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Charles Weisenberger

Ph.D. Candidate (ABD)

Fields: African American History, Digital History, Global History 
Faculty: Barbara Krauthamer, Jon Olsen 
Education: B.A., History, Washington College (2012), M.A., History, University of Massachusetts Amherst (2015) 

I have a general fascination with Early American history, but my primary research interest is slavery in the Chesapeake region during the Early Republic. As a graduate student, I want to learn more about the development of enslaved communities as well as transnational influences on American slavery. As an aspiring public historian, I also hope to develop strategies and techniques for representing the experiences of enslaved people to the broader public. 

Before entering college, I had already developed a passion for history, but I was uncertain how to translate that passion into a career. As an undergraduate at Washington College, I found the solution to my dilemma: public history. Through internships with the Moravian Historical Society, the C.V. Starr Center Oral History Program, and the Maryland Historical Society, I gained invaluable experience working with public history. After graduation, I built on that experience as a researcher in the Legacy of Slavery Department at the Maryland State Archives where I wrote biographical case studies of African Americans during the War of 1812. To complete the case studies, I had the opportunity to conduct research at other repositories including the British National Archives in London as well as National Archives locations in Philadelphia, College Park, and Washington D.C. The project cemented my appreciation not only for the lessons of the past, but also for the value of communicating those lessons to the broader public. UMass offers the perfect environment for me to pursue my combined interest in traditional scholarly history and public history. The Pioneer Valley features a wealth of resources for historians, and the public history curriculum will provide me with a broader knowledge base than either a typical museum studies or library science program.