Current Ph.D. Students
This page is intended to give a sense of the range and focus of graduate student research in our department. Current dissertation titles for Ph.D. students are provisional. You may write to current students via email or care of the Department of History, Herter Hall, University of Massachusetts, 161 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA 01003-9312.
Maria Bashshur Abunnasr (ABD)
Fields: Modern Middle East History, 19th Century US History, Public History
Advisors: Mary C. Wilson, Gerald McFarland, and David Glassberg
Education: B.A., Political Science, Drew University, M.A., Art History, American University.
Interests: Transnational History, Oral History, Memory Studies, Landscape Studies, Urban History, and cross-cultural relationships as expressed through the Arab-American landscape of Ras Beirut.
Dan Allosso (ABD)
|Fields:Rural American History, Global Environmental History
Advisor: Heather Cox Richardson, David Glassberg, Ted Melillo (Amherst College), Christopher Clark (Univ. of Connecticut)
Education: B.S. Agricultural & Resource Economics (UMass), M.A. History (Minnesota State University) Interests: Rural history; the history of regular people; radicals and freethinkers
Ambitions: To publish best-selling popular histories
Thomas Army (ABD)
|Fields: 19th Century Constitutional Law, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Faculty: Heather Cox Richardson
Education: B.A. Wesleyan University (1976); M.A.L.S., Wesleyan University (1982).
Interests: I am interested in investigating the correlation between the north and south's different market economies and educational systems prior to the Civil War and the effectiveness of Union and Confederate engineering during the war. Themes including decision making, the development and role of leadership, and just war theory also hold a fascination for me.
| Fields: Modern U.S. Cultural History, Public History, World/Global History
Advisors: David Glassberg, Marla Miller, Elizabeth Chilton, Kevin Sweeney
Education: B.A., Amherst College, M.A., Johns Hopkins University SAIS
Interests: Museology, public history, material culture and landscape
Ambitions: Teaching, research and writing history, and museum work.
Fields: African American and Gender
Education: B.A. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Sociology (2006), M.A. Virginia Tech, History (2008)
Fields:20th Century U.S., Global History, 19th Century U.S.
|Fields: 19th and 20th Century U.S. cultural history
Faculty: Chris Appy
Education: B.A. Connecticut College; M.A. in journalism University of Colorado; M.A. in American studies University of Massachusetts Boston
Interests: I am particularly interested in post-World War II popular culture and how ideas of race, class and gender intersect in cultural production and reception.
Andrew Dausch (ABD)
| Fields: Modern France, European Cultural and Intellectual History, Modern Latin America
Advisors:Dan Gordon, Jennifer Heuer, Daphne Patai, Joel Wolfe
Education: B.A. Philosophy, University of New Hampshire; M.A. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Thesis Title: From Tristes Tropiques to "Hot" Society: France, Brazil and the Formation of a New Global Culture
Interests: My dissertation is a history of intellectual, cultural and political relations between France and Brazil in the 19th and 20th centuries. Primarily, it is an analysis of the transnational flow of ideas concerning race, citizenship, and nationality between these two countries. The project has led to an appreciation of all things brançais or franceuguese in film, music and literature.
Julie de Chantal (ABD)
Fields: 20th Century US with a focus on race, Women's history in the US, Mexico/Latin America
Christopher Fobare (ABD)
| Fields: The Civil War & Reconstruction, The Early Republic, Modern China
Advisors: Heather Cox Richardson, Jennifer Fronc, Barbara Krauthamer, Michael Hannahan (Political Science)
Education: B.A., Utica College (2006), M.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2008).
Interests: The political history of Reconstruction. My dissertation examines the factors that led to the recreation of a national system of party politics following the Civil War. Primarily, it focuses on the construction, evolution, and solidification of the Third American Party System amid the background of American expansion and industrialization during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Ambitions: Earn a PhD, teach at the college level, and contribute to the political historiography of the late nineteenth century.
Kate Freedman (ABD)
| Fields: Early American history, Anglo-Atlantic history, American and
European women's history
Advisors: Barry Levy, Barbara Krauthamer, Manisha Sinha, and Robert Cox.
Education: B.A., History, Hampshire College (2004), MLIS, University
of Rhode Island (2007), M.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Interests: Antislavery; religion, race, revolution, and movements for
social change in the Early Modern Atlantic world; finding ways to use
new media to help bring historical knowledge to a broader population.
In my research, I seek to illuminate how tensions between morality and
economics shaped the Quakers' relationship to slavery in the
Gary Garrison (ABD)
| Fields:U.S. Constitutional & Intellectual History as well as Early Modern and Enlightenment Political Theory
Advisors: Daniel Gordon, Joyce Berkman and Barbara Krauthamer
Education: B.A., Economics, The Ohio State University (1984), J.D., Capital University Law School (1987), LL.M., Capital University Law School (1991), M.A., History, Miami University (2005)
Interests: My research interests focus on historical relationships between the state and those over whom the state exercises sovereignty. I am particularly interested in how minority rights, the marginalized and individual liberties have been (or, more appropriately, not been) protected from the evils of “excess democracy” and the power of an overweening res publica. To take a movie line from several years ago: “People should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people.”
