Matt Mulhern, PhD Student, publishes a book review, “Afghan Crucible: The Soviet Invasion and the Making of Modern Afghanistan, by Elisabeth Leake.”

Matt Mulhern, PhD Student, published a book review, “Afghan Crucible: The Soviet Invasion and the Making of Modern Afghanistan, by Elisabeth Leake,” Journal of Military History 87, no. 3 (July 2023): 878-79. Congratulations, Matt!

To access the review, see the instructions from The Society for Military History.

Comments Off on Matt Mulhern, PhD Student, publishes a book review, “Afghan Crucible: The Soviet Invasion and the Making of Modern Afghanistan, by Elisabeth Leake.”

Filed under Grad Student News, Publications

Six History Department PhD candidates receive distinguished fellowships!

This spring six History Department PhD candidates received several different distinguished fellowships from Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. These include:

Jordyn May received the Alumni Dissertation Fellowship for the completion of her dissertation entitled ““‘A campaign so splendid could not fail’: Reexamining the Woman Suffrage Movement through Interrelationships between the Eastern and Western Branches”.

W. Tanner Smoot received the Research Fellowship for his dissertation research. Tanner also received the Mary Magdalene Impact Fellowship.

Benjamin Bertrand and Christie Olek both received a Senior Teaching Fellowship.

Frances Eshleman and Douglass Hamilton both received a Summer Research Fellowship.

Congratulations to you all!

For more on these distinguished fellowships see: GSAS Distinguished Fellowships.

Comments Off on Six History Department PhD candidates receive distinguished fellowships!

Filed under Uncategorized

Dr. Haberman receives two summer research fellowships

Dr Robb Haberman, Lecturer in the History Department, has been awarded two research fellowships for the summer: The New York State Society of the Cincinnati Fellowship at the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati in Washington, D.C, and the American Revolution Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum in Philadelphia. 

In addition, Dr Haberman will be presenting “The Revolutionary War Memorialist as Editor: the Memoir of James Selkirk” at the annual meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing which will be held in June in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations Dr. Haberman!

Comments Off on Dr. Haberman receives two summer research fellowships

Filed under Uncategorized

From the Archives: Will Hogue, PhD Candidate, visits the Library of Congress and the Catholic University of America Archives in Washington, DC.

Will Hogue – History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2018-2019) working with Dr. Chris Dietrich – is currently working on his dissertation, the working title of which is: “From Neo-Christendom to Neoliberalism: The Thirty Years War Over Cold War Christianity.” In this week’s From the Archives, Will shares some of his experiences while researching at the Library of Congress and the Catholic University of America Archives in Washington, DC.

What is your current research on?

My current research is on how religion shaped politics in the mid-20th century, and how religious thinkers and politicians grappled with the Cold War. In particular, my focus is on the shift from developmentalist and Center-Left Christian Democratic global politics in the ‘development decade,’ to an increasingly polarized Christian politics by the mid 1970s. Just many prominent global Christian institutions begin to reconcile with decolonization and accept, for example, the model of the Cuban Revolution, a burgeoning neoconservative religious movement resurrects hard-line anticommunism and makes strange bedfellows with neoliberals and right-wing reactionaries.

What archive(s) did you visit and can you describe the archive a little?

In a trip to Washington DC last semester, I went to the Library of Congress and to the Catholic University of America Archives. This was a great example of how different archives can be. Of course, the Library of Congress (LOC) has distinct rules and regulations governing how to maneuver the archives, and it is a massive facility (I got lost more than once). You are required to have a LOC Reader Card which will be made for you on-site. Also, be sure to book an appointment in advance – as you can imagine there is a great demand to get access to the LOC archives. 

Catholic University of America, however, had their archives in a tiny room way in the back of campus. I found myself crowded around one library table with a couple other scholars and our piles of (very large!) file boxes. While LOC (and most Presidential Library) file boxes are relatively small, these were large copy paper boxes – so I had plenty of material to cover. Still, the staff was very friendly, and the USCCB papers were very helpful in shaping my research.

What was the purpose of your trip? What type of documents did you plan to look at? What makes those documents important for your research?

The purpose was for dissertation research. I was looking at the papers of Reinhold Niebhur, Richard John Neuhaus, and the Catholic Bishops Conference. The Catholic Bishops had a Peace Corps Desk and were highly involved in recruiting new members. Most interesting here were a series of letters between Fr. Ivan Illich, who ran a training program for missionaries/peace corps people, and the Bishops. Illich became one of the foremost critics of the Alliance for Progress, the Peace Corps, and American development plans in Latin America, so it was exciting to see his (sometimes incendiary) letters.

