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: Civil War and Reconstruction; 19th Century U. S. History; 20th Century American Foreign Policy; and Modern European History.
Faculty: Heather Cox Richardson, Jennifer Fronc, Leonard Richards, Christian Appy, Jon Olsen.
Education: B.A. Wesleyan University 1976; M.A.L.S. Wesleyan University 1982.
Interests: My dissertation explores the critical advantage the Union held over the Confederacy in the area of military engineering. Without the unique, novel, and remarkable engineering operations conducted by common laborers, machinists, shipbuilders, and both common school educated and West Point trained engineers, it was unlikely the North would have won the war. The skills Union soldiers displayed were developed in the decades before the war. Northern states' attempt at implementing basic educational reform, the spread of informal educational practices directed at mechanics and artisans, and the exponential growth in manufacturing all generated a different work related ethos than that of the South.
Non-academic interests: Family, reading, volunteering, dogs, popcorn and movies, bicycling, black raspberry ice cream, ice hockey (Bruins), baseball (Red Sox).
|Fields: Modern Middle East History, History of Iran and Arab relations, History of Persian relations with the Levant.
Advisors: Mary C. Wilson
Education: B.A., Journalism, Tehran University; Masters in Sociology, Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran; Masters in Middle Eastern Studies, the American University of Beirut.
Interests: Modern Middle Eastern History, in particular the History of Iranian relations with the Levant.
For my Ph.D. research, I would like to investigate the formation of the Syrian-Iranian alliance in the 1980s and its regional ramifications from the angle of factionalism in Iran. The turbulent 1980s was not only the period of fierce power struggle inside the Islamic Republic, it also marked the most difficult and complicated stage of the newly created Syrian-Iranian axis. An in-depth analysis of this seminal period, based on primary sources, is important to understanding the post-1980s phase of the Iranian-Syrian partnership and cooperation over Lebanon and Palestine. I have conducted extensive research and interviews on the subject in Arabic, Persian and English. My recent article, "Revolutionary Iran's 1979 Endeavor in Lebanon", published in the Middle East Policy Journals 2013 summer issue, was based on this research.
|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: Atlantic World, Public History, Book History
Advisor: Barry Levy
Education: B.A., SUNY Geneseo (2010), M.A., University of Houston (2012)
Interests: Colonial & Early America; Early Modern England; history of childhood and youth; history of the family; material culture. My research examines the relationship between families and the intellectual, cultural, and economic marketplace of the 18th century English Atlantic through the creation, distribution, and reception of children’s literature, particularly in New England.
Fields: History of U.S. Diplomacy, Cold War
Interests: Justin’s proposed dissertation research examines the relationship between America and Great Britain during the 1950s, in relation to Cold War crisis events, to better understand how and why the history of this period unfolded the way it did. Justin will explore the Anglo-American relationship within a multi-national construct spanning Atlantic, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern studies across the middle part of the twentieth century.
Daniel Chard (ABD)
Fields: 20th Century U.S., World History, 19th Century U.S.
Fields: 19th and 20th Century U.S. cultural history
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
Advisors: Laura L. Lovett, David Glassberg, John Higginson, Manisha Sinha
Education: BA (2005), MA History, Université de Montréal
Interests: Relationships between race, gender and nation building; development of popular culture in the Northern urban areas; marginality; feminist theory
|Fields: Modern Germany, Public History, Empire and South Africa
Faculty: Jon Olsen, Andrew Donson, John Higginson
Education: BA Honours in History, Concordia University, (Montreal) MA in Public History, Carleton University (Ottawa)
Interests: Academically, my interests are Modern Germany, memory, public history, and social media. My research looks at how people remember the history of the Third Reich and the Holocaust on social media. Outside of academia, I enjoy traveling, going to museums, drinking (good) tea, and watching hockey.
