Gutenberg-e Awards

Awards were conferred in the following years and fields: 1999: Africa, colonial Latin America, and South Asia; 2000: Europe before 1800; 2001: Military History and History of Foreign Relations; 2002: North America before 1900; 2003: Women's History and the History of Gender; 2004: Open to All Fields of History. The names of the prizewinners are followed by the current institutional affiliation, dissertation title, the institution where the PhD was awarded, and a precis of the prize committee's recommendations.

1999: Africa, colonial Latin America, and South Asia

Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (Bryn Mawr College)

"The ‘Door of the Seas and the Key to the Universe’: Indian Politics and Imperial Rivalry in the Darién, 1640–1750." Princeton University, 1999.

This thesis is an ambitious ethnohistory of one of the remotest regions of Latin America and, because of its strategic importance, one of the most conflictual as well. Gallup-Diaz tells the story of indigenous peoples’ relations to various European intruders (Spaniards and Scots) and how both the principal Indian group, the Kuna, and the Europeans were affected and altered by the contact. Drawing on manuscript sources from Scotland, England, and Spain, the author demonstrates how native social and political institutions were molded by contact and how Europeans were forced to make indigenous people an integral part of their own calculus of empire. The great strength of the thesis is its engagement with ethnohistorical approaches and its use of historical documentation to establish the cultural dynamic and relationship of the various historical actors. Gallup-Diaz is able to present the Kuna as active players in their own history, able to create new forms of leadership out of the process of contact which enabled them to survive.

Heidi Gengenbach (SUNY at Buffalo)

"Where Women Make History: Pots, Stories, Tattoos, and Other Gendered Accounts of Community and Change in Magude District, Mozambique, c. 1800 to the Present." University of Minnesota, 1999.

This is a path-breaking study of how women make history, and how their history-making refigures prevailing accounts of rural society and social change in southern Mozambique. Working in an area where documentary sources are mostly silent about African women, and where women themselves, if questioned directly, usually deny any knowledge of "history," Gengenbach has uncovered a rich and varied archive of unconventional source materials that, together with available archival and oral narratives, illuminates both women’s experiences with colonial and postcolonial transformations and their perspectives on history and historymaking. To uncover women’s perspectives on the past, Gengenbach moved beyond conventional methods of oral and archival history, living in a rural community for 18 months and using ethnographic methods to explore a wide variety of contemporary practices for clues to women’s history and historical knowledge. Gengenbach challenges the recent scholarly argument that, by separating people from the places where their memories are "banked," historical traumas such as war and apartheid have destroyed memories themselves. Through a series of equally sensitive and original readings of other kinds of contemporary practices like storytelling, pottery making, bodily decoration, and land use, Gengenbach both rewrites the social history of rural southern Mozambique from women’s perspectives, and expands the already rich and varied methodological repertoire of historians of Africa.

Anne Hardgrove (University of Texas at San Antonio)

"Community as Public Culture in Modern India: The Marwaris of Calcutta, c. 1897–1997." University of Michigan, 1999.

This is a most impressive work, adroitly and effectively combining historical and anthropological approaches to an important topic in 20th-century Indian history. The dissertation is a study of the growth and character of a distinctive "Marwari" identity as it developed among migrants from Rajasthan who established themselves from the early 20th century as a dominant commercial and industrial elite in Calcutta. With its view from both the archive and close participant observation, Hardgrove gives us here the first richly textured, intellectually sophisticated, account of this important business community. An exceptional dissertation, sensitive alike to historical change, cultural theory, and ethnographic detail.

Jacqueline Holler (Simon Fraser University)

"Escogidas Plantas": Nuns and Beatas in Mexico City, 1531–1601." Emory University, 1998.