What was a challenge you encountered during your research? How did you overcome it?

I found what would probably be a very revelatory series of letters between Pope John Paul II and Zbigniew Brzeziński, but unfortunately, these are restricted by family request – so I cannot access them via FOIA. That’s part of the job I suppose – I just have to find as many meetings and letters between the two from other places as I can. 

Was there anything surprising you found in your research?

I found a lot more letters from Donald Rumsfeld than I was expecting – defense industry people apparently really care about religion it seems.

Did you receive any funding to support your research?

Yes! The O’Connell Initiative Travel Grant provided me with funding so that I could book my hotel, train, and metro pass.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing historical research?

Look for published primary sources! Especially if you are working with policymakers, political leaders, social reformers, etc. chances are they wrote copiously and you’ll have tons of material in these books/articles to corroborate with archival materials.

Some images from the National Museum of the American Indian which Will visited after working at the Library of Congress. Will notes that they have an excellent and detailed exhibit on the fight for indigenous sovereignty. Will definitely recommends it if you’re in DC!

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

Comments Off on From the Archives: Will Hogue, PhD Candidate, visits the Library of Congress and the Catholic University of America Archives in Washington, DC.

Filed under From the Archives, Research, Uncategorized

W. Tanner Smoot, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “History in liturgy: negotiating merit in Ely’s virgin mothers” in The Journal of Medieval History

W. Tanner Smoot, PhD Candidate, published his article entitled “History in liturgy: negotiating merit in Ely’s virgin mothers” in the Journal of Medieval History. Congratulations Tanner!

Below is the Abstract:

As the custodians of a particularly diverse cult of saints, the monks of Ely faced a commemorative dilemma in the in late eleventh century. The abbey’s cult centered around the virgin queen St Æthelthryth, whose incorruptible body exemplified the integrity of the monastic community. Ely’s reverence for Æthelthryth extended to her female kindred, as the monks also venerated her sisters Wihtburh and Seaxburh, alongside her niece Eormenhild. Unlike Æthelthryth, Seaxburh and Eormenhild had historical traditions of motherhood and bodily corruptibility, impelling the monks to balance their saints’ conflicting virtues in commemorative literature. This article explores the shifting merits of the Ely mothers as represented in eleventh-century liturgy and hagiography. The study begins by examining the mothers’ pre-Conquest liturgical commemoration, with a focus on their appearance in litanies and proper mass sets. It then analyses the Ely hagiography of Goscelin of Saint-Bertin, arguing that he worked to reconcile the kindreds’ virtues.

Comments Off on W. Tanner Smoot, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “History in liturgy: negotiating merit in Ely’s virgin mothers” in The Journal of Medieval History

Filed under Uncategorized

Douglass Hamilton, PhD Candidate, wins People’s Choice Award and Second Place overall at Fordham’s Annual 3 Minute Thesis Competition

The History Department had two PhD candidates participate in Fordham’s 2023 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Open to all students enrolled in a GSAS master’s or doctoral program, the Three Minute Thesis, is a research communication competition developed in 2008 by The University of Queensland in Australia. Students have 3 minutes to present their research orally with the help of a single slide.

Douglass Hamilton, PhD Candidate in the History Department, presented his work entitled “The Knight God Forgave: Longinus and the Negotiation of Knightly Piety c. 1000- c. 1300”. Patrick DeBrosse, another PhD Candidate in the History Department, also participated with his work entitled “The Empire Strikes a Chord”.

Doug was awarded 2nd Place overall in the competition by this year’s judges. Doug also won the “People’s Choice Award”, an award voted on by the in-person and virtual audience. Congratulations Doug!

Comments Off on Douglass Hamilton, PhD Candidate, wins People’s Choice Award and Second Place overall at Fordham’s Annual 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Filed under Uncategorized

From the Archives: Emily Horihan, PhD Candidate, visits the Archives & Special Collections at the College of Staten Island

Emily Horihan – History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2019-20) working with Dr. Daniel Soyer – is currently working on her dissertation, the working title of which is: “Suburb in the City: Negotiating Change in Staten Island after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.” In this week’s From the Archives, Emily shares some of her experiences while researching at the Archives & Special Collections at the College of Staten Island.

What is your current research on?

My dissertation research looks at how Staten Island residents responded to rising development –  in the form of housing, highways, commercial spaces, and industrial facilities – in the borough following the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964. I’ve been looking at collections organized by local officials and citizen groups during this period.

What archive(s) did you visit and can you describe the archive a little?

