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Current PhD Students by Primary Field of Study

Ancient | Africa | Atlantic World | East Asia | Europe (MedievalEarly ModernModern) | Latin America | Middle East | South Asia | History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine (STEaM) United States


large_Qizhen Xie.pngQizhen Xie
Ph.D.  Student 
Advisor: Graham Oliver

My main interest lies in the Hellenistic world, particularly in the development of administration and bureaucracy from early to mid Hellenistic period (300-150 BCE). I am currently exploring questions concerning how the romance of “spear-won land” (δορίκτητος χώρα) was grounded in and realized through fiscality and day-to-day management.




Devon Newhouse
Devon Newhouse studies migration within the Portuguese empire with a focus on the movement from Portuguese India to Africa.

Atlantic World

Sherri Cummings
I am interested in the African Atlantic, early African American history and Africana intellectual thought, during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries,  intersecting themes (but not limited to) of trauma, slavery, childhood and law.
Primary Advisor: Roquinaldo Ferreira

(Anne) Brooke Grasberger
My interests are in the spiritual lives of sailors, and particularly what combinations of what is deemed superstition or folklore and what is deemed religion occurred in the unique physical and metaphysical space of the ship at sea. More succinctly: what does the sea do to people, and what do people see in it?
Primary Advisor: Linford Fisher

Marley-Vincent Lindsey
Marley-Vincent Lindsey primarily works on the transformation of class consciousness among the Nahua in sixteenth-century New Spain, and is secondarily interested in the connections between fifteenth-century Iberia and its influence on the religious and political formation of Spanish colonial society.
Primary Advisor: Robert Douglas Cope

Michael Simpson
Michael’s work builds on earlier research by Sibylle Fischer and Marcy Norton on disavowal--the cultural sterilization or ‘bio-prospecting’ often perpetrated by European and American explorers and settler-colonists in the early years of the Atlantic period of discovery. This project will work to examine this intersection between Indigenous traditional knowledge and American and European Enlightenment thinkers, with the intention of reassessing the role of Indigenous people in the creation of modernity, and as a result, the modern world. You can find him on Twitter: @HiddenHistoryRI 
Primary Advisor: Linford Fisher

East Asia

Yu-chi Chang 
Nation-building and nationalism of China, Intellectual History, Political Culture, Book History.
Dissertation: "Imagining the Loss: Maps, Geographic Knowledge, and the Formation of Modern Chinese Nation-State"
Primary Advisor: Rebecca Nedostup

Keegan Cothern
Modern Japan and East Asia as a whole; environmental history and natural disasters; science and technology; urbanization; GIS
Primary Advisor: Kerry Smith

Yu-cheng Shih
Yu-cheng Shih specializes in modern East Asian history, focusing on maritime community, immigration, local historical memory, folk religion, and cold war, as well as the legacy of Japanese colonization in China and Taiwan.
Primary Advisor: Rebecca Nedostup

Aaron Stark
My work revolves around modern Japan and East Asia, and my research interests include modern empire, the social creation of space, and differential mobilities. My current research examines the establishment of the national park system in the Japanese Empire and seeks to show how the accompanying identification, preservation, monumentalization, and subsequent modernization of select spaces created an imagined “natural” order from which the nation/empire sourced its legitimacy.
Primary Advisor: Kerry Smith

Lillian Tsay
Lillian Tsay studies the history of food industry in modern Japan with a focus on sugar and sweets businesses. She is interested in the transition of how “sweetness” was embodied with new cultural meanings since Japan’s Westernization movement in early 20th century and how the consumption culture in the empire’s metropole was connected with the sugar industry in Japan’s colonies. 
Primary Advisor: Kerry Smith

Medieval Europe

Leland Grigoli 
I am interested in paleography, medieval monks, mapping, and the links between religious institutions and secular power within Europe in the long twelfth century.
Primary Advisor: Amy Remensnyder

Charles Carroll 
Masculinity, Heresy, Gregorian Reform, religious culture in High Medieval France
Primary Advisor: Amy Remensnyder

Sarah Christensen
Gender and migration in the Viking diaspora; womens’ roles in ethnic conflict and assimilation in the Irish Sea Region and Iceland.