This thesis deals with the origins of feminine religiosity in the early history of Mexico. It demonstrates how the early members of the religious orders were conceived of as an extension of the process of conversion and spiritual conquest. Over time, however, the creation of convents became a means of reaffirming the European nature of the colony, at least for its upper classes. Holler’s thesis is based on archival research in both Mexico and Spain. It integrates much of the existing historiography but is also particularly effective in telling individual stories and allowing the personalities, strengths, and foibles of various of the women involved to carry the history forward. This thesis is an important contribution in the growing literature on women in colonial Latin America.

Michael Katten (Independent Scholar)

"Category Creation and the Colonial Setting: Identity Formation in Nineteenth-Century Telugu-Speaking India." University of California at Berkeley, 1997.

Unsatisfied alike with "top down" studies of colonial discourse, with their Saidian assumptions of hegemony, and easy "subalternist" approaches, Katten endeavors in this dissertation to assess the early colonial period, from the 1780s onward, in southern India as a "dialogic" enterprise, in which distinctive forms of identity emerge as the indigenous peoples interacted with the new colonial rulers. For several different groups Katten explores in detail, carefully and meticulously, close to the ground at the local level, how productive formulations of identity came into being through the working of historical contingency. Using a great deal of material never previously consulted, in both English and Telugu, probing carefully the way identities coalesced in early colonial India, Katten has created a work that, although it requires close attention to a difficult text, is of exceptional originality.

Helena Pohlandt-McCormick (Carleton College)

"‘I Saw a Nightmare . . .’—Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976." University of Minnesota, 1999.

This dissertation is an ambitious, deeply engaged reexamination of a protest by black school children against enforced instruction in Afrikaans, which escalated into a yearlong rebellion that spread to many of South Africa’s segregated urban townships, and transformed the history of the struggle against apartheid. Arguing that the voluminous literature on Soweto has neglected the children’s own role in and perspectives on the crisis, Pohlandt-McCormick sets out to remedy that shortcoming. Based on lengthy discussions with former student activists, together with an exhaustive examination of other contemporary accounts, including students’ testimonies to the government commission of inquiry, Pohlandt-McCormick offers both a reinterpretation of several aspects of the uprising and an extended critical analysis of alternative contemporary sources and their influence on the historiography of the movement.

Some of the dissertation’s contributions include an incisive analysis of the way both the government and the ANC, though reaching opposite conclusions about the merits and effects of the uprising, adopted similar terms in analyzing its causes; sensitive discussions of the degree to which students’ perspectives can be gleaned from the constraints of their testimony to the commission of inquiry and the way participants’ own recollections have been shaped by their subsequent histories; a perceptive discussion of the symbolic importance of language as the catalyst of the uprising; and a persuasive critique of the ANC’s underestimation of the appeal of the Black Consciousness Movement among schoolchildren in the 1970s. In all these respects, Pohlandt-McCormick’s dissertation offers important correctives and new perspectives on a turning point in the history of racial oppression and struggle in South Africa.

2000: Europe before 1800

Gregory S. Brown (Univ. of Nevada at Las Vegas)

"A Field of Honor: The Cultural Politics of Playwriting in Eighteenth-Century France," Columbia University, 1997.

This manuscript offers a multilevel study of the intellectual, social, and institutional contexts of dramatic authorship and the world of playwrights in 18th-century Paris. Brown interweaves research in archival and printed materials; case studies of individual authorial strategies; a rich, often contentious historiography on the French Enlightenment; and analytical constructs ("the civilizing process," "self fashioning," "the public sphere," "cultural capital") from contemporary cultural theory and criticism. Drawing on a sophisticated array of recent studies, the author positions his work against and between the grain of alternative approaches and interpretations. He combines scholarship on the history of the book with analyses of political culture and cultural identity. The reader comes away from the manuscript with a strong and revealing appreciation for the tensions and crosscurrents staged at the center of the 18th-century "republic of letters."

Mary Halavais (Sonoma State Univ.)

"Like Wheat to the Miller: Community, Convivencia, and the Construction of Morisco Identity in Sixteenth-Century Aragon," University of California at San Diego, 1997.

