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Directory of PhD Students

(Also see testimonials from past and current students.)

Eron Ackerman

Interests: British colonialism, the Caribbean, and the history of drugs and alcohol. My dissertation examines how the uses, meanings, and legal status of ganja ( Cannabis indica) changed as it spread through three British Caribbean colonies: Trinidad, British Guiana, and Jamaica. I explore how ganja was introduced to the region by indentured workers from India, creolized by Afro-Caribbean peasants and city dwellers, and restricted at the urging of colonial officials and moral reformers. Using the social and political entanglements of cannabis as an analytical lens, the study intervenes in scholarship on imperial knowledge production, transculturation, and the politics of drug control.

Dissertation: "Cannabis and Colonialism in the British Caribbean, 1838–1938"
Advisor: Anderson
Research Profile  

Fernando Amador II

Interests: My research concerns the environmental and social history of modern Mexico with an emphasis on water management and the shifting built and natural environments. I am interested in how environmental issues have brought politicians, scientists, and local populations in conflict with one another.

Advisor: Newman

Spencer Austin

Interests: My research concerns the socio-political history of modern Europe with an emphasis on political movements and ideologies in nineteenth-century France. As the center of revolutionary thought at that time, France provides the lens through which I study new ideas as they spread across the Continent and the Atlantic World.

Advisor: Wilson and Lebovics

Giovanni Bello

Interests: My field of research is Cultural History, although I am also interested in the History of Ideas and Cultural Studies in general. So far, I have concentrated on two periods of contemporary Bolivian cultural history: the first decades of the twentieth century and the sixties. In both cases I was interested in seeing the interaction between the different scopic regimes and the media, as well as the interaction between literate and popular sensibilities. Some of the research topics that interest me most are contemporary literature, the avant-garde, the neo-avant-garde, cosmopolitanism, the cultural industry, the counterculture and mass culture.  

Advisor: Larson

Lance Boos

Interests: My field is Early America and the Atlantic World, with particular attention to transatlantic intellectual and cultural connections, construction of identity, revolutionary ideologies, and performance history. My current research examines the role of music as political propaganda in the American Revolution.

Advisor: Anderson
Research Profile

Mia Brett

Advisor: Miller

Zinnia-Capó Valdivia

Interests: Mexican drug history, state formation, border and periphery studies. Interested in the historical construction of social and political relations to drugs. Investigating how drug and vice commerce in the transnational context of Baja California and California influenced and was affected by burgeoning federal and international drug control in the late nineteenth- early twentieth centuries. I specifically consider administrative and governance consequences of moving from a tax based to a penal form of state drug control. I look for how these changes in government rationale affected everyday experiences of local inhabitants.

Advisor: Zolov
Research Profile

Ximena López Carrillo

Interests: History of mental health, psychiatry, and psychology in the United States and Mexico. I'm interested in the ways that social and political contexts have shaped the scientific discourses regarding Mexican immigrant populations, as well as the intellectual exchanges between psychiatrists in the U.S. and Mexico across the twentieth century.

Advisor: Tomes
Research Profile

Michael Conrad

Interests: My research sits at the intersection of U.S. environmental, urban, business, and technology history. It examines how suburban aggregate mines in Long Island and the Hudson Valley provided the concrete infrastructure for New York City, with special focus on ecocultural material movements that involve businessmen, politicians,
ethnic miners, labor unions, and residential activists across the twentieth century.

Dissertation: "Nature's Mine: Concrete Aggregates and the Building of the New York Metropolis, 1919–1976"
Advisor: Sellers
Research Profile 

Brian Conway

Interests: I am a Cold War historian with an emphasis on diplomacy, strategy and de-colonization. My dissertation builds a narrative concerning the negotiations for American air and naval bases in Morocco during the 1950s and 1960s. This work also belongs to "base studies": the examination of the strategic, economic, cultural, diplomatic and other aspects in regards to military bases on other nations' soil.

