Publication Date

December 31, 2014

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, Perspectives Daily

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Jennifer Guiliano is an assistant professor of history at GuilianoIndiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has been a member since 2001.

Twitter Handle: @jenguiliano

Alma maters: 

Masters of Arts, Miami University, 2002; Masters of Arts, University of Illinois, 2005; PhD, University of Illinois, 2010.

Fields of interest: 

19th– and 20th-century US history, digital humanities, critical sports history, and Native American history.

When did you first develop an interest in history?

I started early—as an elementary school-age child my mom used to take me and my siblings out to the local libraries and historical societies to track her family’s history. By 10, I was reading every history book I could get my hands on.

What projects are you working on currently?

Right now, I’m wrapping up my work on Native Americans as sports mascots while working on three major digital projects and a new book project. One digital project explores 19th-century slave petitions for freedom in the DC Circuit courts (with Will Thomas of UNL and Trevor Muñoz of UMD), another digital project uncovers the potential of digital research using records generated as part of the US involvement in the Panama Canal (with Julie Greene and Kate Keane of UMD), and a third project highlights Native treaty delegations to Washington DC (with Joseph Genetin-Pilawa of George Mason). I’m also starting my next book, Getting Started in Digital Humanities (with Simon Appleford of Creighton).

Have your interests changed since graduation?  If so, how? 

My interests have only broadened since graduation. I’m doing more work in the area of legal history, particularly copyright and permissions.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members? 

For historians looking to get started in digital humanities, I’d recommend (a site I built with Simon Appleford) that provides a well-rounded picture of how to conceptualize and develop your first digital history project. For those looking for new technical skills, the Programming Historian ( offers the opportunity to learn new approaches to digital history.

What do you value most about the history profession? 

The history profession, as a community, has most value in its continual re-thinking of its own limits. Those in the profession constantly challenge their own preconceptions and offer a wealth of opportunities for scholars who seek to work at the intersection of many fields, albeit grounded in research and analysis with primary sources.

Why did you join the AHA? 

Interestingly, I joined the AHA as a required course activity during my first master’s degree. We were given the opportunity to join a professional organization and I chose AHA because it seemed to be a welcoming community for a very young historian just getting her start.

Do you have a favorite AHA annual meeting anecdote you would like to share? 

I loved last year’s AHA meeting (in Washington DC) for the quality of the back-channel conversation on twitter. One of the biggest challenges of large conference going is missing panels that you want to see. With the introduction of more historians tweeting, it is like I get to attend multiple panels simultaneously.

Other than history, what are you passionate about?

Unsurprisingly, as a critical sports historian, I’m passionate about sports, particularly US men’s national soccer, college basketball, and women’s pro volleyball. I’m also deeply in love with home renovation, TV, and cooking.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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