Mary Halavais has reopened the question of the reality of convivencia in Aragon during the 16th century in a microhistorical examination of two villages, Báguena and Burbaguena, in the Jiloca valley. She argues, on the basis of notarial records, parish registers, and ecclesiastical archives, that in these villages local laity and religion made little distinction between old Christians and new (Moriscos). The distinctions were imposed, Halavais argues, from the outside by ecclesiastical authorities and royal agents. The dissertation is a good analysis of the sparse archival materials and the more abundant literature on 16th-century Spain. The thesis that the marginalization of Moriscos was imposed on localities by central authorities and that it did not grow out of antagonisms and hostility in the local communities themselves is revisionist and its interpretation will certainly be disputed. However, this is a creditable work that shows real promise and sensitivity.

Wayne Hanley (West Chester Univ.)

"The Genesis of Napoleonic Propaganda, 1796 to 1799," University of Missouri, 1998.

The approach taken to Napoleon is novel, and that is quite remarkable, given the massive historiography on the subject. The author uses images as well as text to show the artful self-crafting on the part of a young provincial on the make. Using a term actually invented at or near the Revolution, the thesis makes propaganda into a key element in the rise of Napoleon. This gives the thesis a nice interfacing of cultural and political history that fits with recent approaches to the Revolution taken by Lynn Hunt, Carla Hesse, and others. The committee saw here the makings of a fine, short, first book and believes that the author should have the time to pursue its creation from the dissertation. The potential for the electronic publication format seems very strong here, and we would urge the author to consider how best to make the most of the digital possibilities for handling the wide range and volume of the materials on which his work is based. This could be a model project for electronically published cultural history.

Sarah Lowengard (independent scholar)

"Color Practices, Color Theories, and the Creation of Color in Objects: Britain and France in the Eighteenth Century," State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1999.

Seldom does any dissertation attempt to be comparative, in this case to cross the Channel and to say new and interesting things about the scientific culture found in both England and France. By using color, as a practice as well as a branch of optical theory, the author manages to weave material culture along with abstract science—again an integration seldom found in a first work.

William F. MacLehose (independent scholar)

"'A Tender Age': Cultural Anxieties over the Child in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries," Johns Hopkins University, 1999.

William MacLehose takes the study of medieval childhood to a new level of sophistication by examining discourses that express anxieties about children and their susceptibility to external threats. None of these discursive fields directly and explicitly defines childhood. However, through a sensitive analysis of each, MacLehose is able to tease out a complex and multidimensional series of overlapping attitudes toward infants and children that goes far beyond the old debate of whether childhood existed in the Middle Ages. The strength of the dissertation lies first in the author's control of each discourse. He has mastered the complex literature on each of these very different areas in a thoroughly professional way. He understands the particular genre, terminology, and contextual issues that gave rise to each, rather than mixing them into a bland composite portrait. Moreover, he accepts the contradictions and paradoxes of the images of children within each discourse and across discourses. At the same time, he is able to argue convincingly for certain commonalities in perceptions and modes of discussion.

Michael S. Smith (Univ. of California at Riverside)

"Anti-Radical Expression: Counter-Revolutionary Thought in the Age of Revolution," University of California at Riverside, 1999.

Reconstructing antirevolutionary ideology in the profile of British political culture at the end of the 18th century, Michael Smith's study steers a revisionary argument through the oppositions of a rich and complex historiography and a voluminous contemporary literature. English antiradicalism, Smith argues, shared a fairly coherent core of values and shifted tactically with circumstances, but one way or another, it was neither a form of reactionary Burkean conservatism nor a popularizing Toryism nor a still-hale survival from the English ancien régime. The dissertation's five chapters analyze antiradical discourse and tactics on major topics, from political reform to property, the church, and political philosophy. The committee was impressed by the work's cogency and challenge for a reconsideration of British political culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, by the wide-ranging but targeted research, and by the energy and verve of the presentation.

