This session will be primarily geared toward early career scholars, and will be a lightning round open to all attendees to present their research in a short format. The session will accommodate approximately 15 presentations and will be allocated on a first come/first served basis. Participants will present their research with five slides in five minutes. The session will provide a great opportunity for early career scholars to practice presenting their research to other historians as well as non-specialists.


Session Information

AHA Session 184

Date: Saturday, January 6, 2018
Time: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Location: Washington Room 1 (Marriott Wardman Park, Exhibition Level)
Chair: James H. Sweet, University of Wisconsin–Madison




Abolitionism, Anti-Secretism, and Fundamentalism: The National Christian Association and American Protestant Reform, 1868-1983

Michael Davis, PhD (Northwest Florida State College)

The National Christian Association Against Secret Societies remains one of the great untold stories of American religious history. The NCA’s members were abolitionists living in a post-slavery era, leaders of the least successful party of the Gilded Age, failed advocates for anti-secretism inside the fundamentalist coalition, and a voice for independence among Dutch Calvinists amid the general cultural assimilation of the post-WW2 era. Anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic, they were vigorous foes of the APA and the Klan. Anti-ecumenical and Anglophone, they were part of a multi-denominational organization that crossed cultural barriers across the Midwest. They were a movement full of contradictions.

Burying the Past and Building the Future: Finding Britain’s Fifth Century

Janet Kay (Princeton University)

My project examines changes in burial practices in Britain from 350 to 550 CE, from the decline of the militarized Roman economy to the period for which historians once again have written records. I study c.9,000 graves to understand how Britons told the histories of themselves and their communities over the transformative long fifth century. I argue that burial practices show us that there were no monolithic or universal ways of relating the past to the present, and that we need to reconsider our ideas of ‘post-Roman,’ ‘Romano-British’, and ‘Anglo-Saxon’ narratives, as “ethnicity” was not a defining concept for them.

Thomas Jefferson’s Complicated Quaker Friends

Sue Kozel (Kean University)

Why did the “dazzle” of Thomas Jefferson’s celebrity as President, Vice President, or primary author of the Declaration of Independence encourage some Quakers who supported the abolition of slaves to put aside their conscience to work with him on projects at Monticello, or within groups like the American Philosophical Society? My lightening round would address the ethical implications of Quaker strategies to work with Thomas Jefferson in select employment, scientific, or philosophical projects, including those initiatives that sometimes crossed into supporting slavery. How were Quaker abolitionist values sacrificed and/or compromised in these relationships with Jefferson?

Extermination, Labor, and Transit Camps for Jews, Vol. VI of Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933-1945

Alexandra Lohse, Ph.D. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

This presentation will highlight important aspects of historical research with both academic and public utility. Specifically, I will describe the mission, content, and logistics of my work as volume editor and content contributor for Volume VI of the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933-1945, published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and Indiana University Press. Compiled through collaboration between USHMM staff historians and international contributors, this volume examines and memorializes approximately 1,800 sites. Labor and transit camps for Jews, in particular, are two categories of camps not widely known or understood as intricate part of the vast network of Nazi camps.

The Basque Seroras: Local Religion, Power, and Gender in Northern Iberia, 1550-1800

Amanda Scott (US Naval Academy), @aamandascottt

This project examines the intersection of local community, women, and religious reform in the early modern Basque Country. Basque women had a third option outside marriage and monasticism: they could become seroras, or devout laywomen. Following religious reform of the sixteenth century, most non-monastic female orders were suppressed – yet the seroras survived. Basque communities were well-informed about the goals of reform, yet saw practical value in maintaining the vocation and they communicated this to diocesan reformers to reach compromise. Placed within a broader European context, these patterns of compromise challenge ideas of top-down reform, favoring models dependent upon the involvement of local communities.

Contesting Human Rights: Congress, Reagan and U.S. Foreign Policy

Rasmus Sinding Soendergaard (Georgetown University)

My book project examines the struggle between members of Congress and the Reagan administration over the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s. Under pressure from members of Congress, the Reagan administration reevaluated its approach to human rights, creating a conservative human rights policy centered on democracy promotion and anti-communism. The book project explores the vital ways in which executive-legislative relations shaped U.S human rights policy towards the end of the Cold War and how the issue of human rights in turn impacted the relationship between the two branches of government.

The Civil War From Within: Desertion in Florida during the American Civil War

Victoria Bryant Stewart, Ph.D. (Northwest Florida State College)

Despite being one of the founding members of the Confederate States of America, Florida was not united around the Confederate cause. Florida became a safe haven for deserters. Conscription, an unpopular war-time policy, required the service of men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five. Enacted in 1862 and amended during the war, conscription was a detested policy. Floridians hid throughout the rugged terrain to evade conscription. General Robert E. Lee acknowledged the full impact of desertion. President Jefferson Davis further expressed his concern with desertion. Florida is a significant case since it reflects the larger issues plaguing the Confederacy.

Reimagining Student Assessment in Secondary School History Departments

Zachary Virgin (Franklin Road Academy), @zacharyvirgin

The AHA’s Tuning Project is intended to span K-16 history departments. In many cases, though, secondary schools are unwilling or unable to engage with the questions, or to champion the “habits of mind” cultivated by the project. This presentation affirms the necessity of reshaping secondary school history curricula, but emphasizes the need to reimagine creatively how secondary school history departments asses student understanding.

Pathways to Freedom

Nilce Wicks (UCLA)

My dissertation examines the diverse ways by which slaves conquered freedom through manumission in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais province, Brazil, during the nineteenth century. Minas Gerais had a large slave and manumitted population, and manumission was a common practice in the region since colonial times. This dissertation investigates the unique conditions behind this practice, as well as the circumstances of its occurrence, and the strategies used by slaves to achieve freedom before general abolition. The life stories of the enslaved individuals are revealed by the primary sources and are recorded in last wills, in processes of freedom, and in the correspondences of provincial and local authorities.

Nourishing Networks: The Public Culture of Food in Nineteenth-Century America

Ashley Rose Young, Ph.D. (Smithsonian National Museum of American History), @ashleyyoung2010

My book project examines how daily practices of food production and distribution shaped the development of New Orleans’ public culture in the long nineteenth century. During this period, New Orleans vendors labored in the streets of diverse neighborhoods where they did more than sell a vital commodity. As “Nourishing Networks” demonstrates, the food economy provided the disenfranchised—people of color, women, and recent migrants—a means to connect themselves to the public culture of the city, despite legal prohibitions intended to keep them on the margins.