Stacey Murrell
Stacey works on the western Mediterranean during the high middle ages (c.900-1450), with a particular emphasis on the relationship(s) between gender, sexuality, and power. Her dissertation examines concubinage from the perspective of its role in rulership - particularly processes of power consolidation -  in the kingdoms of Iberia, North Africa, Sicily, and Naples. She is also concerned with concubinage’s later representation in visual culture, which draws on her museum background and interest in the ways that the public engages with the past. Other interests of hers include: medievalism, the intersection(s) of race and gender, the history of the family, burials, and memory.
Primary Advisor: Amy Remensnyder

Ayse Topaloglu
Italy, History of Violence and Crime
Primary Advisor: Amy Remensnyder

Dillon Webster
My interests are rooted in the ethno-religious make up of the western Mediterranean, specifically the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb.

Early Modern Europe

Tamar Golinsky
Primary Advisor: Tara Nummedal

Mayer Juni
Mayer Juni studies changes in early modern knowledge practices and the role that these played in shaping the culture and politics of Europe and the Atlantic World. His dissertation examines Spanish Inquisitors’ systematic collection of personal data and their use of biographical discourse within their trial procedures. In doing so, he hopes to shed light on the intersection of renaissance culture, empire-building, the origins of modern modes of governance, and the construction of new kinds of identities for Amerindians, Africans, Conversos, and other marginal subjects within Hispanic society.
Primary Advisor: Tara Nummedal


Elizabeth Nielsen

Jongook Yoon

Yekai Zhang
Yekai Zhang studies early modern Britain and Ireland, with particular focus on people’s experience of crisis and conflicts, the changes and continuities, and the global expansion under the Stuarts.

Modern Europe

Jisoo Hong
Jisoo Hong studies the history of oil in the former Soviet Union. Particularly, she is focusing on the rise of oilmen since the 1960s, in which oilmen reimagined the political economy of the Soviet Union through oil and transformed their country into a global “petro-state.”

Harry Merritt
Harry's research interests center nationalism, collective identity, interethnic relations, and the impact of war on society, with a current research focus on the Latvian experience of World War II.
Dissertation: "For the Homeland, Against Each Other: Latvian Soldiers in Nazi German and Soviet Service in World War II"
Primary Advisor: Omer Bartov

Alexandra Morehead
Fields of Interest: 20th Century intellectual history of Central and Eastern Europe; genocide & Holocaust studies; national memory; Soviet science and technology.
Primary Advisor: Omer Bartov

Emily Julia Roche
Emily works on the history of architecture and war in twentieth-century Poland. She is particularly interested in writing about the experiences of Jewish architects in Warsaw during and after the Holocaust. Her interests include Jewish history, memory and place, Polish-Soviet relations, communist aesthetics, theories of urbicide, and intellectual history.
Primary Advisor: Omer Bartov

Judith Smith
My research interests include the history of Internationalism (especially in the late 19th century through interwar period), Interethnic Relations and Nationalism, Legal History, War and Political Violence.
Primary Advisor: Omer Bartov

Jenny Lhamo Tsundu
My dissertation examines the twinned projects of a planned city and hydroelectric station in Soviet Siberia. 
Themes: 20th century Russia; hydroelectric development; place and poetics; literary representations of the economic
Primary Advisors: Holly Case and Bathsheba Demuth

James Wang
I am broadly interested in the political and economic history of modern East Central Europe. My research focuses on transformation of the German idea of Mitteleuropa during the First World War and particularly how it relates to parliamentary opposition to German occupation policies in Eastern Europe.
Primary Advisor: Omer Bartov

Latin America

Thamyris Almeida
20th Century Latin America, with a focus on Brazil; gender, race, citizenship, and resistance during Brazil's military dictatorship
Primary Advisor: James Green