2001: Military History and History of Foreign Relations

Tonio Andrade, SUNY Brockport

"Commerce, Culture, and Conflict: Taiwan under European Rule, 1623–1662," Yale University, 2000.

The incorporation of Taiwan into the early modern European colonial trading networks, and its subsequent incorporation into the Chinese empire, are topics almost completely unexplored in Western language scholarship. This superb dissertation not only opens them up but does so in an exciting way by exploring the complex interactions between the European trade diasporas and existing patterns of Asian migration and trade. The author is well acquainted with recent and current debates on the critical transformation taking place in the global economy during the late 16th and 17th centuries, and imaginatively covers a broad range of issues. He argues convincingly, and in wonderfully rich detail, that it was Dutch protection that made possible the slow Chinese colonization of Taiwan-and ultimately its incorporation into China. Andrade brilliantly reminds us of how important the brief episode of European occupation was to the future development of Taiwan, including the birth of its sugar industry.

Kenneth W. Estes, independent scholar

"A European Anabasis: Western European Volunteers in the German Army and SS, 1940–1945," University of Maryland, 1984.

Estes studies the 100,000 West Europeans who fought against Russia as volunteers for the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. Estes shows tremendous knowledge of combat and writes gripping battlefield prose. Two-thirds of the West European volunteers came from Spain and the Netherlands, yet Estes demonstrates wide range and covers also Flemish, Walloon, French, Danish, and Norwegian combat units. Avoiding over- generalization, the author distinguishes carefully among the Danes and Flemings, the courageous but poorly-armed Spanish, the ill-trained Dutch and French, and the Norwegians. Estes pulverizes the Nazi propaganda notion of a multinational European army defending "Western civilization" against "Bolshevism." He shows that West Europeans, mainly of the urban working classes, volunteered from a mix of motives and demonstrates that the best-performing foreign legions were trained and led by German officers and formed parts of larger SS units, and also that the Wehrmacht placed little value on foreign formations until its other manpower reserves ran out in 1944–45.

Daniel Kowalsky, Washington University (St. Louis)

"The Soviet Union and the Spanish Republic: Diplomatic, Military, and Cultural Relations, 1936–1939," University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001.

A solid, broad, and critical work, based on Spanish and Russian archival sources that not only revisits and critiques almost seventy years of Civil-War scholarship but presents new evidence and conclusions on the nature of this strange, and ultimately hapless, bilateral relationship. Using hitherto untapped Soviet records, Kowalsky takes on several contested subjects, such as Stalin's decision to intervene, his tactics, and strategy based as much on internal as external factors; the reasons for the Soviets' early successes; the extent of Soviet contributions measured against Spain's huge gold payments; and the causes of the Soviets' defeats and withdrawals and the republic's failures after 1937. A fine, traditional history, it is spiritedly written, meticulously documented, and convincingly argued.

Sanders Marble, independent scholar

"'The Infantry Cannot Do with a Gun Less': The Place of the Artillery in the BEF, 1914–1918," (King's College) University of London, 1998.

A major work in its own right, and in the context of a growing body of literature on the institutional development of the BEF during WWI. That has often been called an artillery war, but Marble's dissertation shows that the gunners conceptualized their role as a supporting arm, part of a "fire and movement' structure designed to move other arms forward. Artillery, in other words, was only one element of a larger production. Well researched and well reasoned, Marble's work shows that while the artillery's tools and methods changed almost beyond recognition, the arm's place in the army's "military culture" remained consistent, never asserting the French paradigm of "artillery conquering, infantry occupying." The artillery cooperated because that was the fastest way to win the war.

Christopher O'Sullivan, Santa Rosa Junior College (California)

"Sumner Welles, Postwar Planning, and the Quest for a New World Order, 1937–1943," (LSE) University of London, 1999.

