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College, received her Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of California, San Diego in 2001.  Her primary research interests include the history of Mexico’s agrarian movements, rural teachers and the post-revolutionary period.  Her current research, entitled “The Unintended Lessons of Revolution: School Teachers in the Mexican Countryside, 1940-1975,” examines the role of rural schoolteachers in the context of state formation.  During this period, as the nation turned increasingly urban, the role of teachers as state agents shifted and they “became formal and informal actors facilitating the resistance, appropriation, molding and even rejection of government policy.”  The study of these teachers, then, allows us to “understand the implications of changing social identities as students from peasant households became professionals.”

Brian Cowan received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 2000 and is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History at McGill University (Montreal, QC). His main interests are the social and cultural history of ideas and the ways in which they were transmitted in the early modern world.  His current research project, entitled “The British Coffeehouse and the British Empire, 1650-1850,” moves away from the established chronological and geographical paradigms of the British Empire and explores the history of the British coffeehouse in the context of a global empire.  In this broader context, he examines “the ways in which the metropolitan coffeehouse society established in London was adapted, emulated and altered in various different contexts throughout the rapidly expanding British empire” from the first coffeehouses in North America to those of South Asia and Ireland.  

Linda Darling, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of History, received her Ph.D. in 1990.  Her research focus is the fiscal administration of the Ottoman Empire, its context in the early modern period of European history, and its impact on provincial politics.  Her current project, entitled “Empire and Elites in the Ottoman Seventeenth Century,” delves into the standard narrative of imperial decline as the provincial elite replaced the palace-educated political elite.  In her research, Darling challenges this long-standing narrative by exploring the “advice literature” with which imperial elites tried to convince the sultan to bar the provincial elites from imperial service by charging them with the decline of the empire.  She understands this literature instead as “a set of responses to political and economic competition designed to bring particular groups out on top.”  In her current work, she contextualizes this literature with the broader fiscal and economic conditions of the Ottoman Empire during the late seventeenth century to understand how the state responded to the new provincial elites.

Robyn Metcalfe received her Ph.D. in Modern European History from Boston University, where she has been teaching seminars on Agricultural History, Modern European History, and Early American History since 2010. Her article "Nineteenth Century American Livestock Improvers and the Market,” (October 2007) appears in the Journal of the History Society. An invited research fellow at the institute this year, she is currently at work developing her dissertation, "Cattle, Commerce, and the City," into a book manuscript.

- José Barragán
History Graduate Student, and IHS Graduate Research Assistant, 2010-11

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