2022-23 CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS
Chabraja CCHS Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships
Gil Engelstein is a historian of sexuality and political economy in modern Europe and a 2022-2023 CCHS Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow. He received his PhD in History from Northwestern University in 2022. His first book project, “Queer Europe: Gay Liberation Between Market and Movement,” documents the understudied path of “Rainbow Capitalism” in 1970s Britain and West Germany, and points to LGBTQ commerce as a major force in the articulation of queer culture and politics in postwar Europe. His work has appeared in Contemporary British History, the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, among others. This spring, he will teach a survey course on "The History of Protest."
Robin Pokorski is a historian of late medieval Europe and a 2022–23 Chabraja CCHS Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow. During her year with CCHS, she will be teaching two courses: a “lecture-ish” course (with plenty of room for student discussion and participation) in Winter on the "High and Late Middle Ages, c. 1000-1500," and a writing seminar in the Spring on "Medieval Women." Her own research examines the intersections of gender, religion, and urban life in fifteenth-century Germany, looking at how Dominican nuns leveraged their communities and networks in support of or opposition to monastic reform. One of her many goals for this year is to think about how to purposefully integrate her research and teaching agendas, and particularly to continue figuring out how to engage students with the distant, foreign past through engaging classroom activities and interesting assignments.
Chabraja History Department Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship
Marcos Leitão De Almeida received his Ph.D. in African History from Northwestern University in 2020. His book project, “Breaking the Silence: The Deep History of Slavery in Central Africa,” provides a detailed study of the construction and reconfiguration of slavery practices over three thousand years in the Lower Congo, a specific region of Central Africa. It is based on his Ph.D. dissertation, which won the Harold Perkin Prize for the best dissertation in the History department in 2021.
Almeida’s work uses linguistic methods in conjunction with archaeology and documentary sources to trace the distinct historical moments in which Lower Congo peoples innovated concepts of “slaves” and “pawns,” as well as the objects of restraint and techniques of plundering and seizing outsiders. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and the Society of Presidential Fellows at Northwestern University, among others. His work has appeared in the Journal of African History, Azania, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History.
During his year with CCHS, Almeida will be teaching two courses. In the Fall, Almeida will offer a seminar called "Black Atlantic: Slavery and Diaspora in the Modern World" that discusses the entanglements between racism and slavery in the making of the modern world and how Africans interacted with and reacted against Atlantic slavery. In the Spring, Almeida will teach a course called "The Global History of Slavery," exploring how different historical actors from the earliest times to the 21st century (such as kings, dictators, merchants, and even peasants) have invented so many forms of enslavement throughout history and why such practices still exist today.
Chabraja History Department Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Andrea Rosengarten is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department and the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies. She completed her PhD in History at Northwestern in 2022 as a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow. Her dissertation focused on the Orange/!Garib River border region of Namibia and South Africa as a rich case study for tracing the entanglement of African and Atlantic world ideas about land access, private land ownership, and wealth in the long 19th century. As a CCHS affiliate she will engage comparatively with work on land management transformation under capitalism across world regions while paying particular attention to dryland areas.In 2020-21 Andrea was the Chabraja Center’s Teaching Initiative Fellow and worked with Prof. Paul Gillingham to develop and teach a new undergraduate global history course called "The End of Citizenship," which explored citizenship as a category of exclusion across place and time.
Chabraja Postdoctoral Fellowships in Public Service
- Ruby DAILY at online magazine Public Books
- Guangshuo YANG at the Chicago Leather Archives and Museum
Dr. Guangshuo Yang (he/him) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern University. In his dissertation, Between the Animal Kingdom and Human States, he probes how ideas about nonhuman animals undergirded identity-making and state evolution by analyzing a Buddhist-led animal protection movement active in early 20th century East Asia. He has also written on post-Mao knowledge production, pest control, slaughter reform, and Chinese sci-fi movies. A previous Newcombe Fellow and Freeman Asian Scholar, Dr. Yang has received grants from the SSRC, the ACLS, the Henry Luce Foundation, and other funding agencies. As the Chabraja Fellow in Public Service, Dr Yang is curating a public history project showcasing how gender and sexual minorities have utilized animal tropes in self-fashioning and community building.
2021-22 CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS
Chabraja CCHS Teaching Postdoctoral Fellowships (History 200 seminars)
- Bennett JONES—seminars on "#History: How to Tell the Story of Vast Early America" —Fall and "Period Pieces: US History as Told by Popular Culture"—Winter
- Vanda RAJCAN—seminars on "Propaganda: The Power of Lies"—Fall and "Historians in Trouble"—Spring
Chabraja History Teaching Postdoctoral Fellowship (History 200 seminar
- Aram SARKISIAN—seminar on "One Nation Under God? Talking About American Exceptionalism"—Fall; co-teaching “History of the Present” with Lauren Stokes—Winter
Chabraja Postdoctoral Fellowships in Public Service
- Michelle BEZARK (Start Early)
- Gideon COHN-POSTAR (U.S. Congress)
- Ruby DAILY (Public Books online publication)
Chabraja Newberry Library Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Gabrielle GUILLERM (Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography)
2020-21 CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS
- William FITZSIMONS—2020 dissertation on “Power without a Center: Age, Mobility, and Political Institutions in the Grasslands of East Africa, c. 500 BCE-1800 CE”
Will is a historian of Africa. His research utilizes a broad range of sources—primarily historical linguistics, but also oral traditions, archival documents, paleoclimatic data, archaeology—to reconstruct the historical development of decentralized political institutions in eastern Africa over the past two millennia. His current project examines how the linguistic ancestors of Ateker-speaking populations living in today’s Uganda-Kenya-Ethiopia-South Sudan borderlands responded to historical climate change by innovating geographically-dispersed decentralized governance structures, migrating into new regions, and incorporating immigrant communities. William is looking forward to teaching a seminar on “War and Peace in African History” in the spring of 2021.