Can new research still fundamentally change our view of American foreign policies in World War II? O'Sullivan's remarkable study of Undersecretary Sumner Welles shows that it can. Irwin Gellman's Secret Affairs and Benjamin Welles's FDR's Global Strategist, both appearing in the last few years, milked the Welles papers to chronicle the rivalry with Secretary Hull and the sexual scandal that led to Welles's departure from government. O'Sullivan takes the sexual pecadillos for granted and concentrates on Welles's world view, especially as the undersecretary laid it out for the Political Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy in 1942–43. Is turns out that Harley Notter's anodyne 1949 official publication, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, doesn't tell the half of it. O'Sullivan portrays Welles as coldly hostile to all the West European powers-Allies as much as enemies-and resolved to create a global Pax Americana on the Monroe Doctrine model after the war. Given FDR's tendency to rely on Welles's advice, at least until the fall of 1943 and to some extent beyond, this study may eventually promote a new look at U.S. war aims.

Kenneth Steuer, Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University

"Pursuit of an 'Unparalleled Opportunity': The American YMCA and Prisoner of War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations during World War I, 1914–1923" University of Minnesota, 1998.

Comprehensively researched, this analysis sheds fresh light on both the general subject of WWI prisoners of war, and the role of the first NGO, the YMCA. The author is particularly successful in demonstrating the Y's role in the increasingly chaotic conditions of East Europe, and merits credit as well for his insight into the synergy of Christian witness and secular tough-mindedness that informed the best of the Y's people.

2002: North America before 1900

John Rogers Haddad (University of Central Oklahoma)

"'The American Marco Polo': Excursions to a Virtual China in U.S. Popular Culture, 1784–1912," University of Texas at Austin, 2002.

In fluid and accessible prose, Haddad covers a fascinating topic with great sweep and mastery. His analytically rich and methodologically complex dissertation attends to various appearances of Chinese culture in America throughout the long nineteenth century. Examining museums, material objects, and exhibited persons, Haddad rejects prevailing modes of Orientalism that posit a one-way traffic between Asia and the West in which imperialist domination eclipses cultural exchange. Instead, his focus on these "popular educational events," to use his term, demonstrates that exhibitions of Chinese artifacts held great popular appeal, even as they were also sites at which Chinese gained the possibility to control their own representation in America. Haddad makes compelling use of freshly discovered visual evidence such as trade cards, printer catalogues and engravings, and the publication of his manuscript as an e-book will permit a dramatic presentation of the vivid imagery on which this study is based.

Willeen Keough (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

"The Slender Thread: Irish Women on the Southern Avalon, 1750–1860," Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2001.

Through astonishing detective work in memoirs, newspapers, court and land records, among other sources, Keough reconstructs the world of early settlement in Canada's maritime provinces and demonstrates, in painstaking detail, the importance of women to that experience. With passionate commitment, she excavates the hard-working lives of women and centers their role as community builders in fishing villages on the coast of the Southern Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. Her work connects North American Colonial history to an entire historiography published in Canada and Ireland about which U.S. scholars know very little. In doing so, she makes a great contribution to colonial history, the history of the social division of labor, and to women's history as well. Keough has written a massively researched and defining dissertation that is extraordinary in its attention to everyday lives. Electronic access to her findings and her data archive should inspire a wealth of research, teaching assignments, and other uses of this intriguing story of gender roles and the demographics of migration and settlement.

Dorothea McCullough (Archeological Survey, Indiana University-Purdue University)

"'By Cash and Eggs': Gender in Washington County during Indiana's Pioneer Period," Indiana University, 2001.

Using court and church records systematically and with subtle insight, McCullough's deeply researched dissertation makes a convincing and nuanced argument about the vital role of women during Indiana's antebellum settlement period. As litigants, witnesses, guardians, executors of estates, and the majority in church memberships, women emerge in her study as contentious and willful historical actors who learned to use the courts to establish their rights to person, property and dignity. McCullough provides an important revision of the literature in gender and women's history. She renews our understanding of how democracy was constituted, and its meaning for women in pioneer communities in the American midwest in the early nineteenth century. This is an excellent, solid piece of scholarship that deserves recognition as a thoughtful and well-written addition to the literature.