Juan J. Bettancourt-García
Juan Bettancourt is a PhD student specializing in Colonial Latin America in the context of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Juan's current research project explores the connections between early 19th century medical practice in the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata  and the expansion of the slave trade with Portuguese ports in Mozambique.
Primary Advisor: Roquinaldo Ferreira

Javier Fernández Galeano
I am working on a comparative study of state policies regarding male homosexuality in Argentina and Spain between the fifties and the eighties.
Dissertation: "Deviant Bodies and Minds: Male Homosexuality and the State in Twentieth-Century Argentina and Spain"
Primary Advisor: James Green

René Cordero
René Cordero works on Latin American social movements and politics during the Cold War. He is particularly interested in examining the left and right wing political narratives of the nation during the 1960s and 1970s in the Dominican Republic and how these narratives opened up new possibilities for democracy and the Dominican Republic’s checkered relationship with Haiti.  More specifically, René examines how the student movement in the Dominican Republic galvanized different sectors of Dominican society and embraced a hemispheric and global circulation of discourses on racial consciousness, anti-imperialism and historical revisionism. His work attempts to place the Dominican Cold War experience at the center of debates about imperialism, third-worldism and race. He is also the coordinator, under the directorship of Professor James Green, of the Dominican section of Opening the Archives, an online archive housed at the Brown Library that documents U.S.-Dominican relations during the Cold War.
Primary Advisor: Jennifer Lambe

Diego Luis
My research centers on early-modern trans-Pacific connections, specifically the movement of free and enslaved Asians from the Spanish Philippines to New Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Primary Advisor: Evelyn Hu-Dehart

Daniel McDonald
As a historian of modern Latin America with a focus on Brazil, my research interests center on cities, citizenship, welfare politics, gender, and social movements.
Dissertation: "Family Ties: Citizenship and Welfare in the Brazilian Transition to Democracy, 1964-1995"
Primary Advisor: James Green

Fernando Norat
Interested in the complex relation between Communism, Nationalism and Anti-Imperialism in the Latin-American left of the 20th century.

Luiz Paulo Ferraz​
Luiz Paulo is interested in the history of modern Latin America, particularly indigenous studies, race, ethnicity, and the military dictatorship in Brazil.
Primary Advisor: James Green 

(John) Luke Smith
Colonial Latin America, History of the Andes,  Social and Economic History, Race, Labor, Commodities, and Empires in the Early Modern World
Primary Advisor: James Green 

Stephanie Wong
My current work focuses on empire, particularly those of ancient Rome, colonial Latin America, and modern East Asia. Other interests include soft power, cultural hegemony and exchange, material culture, monuments, and engaged scholarship. 
Primary Advisor: Douglas Cope

Middle East 

Anil Askin
Anil studies the history of Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His work is primarily concerned with the roles played by environment, animals, science, labor, empires, and institutions in the making of global capitalism. In so doing, he focuses on the networks, logistics and politics of production connecting the Middle East, the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and the Atlantic world to each other. 
Primary Advisor: Beshara Doumani

Kate Elizabeth Creasey
Is a historian of the modern Middle East. Her current research focuses on the politics of everyday life in the immediate aftermath of the 1980 military coup in Turkey.

Julia Gettle
Modern Middle East, 20th Century Levant, Arab Nationalism, Mediterranean History, Social and Cultural History, Political and Social Movements
Primary Advisor: Beshara Doumani

Maariyah Lateef
Late Ottoman history; interactions between muftis and their communities; Islamic legal and ethical norms
Primary Advisor: Beshara Doumani

Joseph Leidy
Joseph works on the social and cultural history of the modern Middle East with a focus on the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean. His dissertation project focuses on the category of youth in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Mt. Lebanon and the Syrian-Lebanese diaspora in North and South America. His other interests include gender, environmental history, and the history of ideas.
Primary Advisor: Beshara Doumani

South Asia 

Abhilash Medhi
Modern South Asia, Afghanistan, Borderlands, Spatial Theory, Political Economy, Travel Writing
Primary Advisor: Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar

Osama Ahmad
Modern South Asia, Colonial Punjab, Social history, Decolonization, Post-Colonial Theory
Primary Advisor: Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar

Devon Newhouse
Devon Newhouse studies migration within the Portuguese empire with a focus on the movement from Portuguese India to Africa. 