Ambitions: Write and teach (law school and/or university level)
Amanda Goodheart (ABD)
|Fields: U.S. Women and Gender History, 19th Century U.S. History, Global Environmental History
Advisors: Joyce Berkman, Marla Miller, Manisha Sinha, Barry Levy and Edward Melillo
Education: B.A.S., American History and Secondary Education, Salve Regina University (2008); M.A., American History with a concentration in Public History, UMass Amherst (2010)
Interests: My research focuses on the lives of antebellum New England whaling captains' wives and their experiences at sea aboard whaleships as I examine the whaling industry's unique conceptions of gender in the context of nineteenth century gender norms. I am also interested in public history, museum studies, material culture, and strengthening the connections between academics, museum professionals, and the K-12 educational community. Outside of academia, I enjoy traveling, historical fiction, long walks on the beach, and the occasional cocktail party. Ambitions: to continue my work as a public historian, write popular history, see the world, and most importantly, enjoy life to the fullest!
|Fields: Early Medieval Ireland; Byzantium; Literacy and Orality
Faculty: Anna Taylor
Education: B.A. Classics, Fordham University; M.Litt. Classics, Trinity College, Dublin.
M.Litt. Thesis: A Commentary on Suetonius? Life of Nero
Interests: I began as a Roman historian and keep a strong interest in ancient history. My current research concerns the early medieval period in Ireland and surrounding countries, with a particular focus on Seventh Century monastic literary culture.
|Fields: Modern Germany
Faculty: Jon Olsen
Education: B.A. History, German minor, Birmingham-Southern College (2007); M.A. Modern European History, University of Tennessee (2010)
Interests: My research focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of post-1945 Central and Eastern Europe, particularly the formulation of a distinct East German identity. I also study the intersection of high and mass culture, Western images of Asia, popular perceptions of science during the Cold War, and subcultures in socialist regimes.
Non-Academic interests: cats, (good) coffee, running, wine, comics, youth fiction
Melanie Kourbage (ABD)
|Fields: Medieval Religion; Social History of the Middle Ages; Gender
Advisors: Anna Taylor, Brian Ogilvie and Anne Broadbridge
Education: B.A., College of William and Mary; M.A., Fordham University
Interests: My research focuses on medieval religion, specifically the concept of miracle in hagiography, liturgy and historiography in eleventh-century France. Other interests include gender and social history of the later middle ages, and the medieval Middle East.
Jeffrey D. Kovach (ABD)
Fields: Early American religion, specifically focusing on Quaker communities in New England
Advisors: Barry Levy and Joyce Berkman
Education: B.A., History, Franklin & Marshall College, (1997), M.A., History, William Paterson University (2003)
Ambitions: I hope to continue research in Quaker communities, specifically Nantucket in early 18th century.
Michella Marino (ABD)
|Fields: 20th century US, US Women's History, World History
Faculty: Chris Appy, Joyce Berkman, Brian Bunk, Pat Griffin
Education: B.A. Hanover College, 2004; M.A. University of Louisville, 2007
Interests: Academically I'm interested in sports history, oral history, popular culture, the social construction of femininity, and the WWII homefront. Outside of school, I enjoy playing basketball and roller derby as well as watching football (Go Colts!), and reading Jane Austen spin-offs (I've tried to quit but I can't).
|Fields: 20th Century U.S., American Environmental History, Comparative
Race & Ethnicity in World History
Advisors: Chris Appy, David Glassberg
Education: B.A., History, SUNY Geneseo (2005); M.A., History, UMass Amherst (2009)
Interests: My research focuses on the development of a multi-ethnic resort landscape in New York’s Catskill Mountains in the decades following World War II. I’m interested in how landscapes and the built environment are shaped by race and ethnicity, and the relationship between landscape, memory, and identity. More broadly, I’m interested in tourism and leisure history, integrating urban and rural history, comparative race and ethnicity, oral history and public history.
|Fields:Early American Republic -- sociopolitical; Race, power, and violence in the US South and South Africa; Colonial Mexico and Latin American Independence
Education: B.A., History and Psychology, Providence College (2004), M.A., History,
Villanova University (2007)
Interests and Ambitions: My research focuses on the political public sphere in early republic Rhode Island. I am interested in how Roger Williams' founding of the colony on the basis of religious freedom produced a diverse population that resulted in a restrictive political system, and the various reform efforts of those who were excluded. Beyond that, I'm also interested in comparative history, the Atlantic world, dissident movements (reforms, riots, rebellions, and revolutions), and the dynamics of power and capitalist economic development.