2003: Women's History and the History of Gender

Joshua Greenberg (University of Miami)

“Advocating 'The Man': Masculinity, Organized Labor and the Market Revolution in New York, 1800-1840,” American University, 2003.

In his “thorough, and imaginative exploration” of the relationship between masculinity and the young labor movement in the Jacksonian era, Greenberg examines diverse sources, such as plays, debates about birth control and comic valentines. He argues that “domestic issues and concerns guided workplace and political reactions to the new industrial economy.”

Timothy Hodgdon (Duke University)

“Manhood in the Age of Aquarius: Masculinity in Two Countercultural Communities, 1965-83,”Arizona State University, 2002.

This is a study “full of rich interpretation” that explores the diverse forms of masculinity found in counter cultural radicalism. Hodgdon argues that conceptions of masculinity developed along two main lines: anarchism and mysticism. These are explored by examining the communities of the Diggers of San Francisco, and The Farm in Tennessee.

Daniella J. Kostroun (Stonehill College)

“Undermining Obedience in Absolutist France: The Case of the Port Royal Nuns, 1609-1709,” Duke University, 2000.

In “a gripping story, well written,” Kostroun answers the question: why, in 1709, did Louis XIV have two hundred soldiers destroy a convent that was home to only twenty-two elderly nuns? While answering that question, she examines how women became the “vanguard of the Jansenist resistance to Louis XIV.”

Erika Lauren Lindgren (Wabash College)

“Environment and Spirituality of German Dominican Women, 1230-1370,” University of Iowa, 2001.

Lindgren compares “Sister-Books,” the literature written in the female Dominican monasteries, with the material culture of the women’s surroundings. She examines the ways in which spirituality becomes culturally constructed and the roles of physicality in religious behavior. She develops a “holistic view of the intersection between materiality and spirituality in female monasteries.”

Jeri L. McIntosh (independent scholar)

“Sovereign Princesses: Mary and Elizabeth Tudor as Heads of Princely Households and the Accomplishment of the Female Succession, 1516-1553,” Johns Hopkins University, 2003.

In her “very impressive” dissertation, McIntosh argues that Mary and Elizabeth did not succeed to the English throne simply because there were no male heirs. McIntosh assesses budgetary accounts, records of entertainment, numbers of important visitors, and political use of staff and retainers to show how Mary and Elizabeth established themselves as credible authority figures before their accessions.

Ann Elizabeth Pfau (New Jersey History Partnership Project at Kean University)

“Miss Yourlovin: Women in the Culture of American World War II Soldiers,” Rutgers University, 2001.

Pfau “extracted extraordinary materials from the World War II files in the National Archives” to complete her study. The work is a series of case studies that examine the women of the shared culture of World War II servicemen including the idealized wife, the promiscuous WAC, the seductive fraulein, the maternal bomber plane and the treacherous Tokyo Rose. Through these she examines the sources and consequences of an “ambivalent cult of American womanhood.”

Margaret Poulos (independent scholar)

“Arms and the Woman: Just Warriors and Greek Feminist Identity,” University of Sydney, 2003.

Poulos explores the intersections of militarism, nationalism, and feminism, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She argues that the essentially ambiguous nationalist imagery of a woman warrior has not been entirely efficient in the women’s emancipation agenda. The result is “an ambitious, interesting, and successful dissertation.”

Kirsten S. Rambo (Emory University)

“’Trivial Complaints:’ The Role of Privacy in domestic Violence Law and Activism in the U. S.” Emory University, 2003.

Rambo traces the strategies of the battered women's movement in her “analytically astute and well-argued piece of legal history.” She focuses on the role of cultural and legal notions of privacy in litigation and activism in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Maria Rentetzi (Polytechnic of Athens)

“Gender, Politics, and Radioactivity Research in Vienna, 1910-1938,” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2003.