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: Women and Gender, Nineteenth Century U.S., Global Environmental
Faculty: Joyce Berkman (Chair), Marla Miller, Barry Levy, and Manisha Sinha
Education: B.A.S. in American History and Secondary Education, Salve Regina University (2008); M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History, University of Massachusetts Amherst (2010)
Interests: As a public historian employed full-time in the museum field, I bridge the divide between academia, museums, and the K-12 educational community in my role as the School Programs Assistant at the Springfield Museums. My dissertation represents my decade long fascination with gender and maritime history, focusing 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 within the context of the social, cultural, and political changes of the mid-nineteenth century. Outside of graduate school, I enjoy studying material culture, traveling, historical fiction, long walks on the beach, and the occasional cocktail party. My ambitions are 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: 19th and 20th Century U.S. History, Race and Gender
Interests: My research focuses on the constantly evolving roles of race, religion, and gender in 19th and 20th century United States.
Kathryn Julian (ABD)
|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.
|Fields: 20th Century US History, African American History, Latin American History
Education: B.A., History and English, Salem College; M.A., History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Graduate Certificate, Africana Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Interests: Civil Rights and Black Power, Harlem Renaissance, African Diaspora, 20th century radicalism, global Cold War, oral history.
|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.
Sandra Perot (ABD)
|Name: Sandra Perot (ABD)
Fields: Early American History, Public History, Victorian Women's History
Faculty: Marla Miller, David Glassberg, Joyce Berkman
Education: MA History, UMass Amherst; MA English, San Jose State University; AB English Princeton University
Interests: Revolutionary-Era Transatlantic Anglophone Women's Theatre, Cultural history of Early American Women, Women and Literature in the Anglophone World, Transnational Museum Narratives,Oral Traditions and Memory,17th-Century Interracial Relations
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 U.S. History, World History
Faculty: John Servos (Amherst College), Larry Owens, Sigrid Schmalzer, Jeff Ramsey (Philosophy, Smith College)
Education: BA, History, UC San Diego (1993); MLIS, San Jose State University
(1995); ALM, History of Science, Harvard University (2007)
Interests: My dissertation explores 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 Baltimore Orioles fan and I like rugby (watching, not playing!).
|Fields: Late Antiquity, Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Collective Memory and Identity
Faculty: Carlin Barton, Richard Lim, David Glassberg
Education: B.A., Wesleyan University (1987); M.A., Holy Names College (1991); M.A., History, UMass Amherst (2012).
Interests: Roman Egypt, Neoplatonic thought, the sacrificial system.
Fields: Native American, Colonial America, Atlantic World
Advisors: Joel Martin, Kevin Sweeney
Education: B.A., History, Gettysburg College (2005); M.A., History, (Concentration: Atlantic World; Secondary fields: Colonial America and Early Modern Europe), Villanova University (2009)
Academic Interests: I am continually fascinated by the complex process of exchange, interplay, and negotiation between the Native American, European, and American peoples. Focusing on Native American history also allows me to meld my side interests in environmental history, medicine, and very occasionally with much creativity, the Protestant Reformation. I am looking forward to continuing my past work with captivity narratives, and examining Native Americans who self-selected to leave their homes and travel abroad. I will also be pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Native American Studies.
Interests External to Academia: Volunteer EMT-B, piano, cross-stitching, painting, gardening, hiking, camping, and biking. Catching up on classic literature and devouring young adult fiction. I am alternatively terrorized and snuggled by my cat, George "Catlin."
Ambitions: To be a professor at a small liberal arts college. I hope to meld my Residence Life background with academia and teach a First Year Seminar within a residence hall.
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.
|Fields: 20th Century U.S. Culture, Public History, 19th and 20th Century Borderlands
Advisors: David Glassberg, Marla Miller, Richard A. Lopez (Amherst)
Education: B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara (2007); M.A. California State University, Fullerton (2010)
Interests: Material, visual, and popular culture; public history and memory; the American West; oral history; as well as museums and archives.
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.