Dissertation: "Bread and Bombers: U.S. Military Bases in Morocco, 1948–1964"
Advisor: Barnhart

William Demarest

Interests: My work has varied across time and subject, but has always centered on how Latin Americans reinterpreted and contributed to global culture. My current research examines the emergence of middle-class identity in Medellín, Colombia, through the lenses of material culture, transnational modernist design culture, and consumerism.

Dissertation: "Consumerism, Architecture, and Middle-class Culture in Medellín, Colombia, 1945–1980"
Advisor: Zolov
Research Profile

Parissa Djangi

Interests: I am an historian of modern Britain, with an emphasis on gender, social, cultural, and imperial history at the turn of the nineteenth century. My dissertation aims to trace links between diverse colonies by highlighting the critical roles that British wives of high-ranking colonial officials played throughout the British Empire.

Dissertation: "Colonial Wives: Gender Work and Trans-colonial Connections in the British Empire, 1780–1830"
Advisor: Wilson

Kenneth Donovan


Advisor: Masten

Lorna Ebner

Advisor: Tomes

William Edwards

Interests: I am interested in m edieval pilgrimage to Christian shrines in Europe and the Levant, with a focus on the logistics of long-distance pilgrimage from Europe to Palestine and the reported experiences of pilgrims making a lengthy and costly journey fraught with physical danger, both in transit and in the Holy Land itself.  My dissertation specifically addresses the degree to which pilgrim experiences in the Holy Land were affected by the Franks’ loss of control over Jerusalem and other sacred destinations after Saladin’s triumphs over their Christian rulers in 1187.

Dissertation: "Pilgrims to Paradise Lost: The Effect of the Fall of Jerusalem on Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" 

Advisor: Lipton

Matthew Ford

Interests: Latin American postcolonial borderlands, particularly upper Andean Amazonia.

Advisor: Larson
Research Profile 

Brooke Franks

Interests: Social and Cultural historian of Early Modern Britain with a focus on Scotland and Ireland. Particularly surrounding folklore, occult, and religious history. I am also interested in interactions between the church and the crown during turbulent periods.

Advisor: Landsman 

Brian Gebhart

Dissertation: " Ostforschung and Empire: Race, History, and Imperialism in the Kaiserreich, 1900–1918"

Advisor: Hong
Research Profile

Aishani Gupta

Interests: Sufism and North India;  dargahs and cityscape; Sufi literature.

Advisor: Beverley

Joshua Harris

Interests: The history of telecommunications and media, with a focus on the United States.

Advisor: Frohman

Matthew Heidtmann

Interests: U.S. political history during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. More specifically, I study the interconnectedness between the broader concepts of reform, progressivism, and conservatism, and their effects on policy-making, political culture, and statecraft. 

Dissertation: "For The Present Orderly Progress: Conservative Reformers and the Remaking of American Politics, 1881-1913"
Advisor: Nancy Tomes/Co-Advisor: Michael Barnhart 

Research Profile 

Matias Hermosilla

Interests: My research concerns the popular culture and political history of modern Chile with an emphasis on political cartoons and popular music. I am interested in the consumption, reception, production, and distribution of popular cultural expressions—especially the relationship between these manifestations and broader social problems.

Advisor: Zolov
Research Profile


Jennifer Jordan

Interests: I am a historian of medieval Europe with a particular interest in gender and inter-religious relations in the High Middle Ages. In my dissertation, I aim to illuminate women's networks—particularly their cross-confessional interactions—across Norman territories that stretched across the Mediterranean.

Dissertation: "'The daughter forsakes the father': Women, Gender, and Identity in Norman Sicily and Southern Italy in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries."
Advisor: Lipton

Danielle Laroque

Advisor: Chase

Gregory Lella

Interests:  I study twentieth century US Carceral, Latinx, and Immigration History. My dissertation examines how policing, incarceration, and state violence affected the lives of Latinos, Native Americans, and other borderlanders in Arizona from the 1950s to the turn of the century.