Most of my archival research has been done at Archives & Special Collections at the College of Staten Island (CSI). The archive is housed within CSI’s library in Staten Island. The archivist and a college assistant helped me to schedule research appointments,; made sure I was cleared to visit campus (which requires proof of vaccination and a recent negative COVID-19 test); and prepared materials requested for each of my research trips. The archive has limited hours – it’s open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Thursdays from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. 

What was an average day in the archives like?

Since I work full-time, I always plan to take vacation time and spend a full day at the archive (which is only possible on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). I email archives@csi.cuny.edu to request an appointment in advance – noting how long I plan to spend in the archive and which materials I plan to look at for the day. I also make sure that I am still cleared to enter campus before each appointment.

I take public transportation to the CSI campus from Brooklyn (along with a bunch of students that commute there from around the city). The bus drops passengers off at the front entrance and the library is a leisurely 15-minute walk to the back of the campus. Once at the archive, I check in with the staff, who set me up with a cart of research materials and a workspace. On most days, I’m the only researcher at the archive.

The research room is pretty cold, so I always bring a sweatshirt to keep warm. To maximize research time, I usually pack a quick lunch to eat outside while the archivist and archive assistant take their lunch break. Unless you want to grab lunch at an on-campus eatery, most places are a short drive away. I connect to the guest wifi and spend much of the day taking photos and to upload and catalog for each collection (taking limited notes as needed along the way). I usually wrap up around 4:30 pm to give the archive assistant enough time to put away any materials taken out for the day.

Was there anything surprising you found in your research?

The Staten Island Advance, a local newspaper that is important to my research, is only available on microfilm. In my archival research, I was surprised to find how many collections contained newspaper clippings from the Staten Island Advance, which helped me to save time sorting through microfilm. If you do need to use microfilm, you can also request it from Fordham’s Interlibrary Loan Office to use during business hours in Walsh Library.

What advice would you give for anyone interested in visiting the archive you went to?

As with any archival trip, come prepared! Schedule an appointment in advance. Set goals. Bring what you need. And have a system for organizing your photos and/or notes.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing historical research?

Start your research online. Many collections are digitized and you should do as much research online as possible before heading to the archives. 

How can people follow your research?

Emily recently published a blog post in SAPIENTIA: Reflection and Revival: Sandy Ground, One of New York’s Oldest Free Black Settlements.

Pen dispensers at the College of Staten Island Library.
Pen dispensers at the College of Staten Island Library. 

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

Comments Off on From the Archives: Emily Horihan, PhD Candidate, visits the Archives & Special Collections at the College of Staten Island

Filed under From the Archives, Grad Student News, Graduate Student, Research

Patrick C. DeBrosse, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “A Song of the Siege of Acre (1189–1191): Depictions of Conrad of Montferrat and the Carmen de Accone oppugnatione” in Nottingham Medieval Studies

Patrick C. Debrosse, PhD Candidate, published his article entitled “A Song of the Siege of Acre (1189–1191): Depictions of Conrad of Montferrat and the Carmen de Accone oppugnatione” in the Nottingham Medieval Studies. Congratulations Patrick!

Below is the Abstract:

In the midst of the Third Crusade (1187–1192), an anonymous author composed a poetic account of the Siege of Acre. This Latin poem, the Carmen de Accone oppugnatione, has been largely overlooked in modern scholarship, but it offers a crucial perspective of the first three years of the crusade. An examination of the Carmen’s origins and perspectives reveals both the speed with which crusade authors attempted to explain the actions of prominent figures within coherent, elevated narratives, as well as the power which such narratives have had in shaping modern perceptions of crusaders such as Conrad of Montferrat.

Cover of Nottingham Medieval Studies journla

Comments Off on Patrick C. DeBrosse, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “A Song of the Siege of Acre (1189–1191): Depictions of Conrad of Montferrat and the Carmen de Accone oppugnatione” in Nottingham Medieval Studies

Filed under Uncategorized

From the Archives: Jordyn May, PhD Candidate, visits the Huntington Library

Jordyn May – History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2017-18) working with Dr. Kirsten Swinth – is currently completing his dissertation, entitled: “‘A campaign so splendid could not fail’: Reexamining the Woman Suffrage Movement through Interrelationships between the Eastern and Western Branches.” In this week’s From the Archives, Jordyn hares some of her experiences while researching at the Huntington Library in California.

What is your current research on?

My research for the dissertation currently examines the California and New York woman suffrage state campaigns from 1890 to 1920, specifically looking at how suffragists from the East and West influenced each other’s strategies, methods, and tactics. My research also delves into how tensions developed between Eastern and Western suffragists and how that influenced the national movement.

What archive did you visit and can you describe the archive a little?

