Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Meet the Fellows

Climate in Context: Historical Precedents and the Unprecedented | 2020-2021

mcDr. Melissa Charenko is an Assistant Professor at Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History at Michigan State University. Her work explores competing ideas about climate that arose as scientists engaged with material traces of past climates, such as pollen, sloth dung, and algae. She has recently published some of this work in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, and she is developing some into a manuscript tentatively entitled "Science as Prophecy: Discovering Climates Past and Future." Watch the video.

csDr. Christopher Sellers is Professor of History at Stony Brook University. His research focuses on the history of environment and health, of cities and industries, and of inequality and democracy, with a focus on the U.S. and Mexico. He is the author of Hazards of the Job and Crabgrass Crucible (both UNC Press, 1997 and 2012), and the forthcoming Skewed City, Democratizing Seeds (Univ of Georgia Press). As an IHS fellow, Dr. Sellers worked on a project titled "Petropolis: A City Built on a Petrochemical Industrial Base," an in-depth comparative and transnational study of the history of environmental change and hazards connected to the oil industry in Mexico and the U.S.. Watch the video. 

Collectives and Commons: Global Histories, Emerging Futures | 2019-2020

JCdlPL2Dr. José Carlos de la Puente Luna is Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. He is the author of two book publications: Los curacas hechiceros de Jauja. Batallas mágicas y legales en el Perú colonial (2017), and Andean Cosmopolitans: Seeking Justice and Reward at the Spanish Royal Court (University of Texas Press, 2018), winner of the Flora Tristán Book Award of the Latin American Historical Association in 2019. As an IHS fellow, de la Puente Luna worked on a project titled “Sapçi: A History of Colonial Andean Commons.” Watch the video.

musgraveDr. Leone Musgrave (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2017) was a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2019-2020, following a year as an American Councils for International Education academic research fellow at Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don in Russia. Her project “Social Democracies, Mountain Republics, and Shifting Jamāʿāt: New Caucasus Solidarities and the Age of Eurasian Revolution” examines several local, Caucasian visions of collectivity and commons as they arose in the broad early-twentieth-century context of Greater War and age of Eurasian revolution. Watch the video.

Genealogies of Freedom | 2018-2019

culangPostdoctoral Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Culang (Ph.D., 2017, CUNY Graduate Center) researched his book manuscript "Moral Quandaries: Religion and Modern Law in Egypt." The book examines the secularization of Egyptian society between the 1880s and the 1930s, a period that witnessed the convergence of nationalism, colonial rule, missionary activity, and new modes of governance at the national and international levels. Watch the video.

kennedyDr. Wm. Matthew Kennedy (Ph.D., 2017, University of Sydney) was a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2018-2019, where he worked on turning his dissertation into a book manuscript entitled “From Barataria to Utopia: Economic-Positivism, Scientific Governance and the Colonial Origins of ‘Freedom,’ 1880-1950,” exploring the influence of economic-positivist legal theory on thinking about governance in Britain and its empire. Watch the video.

Migration, Exile and Displacement | 2017-2018

titasDr. Titas Chakraborty (Ph.D., 2016, University of Pittsburgh) was a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2017-2018, where she revised and expanded her book manuscript project, "Mobile Workers of the Companies: Labor, Migration and Resistance in Bengal, 1650-1837." Dr. Chakraborty's scholarship captures the working lives of Bengali workers in the East India Company from the pre-colonial to colonial area, in particular their use of labor mobility as a form of agency and resistance. Watch the video.

albertoPostdoctoral Fellow Dr. Alberto García Maldonado (Ph.D., 2016, UC Berkeley) discusses his research project, ”The Politics of Bracero Migration." He examines the "Bracero" work program, which brought seasonal Mexican laborers to the U.S. (1942-1964), and the varied political and religious reactions to the program in Mexico. States that had been centers of conservative Catholic anti-government opposition to land appropriations in the 1920s-1930s continued that resistance to government policy, distinctly shaping the Braceros' recruitment and selection process. Watch the video.

yaelDr. Yael Schacher (Ph.D., 2016, Harvard University), IHS Postdoctoral Fellow, discusses her work and book manuscript project "Exceptions to Exclusion: A Prehistory of Asylum in the United States, 1880-1980," under the 2017-2018 "Migration, Exile, Displacement" theme. Her project recounts the origins of America's asylum standards and the role that religious prejudice assumed in forming them. Watch the video.