Advisor: Flores

Will Mack

Interests: Mass incarceration, African American civil rights, and labor. 

Advisor: Chase

Paul Mah


Advisor: Masten

Adrian Marquez

Interests: History and historiography on drugs in Latin America, with a focus on the roots of today's drug policy and politics. History of how people experience their bodies and minds and how their experiences are conditioned by socio-cultural beliefs that change over time. Also, how the concepts of addition have changed with regards to the race, gender, and class of drug consumers. 

Advisor: Gootenberg

Research Profile

Kevin Marshall


Advisor: Landsman

Erica Mukherjee

Interests: I am a historian of South Asia with a focus on the colonial period. My dissertation explores the relationship among the environment, large-scale infrastructure projects, and East India Company rule. Additional research interests include the environment, science and technology, material culture, and urban history. 

Dissertation: "Imagined Infrastructure: Railways, Embankments, and Canals in Colonial Bengal, 1820–1860"
Advisor: Beverley 
Research Profile

Kevin Murphy

Interests: I am an historian of colonial North America and the British Atlantic World, focusing on the popular construction of authority and legitimacy, especially in the context of social protest.

Dissertation: “Coercion and Sworn Bond in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic”
Advisor: Anderson

Elena-Liliana Mutu-Blackstone

Interests: I study the history of connections between Eastern and Western Europe as rendered visible by the mid-to-late nineteenth century perspectives on knowledge, identity, and location. Using the case of Romania, my dissertation explores the making of the modern body between 1859 and 1918. The study of empire, epistemology and borderlands history are not only useful in understanding the Romanians’ aspirations to become a world civilization, but also the Western Europeans’ escape to their imagined borderlands of civilization.

Dissertation: “The Ambivalence of Modern Identity: Romanians in the Global Laboratory of Erudition, 1859-1918”
Advisor: Marker 


Dafina Nedelcheva

Interests:  Modern and Contemporary  Eastern Europe,  oral history, memory and architectural commemoration.

Advisor: Marker

Emmanuel Pardo

Interests : My dissertation research focuses on the formation and political significance of early spaces and practices of film criticism in Argentina. My broader interests include the history of ideas and the relationship between media innovation, cultural production and conditions for political participation in Latin America and the United States.  

Dissertation: ‘Worth a Thousand Words’: Film Criticism and Political Crisis in Argentina (1895-1935)

Advisor: Zolov
Research Profile 

Caroline Propersi-Grossman
Interests: Labor, gender, culture.  My dissertation focuses on negotiations of gender, race, and class within labor unions in New York City's entertainment industry. 

Advisor: Masten

David Purificato

Interests: Nineteenth-century American social and cultural history, material culture, and the history of the book. 

Advisor: Miller

Cody Rossler

Interests: I am an historian of modern Britain interested in the constructions of race, class, sex, and gender through science in the Victorian period. My current work examines the roles of provinciality and locality in the popularization of race science through lectures, human exhibitions, and periodicals.

Advisor: Wilson
Research Profile 

Leah Savage 

Interests: I am interested in racial constructs in the United States during the twentieth century, particularly in how filmmakers represented race though characters' physical appearance, behavior, and values in films, as well responses to these representations of race in the media and among filmgoers.

Advisor: Lim
Research Profile 

Aishah Scott

Interests: Twentieth-century U.S. history, public health, and African American studies. My dissertation focuses on how African American communities in the United States were (and are) distinctly affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis due to long-term healthcare disparities.

Dissertation: "The AIDS Epidemic in Black America: Making the Connections"
Advisor: Tomes

Laila Selim 

Advisor: Lipton

Gonzalo Romero Sommer

Interests: My dissertation focuses on the electrification of Peru, particularly the construction of the Mantaro Hydroelectric Power Plant. I am interested in examining the development of state infrastructural power through electricity networks. Furthermore, I wish to explore the emergence of new conceptions of Peruvian space as the Andes come be seen as an opportunity rather than a challenge regarding the generation of electric power.