Suvaid Yaseen
Modern South Asia, Islam, Intellectual History, Political and Religious Movements
Primary Advisor: Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar

History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine (STEaM)

Amanda Arceneaux
Amanda J Arceneaux works at the intersection of book history and history of science in early modern Europe. Her research explores how vernacular manuscript herbals fit into the larger historical narrative about the rise of modern science. She is interested in how the content and paratextual elements of manuscript herbals offer a way of investigating technologies of knowledge production and get at an aspect of book history, the prevalence of manuscripts in print culture. 

George Elliott
My central interest is the early modern history of alchemy in the Anglo-American colonies, and its connections to developments in the history of science and the Atlantic world. My main questions focus on the social history of colonial alchemy, scientific knowledge production in the household, laboratory experimentation, and alchemical influences on medical treatment. See my website for further information on my work, interests, and career so far.
Primary Advisor: Tara Nummedal

United States

Ann Daly
Ann Daly is a is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. Her research interests include the nineteenth- century United States and the history of money.
Primary Advisor: Seth Rockman

Michael Dorney

Taaja El-Shabazz

Aaron Jacobs
Aaron Jacobs is an historian of American politics and culture, interested in the relationship between race, nationalism, and the history of mass media. His dissertation is entitled “When Lightning Strikes Twice: Cinema, Race, Empire and the Re-Birth of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Primary Advisor: Robert Self

Takuya Maeda
Takuya Maeda studies 20th century U.S. history with a focus on Asian American identity and politics. He is particularly interested in Japanese American interment and redress, and the ways in which traditional notions of communal history, group membership, ethnic identity, and political activism are being challenged by the influx of post-1965 Japanese immigrants.

Rebecca Marisseau
Rebecca Marisseau is a historian of the early American republic with research interests in statecraft, science and technology, capitalism, and material culture. Her dissertation traces whale fishery products - primarily oil - through customs in the Port of New Bedford as a way to explore the materiality and mundanity of state bureaucracy.
Primary Advisor: Seth Rockman 

Sarah Pearlman Shapiro
Sarah’s research explores the intersection of violence and intimacy in early America. Her interests include the politics of death, medicine, and material culture.
Primary Advisor: Seth Rockman 

Emily Pierson
Emily Pierson primarily works on the use of nineteenth-century garden cemeteries to form and reinforce American identity.  She is further interested in broader questions of the interactions between the living and the dead and how these are shaped by the understanding of what happens after death, both to the body and to the soul. 
Primary Advisor: Linford Fisher

Leslie-William Robinson
I am a student of twentieth-century US military, labor, and intellectual history. My dissertation focuses on the systematic development of the concept of morale during WWI, and its exportation into the industrial labor force as a technology of control during the interwar period. The project also explores anti-war resistance as labor resistance.
Primary Advisor: Robert Self

Heather Sanford
Twitter: @heather_history
My research explores the relationship between food systems and slavery in the colonial British Atlantic.
Dissertation: "Palatable Slavery: Food, Race, and Freedom in the Colonial British Atlantic"
Primary Advisor: Linford Fisher

Simeon Simeonov
I am interested in the history of extraterritoriality and its relationship to diasporas, empires, states, colonialism, and decolonization. My work historicizes the creation of the modern nation-state as a process shaped as much by “external” as by “internal” agents and institutions. Methodologically, I blend theorists of European state-building and institutions with the “new” history of capitalism and slavery as well as histories of empire and Atlantic state formation.
My dissertation examines more than a dozen archives on three continents to show how Atlantic consuls negotiated an international consensus on citizenship and human rights, how they shaped ideas of national sovereignty, and how they developed new practices of empire- and nation-building in the Age of Revolution (1776-1848).
Primary Advisor: Seth Rockman

Joseph Williams

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