Sandra Perot (ABD)
|Fields: Early America, Early Modern Europe (transatlantic influences on colonies), and Public History
Faculty: Marla Miller, Jennifer Heuer
Education: A.B., Princeton University, M.A., English Literature and Teaching, San Jose State University
Interests: I focus on the importance of landscape and community in visualizing history, and more importantly, how to help the public visualize history. I spent several years teaching high school English and American Literature, though I've always incorporated a cultural approach to teaching literature. After becoming involved as a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, I wanted to find out more about what makes museums work and how to make museums successful.
Ambitions: Having spent a year in New Zealand and Australia and a year in Holland, I always yearn for new adventures and am looking to do an international internship for my Public History certificate. Along with traveling, I also enjoy learning Dutch, focusing on my photography, knitting and playing with my kids.
John (J.D.) Roberts
|Fields: Modern Latin America, Global History, Colonial Latin America, Illicit Drug History, Colonial America, Global Environmental History, Modern West African History, Organized Crime History, Agricultural History.
Faculty: Jose Angel Hernandez, Joel Wolfe, David Glassberg, Barry Levy, John Higginson
Education: B.A., Anthropology, SUNY-Albany; M.A., History, UMass-Amherst
Interests: I am particularly interested in the global networks drug trafficking and global crime syndicates create linking producers and consumers from around the world. I am also dedicated to utilizing hard sciences in my historical research, particularly biology, geology, chemistry, and climatology. In my spare time, I am an avid record collector, and I like to travel and hike.
Ann Robinson (ABD)
|Fields: History of Science, 19th & 20th century US, World History
Advisors: John Servos (Amherst College), Larry Owens, Sigrid Schmalzer, Jeff Ramsey (Philosophy, Smith College)
Education: BA, UC San Diego, History (1993); MLIS, San Jose State University
(1995); ALM, Harvard University, History of Science (2007)
Interests: My dissertation examines the creation of a standard periodic table of the elements. I'm broadly interested in classification, organization, and nomenclature, as well as visual representation and scientific organizations. I was an academic reference librarian for 14 years; I'm a life-long Orioles fan and I like rugby (watching, not playing!).
| Fields: Late Antiquity, Ancient Religions, Public History
Faculty: Carlin Barton, Richard Lim
Education: B.A., Wesleyan University (1987); M.A., Holy Names College (1991); M.A., History, UMass Amherst (2012).
Interests: Roman Egypt, cultural identity, objects and memory, the sacred.
Gina Talley (ABD)
|Fields: U.S. Women and Gender History, 20th Century U.S. History, Sex and Society in Modern Europe
Faculty: Jennifer Fronc, Barbara Krauthamer, Daniel LaChance
M.A. Thesis: "Connections Between the Mainline Eugenics Movement and African-American Communities, 1910-1940"
Interests: Broadly, my research interests include social and cultural issues related to women, gender, race, and sexuality in the U.S. from the Reconstruction Era to the present. My dissertation explores childlessness by choice in the early 20th century U.S.
Rick Taupier (ABD)
| Fields: Buddhist Central Asia, Russian Empire, Qing Dynasty
Advisors: Audrey Altstadt, Stephen Platt, Johan Elverskog
Education: B.A. Philosophy, M.S. Environmental Economics, Ph.D. Regional Environmental Planning
Interests: My primary historical interests are Central Asia and more specifically Mongolian and Tibetan cultures and the interactions among Buddhist people throughout Central Asia. I work for the University of Massachusetts as Associate Director for Research Development, under the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement. Past positions include Assistant Secretary of Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1984 - 94), Associate Director of the Environmental Institute at UMass (1994 - 2006), and as a member of the graduate faculty in Regional Planning. I am also the president of the Manjushri Institute of Buddhist Studies and worked intensively in northwest Russia from 1994 to 2002.
Jen Turner (ABD)
Fields: Colonial U.S., poverty studies
Advisors: Barry Levy, Marla Miller
Thesis Title: "The Best Poor Man’s Country and the City Upon the Hill: Pennsylvania and Masssachusetts’ Reponses to the Poor"
Education: B.A., Bates College (1999), M.A., University of Connecticut (2001).
Interests: Knitting, Cooking, Labor Unions, 1950’s girls’ Literature.
Ambitions: Finish my Phd, help other grad students unionize, teach college.
|Fields: Public history, 19th and 20th Century US
Education: AB, History, University of Chicago (2001); MS, Historic Preservation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009); M.A., History, UMass Amherst (2011).
Interests: Generally, the way that written histories or museum exhibits use oral histories, material culture, ethnography, and the built environment to tell stories. Specifically, New Deal arts programs, public art and building, labor and trades, nursing, Progressive Era social programs and immigration.