Publication Date

April 27, 2012

Perspectives Section


Four history graduate students, including two AHA members, are among the 21 PhD candidates who have been awarded the 2012 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship supports outstanding work being done by “Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values.” The fellows will receive $25,000 to support a year of writing.

Joshua GedachtJoshua Gedacht has traveled to the Philippines, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and Washington, D.C. to research his dissertation, “Islamic‐Imperial Encounters: Colonial Warfare, Coercive Cosmopolitanism, and Religious Reform in Southeast Asia—1801‐1941.” His project examines “the relationship between colonial violence and religious values in Southeast Asia” through conflicts in the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. He is a doctoral candidate in modern world history at the University of Wisconsin.

Theresa Keeley, a graduate of Colgate University, a PhD candidate in American history at Northwestern University, and a member of the AHA, will receive support for her Theresa Keeleywork on U.S.-Central American relations in the 1980s, specifically on how conservative American Catholics were instrumental in driving U.S. foreign policy and how the Reagan administration adopted the language of the Catholic conservatives. For her dissertation, “Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns: Catholicism and U.S.-Central American Relations,” Keeley has done archival research in San Salvador, Chicago, Indiana, Alabama, Connecticut, and California, among many other places, and argues from these sources that a Catholic “intra-religious conflict influenced how the administration interpreted events in Central America and marketed its policy….”

Anelise H. ShroutAnelise H. Shrout, also an AHA member and a PhD candidate at New York University, is examining “early transnational humanitarianism” through the Irish famine of the mid-19th century with her dissertation, “Distressing News from Ireland: The Famine, the News and International Philanthropy.” Her research in Ireland, the UK National Archives, and New York has led her to conclude that “Widespread participation in Irish famine relief crystallized the idea that observers ‐ no matter how far away ‐ were obligated to mitigate remote suffering.”

Ronit Stahl, who received a fellowship for “God, War, and Politics: The American Military Chaplaincy Ronit Stahland the Making of Modern American Religion,” is exploring “the role of the state in the public expression and negotiation of religion in the United States.” Among other research questions, she is investigating “How did particular religious groups interact and engage with one another as well as agitate and advocate for themselves as American religions? In what ways did religion serve the state, and in what ways did religion remain an independent force capable of critique?” She is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The AHA extends congratulations to these students, and best wishes for their dissertation writing and defense.

Images courtesy of fellowship recipients, and provided by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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