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. People interested in participating should contact


Session Information

AHA Session 169

Date: Saturday, January 5, 2019
Time: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Location: Williford B (Hilton Chicago, Third Floor)
Chair: James H. Sweet, University of Wisconsin–Madison




Garden of Roses: American Nisei in Transwar Japan

A. Carly Buxton, PhD, @professorbuxton

My research rethinks “collaboration” through the history of Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) who weathered the years of World War II on Japanese soil. Thousands of American Nisei living in Japan participated alongside their Japanese neighbors on the battlefield and on the home front during the years of total war (1941-45), ever the target of anti-American propaganda and suspicion. When the dust of air raid bombings cleared, many of these same Nisei transitioned into roles in service of the Allied Occupation as censors, translators, interpreters, and administrative staff. Garden of Roses explores the flexibility of loyalty through their stories.

Saints, Witches, Hysterics: a Cultural History of Women’s Chronic Illness

Catherine Medici-Thiemann, PhD (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), @CMediciT

In the 12th century Hildegard of Bingen’s visions, what we now understand as migraines, granted her power and influence. In the 20th century women’s chronic health concerns saw them labeled hysterics. My work examines how culture shapes the ways women’s chronic illness is understood and experienced during the medieval, early modern, and modern period. This comparative approach highlights change and stability to show the cultural basis of illness and treatment and how social constructs of gender are central to women’s experiences of chronic illness. This project asks how the history of women’s chronic illness impacts the present.

The Spirit of the Game: American Protestants, Big-Time Sports, and the Contest for National Identity

Paul Putz (Messiah College), @p_emory

My project examines how and why evangelical Protestants in the United States infiltrated the world of big-time sports over the course of the twentieth century, and the cultural and political meanings they invested in athletics. While many evangelical Protestants were suspicious of commercialized sports in the 1920s when sport first became a national cultural phenomenon, by the 1970s they had built up an organizational infrastructure embedded within the sports industry. This infrastructure has given evangelicals access to millions of sports fans and participants, turning sports into a cultural site through which evangelicals can promote and transmit their values and vision for America to the next generation.

Royal African Company Networks

Anne Ruderman (London School of Economics), @AnneRuderman

The Royal African Company Networks project combines computational text analysis with GIS to thematically map over 3000 letters that the Royal African Company sent from one location to another on the African coast in the final two decades of its monopoly. We utilize word frequency analysis, word2vec, and co-occurrence and market-basket analysis to better understand how a seventeenth-century monopoly tried to defend itself against competitors, how it managed trade on the coast and how it interacted with African merchants, states and societies.