Rentetzi’s dissertation is “a complex, creative, and fascinating study” of women in Vienna working as independent researchers. She includes documentary research, material culture and built environment analysis, and oral histories to examine the culture of women in the unique positions of radioactivity researchers during the early twentieth century.

2004: Open to All Fields of History

Sherry Fields

"Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico," University of California, Davis, 2003.

Fields has an interesting take on cultures of health and illness in colonial Mexico as illuminated by popular beliefs and practices following the encounter of indigenous and European medical traditions. Her use of ex-votos as sources is especially interesting…. The dissertation offers thoughtful and reflective work.

Ronda M. Gonzales

"Continuity and Change: Thought, Belief, and Practice in the History of the Ruvu Peoples of Central East Tanzania, c. 200 B.C. to A.D. 1800," University of California, Los Angeles, 2002.

Gonzales relies principally on historical linguistics as supplemented by field research and occasional archaeological data in developing a complex understanding of linguistic-cultural-historical development in east Africa. The scope of her work is breathtaking…

Sarah Gordon

"‘Make It Yourself’: Home Sewing, Gender and Culture, 1890-1930," Rutgers University, 2004

This manuscript rests on a fascinating body of material: the documents pertaining to home sewing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author shows that sewing activities both supported and undermined traditional domestic ideals. Gordon argues that the portrayal of home sewing shifted from a useful form of household labor to a way to nurture a family and cultivate attractiveness. She also attempts to demonstrate through an examination of sports clothing the role of sewing in altering conceptions of respectability.

Shah Mahmoud Hanifi

"Inter-Regional Trade and Colonial State Formation in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan," University of Michigan, 2001

Hanifi focuses on trade, literacy, and state building in locating para-colonial Afghanistan in the contexts of imperial and capitalist history. He juggles political, cultural, and economic considerations. He adroitly and largely persuasively balances theoretical perspectives with empirical data. He draws on an impressive blend of archival, narrative, and oral historical sources.

Robert Kirkbride

"Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro," McGill University, 2002

The overriding theme of the dissertation is that these rooms embodied theories of the art of memory, which Renaissance thinkers regarded as the foundation of all intellectual endeavors. Memory supplied the materials of oration, of reflection, and of theorizing. The two studioli of Federico are organized and filled with aides memoires and are ideal places for remembering what a statesman of Federico’s stature needed to remember. Overall, the dissertation is a tour de force of scholarship and writing.

Jennifer Langdon-Teclaw

"Caught in the Crossfire: Anti-Fascism, Anti-Communism and the Politics of Americanism in the Hollywood Career of Adrian Scott," State University of New York-Binghamton, 2001.

This manuscript explores the politics of the Cold War by investigating the career of the Hollywood producer Adrian Scott and the fortunes of his controversial film “Crossfire.” From the start, it exhibits a refreshing energy…. The author connects her story to matters of gender and ethnicity as well as anti-communism.

Laura J. Mitchell

"Contested Terrains: Property and Labor on the Cedarberg Frontier, 1725-c. 1830," University of California, Los Angeles, 2001.

Mitchell combines archaeological and historical findings to argue convincingly for the overlap of “prehistorical” (i.e., hunting and gathering Khoisan populations) and historical (e.g., slaves of various backgrounds and settlers of European descent) periods. She takes on those who focus on slavery on the Cape and who lump together various forms of servitude. She looks at the role of kin and family networks in securing Dutch settlers, thereby identifying Dutch women’s contributions and roles.

Bin Yang

"Between Winds and Clouds: The Making of Yunnan (Second Century BCE-Twentieth Century CE)," Northeastern University, 2004

Yang takes “a global and long-term perspective on a local past.” Criticizing China-centric studies of southwestern China, he looks from Yunnan outward, locating the region’s central role in the Southwest Silk Road, and its transformations in terms of economy, administration, populations, sense of ethnic identity. He seeks to show that a world history approach is stronger at explaining local dynamics than a national approach.