Dissertation: "Empowering the Andes: Peruvian Electrification and the Mantaro Hydroelectric Power Plant, 1933–1971"
Advisor: Gootenberg
Research Profile 

Bonnie Soper

Interests: Cultural historian of the early modern British Isles and early America with a background in public history. Current research explores cultural effects of the Restoration on gendered relations in England and Scotland

Advisor: Anderson
Research Profile  

Michelle Spinelli

Interests: My background is in U.S. women's history and the history of psychiatry. Presently, I am using literature and disability theory to explore the "voice(s)" of patients in nineteenth-century insane asylums. 

Dissertation: "Echoes of Reality: Patient Voice, Print Culture, and the Nineteenth-ventury Asylum"
Advisor: Tomes

Yalile Suriel

Interests: Civil Right History, Carceral State History, Black & Latino History, Education History. 

Advisor: Chase

Suzanne Swartz

Interests: Holocaust studies, Polish-Jewish relations, children's history.

Dissertation: "Hidden Encounters: Jewish and Christian Children's Interactions in Nazi-Occupied Poland"
Advisors: Hong and Frohman

Gabriel Tennen

Interests: My research focuses on the intersections of social, cultural, and political history in 20th century New York City. I am particularly interested in New York's crisis years during the latter third of the 20th century, and its political implications for how we understand the American urban experience. 

Advisor: Masten

Richard Tomczak

Interests: My dissertation examines Canadian corvée, a French form of mandatory labor, in eighteenth-century Quebec. Following the conquest of Canada and the Treaty of Paris (1763), the British targeted the pre-existing contractual obligation between the lords and peasants to mobilize the agrarian labor force for new imperial ends. Although my research is grounded in the British Empire, I am also interested in the establishment of labor regimes in the French Caribbean and Spanish South America.

Dissertation: "North American Corvée: British Colonialism and the Politics of Popular Insurrection in Quebec, 1730–1783"
Advisor: Landsman

Maria-Clara Torres

Interests: I am a historian of Latin America with an emphasis on drugs, peasant politics, rural conflicts, Cold War, and the Andean region. My dissertation shows how Colombia's long unresolved rural conflicts, the legacies of Cold War counterinsurgency campaigns, and the Alliance for Progress' agrarian reforms interacted with specific regional powers, peasant economies, and ethnic cultures to produce a distinct regional path to illicit coca. It illustrates Colombia's transformation into a major drug-producing country from the ground up. 

Dissertation: "The Roots of an Illicit Peasant Crop: Coca in Colombia, 1950–2010"
Advisor: Gootenberg
Research Profile 


Kenneth Wohl

Interests: I am interested in United States history during the 1930s and 40s, studying the period from political and foreign policy lenses. Recently, I have been studying the role New Deal leaders played during the onset of World War II and how their domestic policy experience translated to foreign policy. 

Advisor: Barnhart  

David Yee

Interests:  I am a PhD candidate in Latin American history with a focus on urban history in twentieth-century Mexico. My main areas of research are urban inequality, housing policy, and social movements, particularly as precursors to Mexico’s democratic transition. My current research focuses on the rise of Latin America’s largest shantytown -Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl – where the processes of migration, self-built housing, political mobilization, and state repression all converged on Mexico City’s urban frontier. My interest in mass urbanization and marginality has led me to begin research on the history of international aid agencies responsible for resolving Latin America’s “housing problem” after World War II. These projects combine archival research with new advances in digital and spatial humanities.

Dissertation: "A Marginal Majority: Housing in the Mexican Metropolis, 1940–1982" 
Advisor: Zolov


Jocelyn Zimmerman

Interests: I am interested in late eighteenth - and early nineteenth-century British Imperialism in South Asia at the thematic intersections of social identity, imperial policy and reform, and the politics of belonging as they pertained to both metropolitan and colonial spaces. Within that framework, I seek to employ gender as an analytic category to account for the varied experiences of Scottish, Irish, or Welsh individuals. 

Advisor: Wilson



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