I visited the Huntington Library in San Marino, California in July 2022. The Huntington is gorgeous as it is also a famous botanical garden. The library and reading room was situated close to the entrance of the garden, but after the end of the day, I was able to wander the whole area. The sunshine and fresh air was definitely nice after being in a freezing archive all day! The reading room was very nice and all of the archivists were incredibly helpful. I spoke to a curator who knew the collections inside and out and who was able to give me great advice on what collections to look at. 

What was the purpose of your trip? What type of documents did you plan to look at? What makes those documents unique for your research?

The purpose of my trip was to find crucial primary source information about how the state campaigns operated in Southern California as I had done a previous research trip to Northern California. I looked at a lot of correspondence between suffragists, organizational records, speeches and essays written by suffragists, suffrage newspapers, biographies of a couple suffragists, and histories of other organizations in California that helped with the campaigns. Reading the correspondence between various suffragists has been the most enlightening. These women were very sassy and did not hold back when discussing their views of other women and the tactics of the movement. These letters give me the best, unfiltered, view of the tensions between Eastern and Western suffragists.

What was a challenge you encountered during your research? How did you overcome it?

No one tells you how exhausting it actually is to sit in a reading room and look through documents all day. I had a month long fellowship at the Huntington which meant I was in the reading room Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm with a short break for lunch and I often went Saturday mornings as well. Research can be very exciting when you are finding documents that you need or find something you didn’t know existed, but the rest of the time is sorting through boxes and folders and can be incredibly mentally taxing, especially when you are trying to decipher handwritten documents! When I got too tired and mentally strained, I tried to change tasks or take more breaks to rest a little. 

The organization of the collections was also not standardized, so there were some collections that had no finding aids. I would have to request every box in the collection just to see if it was even worth looking at. It was frustrating, but I also found interesting material that I might not have requested in the first place.

Did you receive any funding to support your research?

I applied for and received a short-term fellowship from the Huntington to support my research. The application was due in November and was fairly simple. The application consisted of a 1,500 word project description, current CV, and two letters of recommendation. I received the award letter in March and spent my month in California in July. The grant was for $3,500 which helped cover travel and living expenses for the month, but the award money is paid out after you have already been there for a few weeks. Affordable housing was a little difficult to find within walking distance of the Huntington which was my only qualm with the award amount.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing historical research?

It may sound weird, but do your research before you do your research. You want to be fully prepared before you go into the archive. That means looking at all the finding aids for each collection you want to view and marking exactly which boxes and folders you need to see. One of the collections I investigated at the Huntington was over 100 boxes. I couldn’t feasibly look at all of them so I made a spreadsheet detailing what I absolutely had to look at to help narrow it down. You also need to prioritize your research. Make sure you are viewing the documents you know you need and then looking at documents that might be just interesting afterwards. Time goes by quickly in the reading room and you want to make sure your time is well spent, especially if you are only there for a few days.

The Yellow Ribbon was a short-lived suffrage newspaper specifically for the West Coast. The Huntington had all of the issues, and I think they are one of the only archives to have a complete collection.

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

Comments Off on From the Archives: Jordyn May, PhD Candidate, visits the Huntington Library

Filed under From the Archives, Graduate Student, Research

Garret J. McDonald, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “Journeys through the Past and to the Future: V. A. Obruchev and Popular Enlightenment in the Natural Sciences, 1886–1956” in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Garret J. McDonald, PhD Candidate, published his article entitled “Journeys through the Past and to the Future: V. A. Obruchev and Popular Enlightenment in the Natural Sciences, 1886–1956” in The Society and Post-Soviet Review. Congratulations Garret!

Below is the Abstract:

This essay examines the life and career of famed Russian geologist, geographer, and academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences V. A. Obruchev. By emphasizing Obruchev’s commitment to popular enlightenment within and beyond his scientific disciplines, a clearer portrait of Obruchev’s lasting influence in Soviet science and literature emerges. Over the course of his career, Obruchev devised an original model of public science, one that renegotiated the traditional boundaries between science fiction, popular science, and academic discourse. As a result, Obruchev’s scientific research granted form and function to his popular fiction and his fiction, in turn, provided a space to explore the possibilities of scientific hypotheses and promote the active research of the scientific phenomena Obruchev considered significant. By the time of Obruchev’s death in 1956, other natural scientists, especially geoscientists, and science fiction authors had coopted Obruchev’s approach to popular enlightenment, cementing his legacy.

Cover of The Society and Post-Soviet Review

Comments Off on Garret J. McDonald, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “Journeys through the Past and to the Future: V. A. Obruchev and Popular Enlightenment in the Natural Sciences, 1886–1956” in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Filed under Grad Student News, Graduate Student, Publications, Uncategorized