With a BA in history and philosophy from Union College, an MA in history from Tufts University and a PhD in history from Northwestern University, Will has received numerous grants for his research in East Africa, including the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship. Last year he was a Quinn Fellow at the CCHS, so his involvement with the Center is of long standing.
- Laura McCOY—2020 dissertation: “In Distress: Family and a Marketplace of Feeling in the Early American Republic”
Laura is a historian of gender, family, emotions, and capitalism in early America. She was previously a T.H. Breen Graduate Fellow at the Center, and is excited to return as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year. Her first book project, A Marketplace of Feeling in the Early American Republic, documents the centrality of emotion (as well as racial and gendered power) to the expanding American economy in the first half of the nineteenth century. Laura was a T.H. Breen Fellow last year at the Center. This Fall she’s teaching a class on “All in a Day’s Work: Gender and Work in Early America” for the History Department.
2019-20 CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS
- Jessica BIDDLESTONE—2019 dissertation on “France in Roman Africa: Antiquity and the Making of French Algeria and Tunisia”
Jessica Biddlestone is a historian of modern France. She was a T.H. Breen Graduate Fellow at the Center last year, and has returned as a Chabraja Postdoctoral Fellow after completing her dissertation. Her book project, Empire of Ruins: France in Roman Africa, 1830-1900, examines how the Roman precedent informed French imperialism in Algeria and Tunisia in the nineteenth century. It argues that study and use of Roman ruins not only played an important role in the development of French imperial practice, but also shaped the creation of knowledge about Roman Africa. This spring, she’ll be teaching a first-year seminar focusing on Modern French history.
- Ryan BURNS—2019 dissertation on “Potential Protestants: Catholics, Conformity and Conversion in Early Modern Scotland, 1560-1780”
Ryan Burns is a historian of early modern Britain and Europe with a particular interest in religious conflict and empire. His book project, The Demand for Tears: Catholics, Conformity and Conversion in Early Modern Scotland examines the infliction of public shame in Protestant Scotland as a means to achieve total religious uniformity. In the winter quarter he will teach a survey course on the history of the Caribbean.
CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW in PUBLIC SERVICE
- Teng LI—2019 dissertation on “Chinese Judiciary at the Crossroads: Property Laws, Policies, and Courts in Taiwan and Manchuria, 1945–1953”—working at the American Bar Foundation: http://www.americanbarfoundation.org (Mapping Chinese Courts, 1996-Present)
Teng is a historian of early modern and modern East Asia and a lawyer educated by Chinese and American law schools. Her research interests include postcolonial state-building, rule of law, and property law. Looking at the flow of lands in Taiwan and Manchuria after the end of Japanese colonial rule, her work finds that what set the trajectories of courts apart was whether the new governments tolerated professional elements in the administration of justice. Her postdoctoral fellowship is at American Bar Foundation, where she works with Professor Terence Halliday and produces digital maps to show the growth of local courts in China through the twentieth century. This project will pave the way for further historical, legal, and sociological studies on the relations between legal institutions and the development of the rule of law.
2018-19 CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS
- Alex HOBSON (2017-18: School of the Art Institute of Chicago)—2017 dissertation: “Chains of Vengeance: The United States and Anti-Imperialism in the Middle East, 1967-2001”
- CCHS Spotlight on Alex Hobson
Alex Hobson is a scholar of the United States and the Middle East who specializes in violence, culture, and politics. His book project, entitled "Chains of Vengeance: the United States, the Middle East, and the Making of the Long War on Terrorism, 1967-2001," asks how the unending war between the United States and its Middle Eastern antagonists started and why it persisted. It contends that the answer had as much to do with performance and the construction of emotions as it did with international relations. It uses multi-lingual and multi-archival research in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Great Britain, and the United States to illustrate how all sides took part in this production of transnational violence. As a Chabraja Center Postdoctoral Fellow, Alex will teach the Global History of Terrorism course for Northwestern’s history department in Spring 2019.
- Alexandra THOMAS (NU)—2018 dissertation: “Reason of State and the Politics of Botero, Campanella, and Sarpi in the Waning of the Renaissance”
- CCHS Spotlight on Alex Thomas
This year Alexandra is working on revising her book manuscript, tentatively entitled “A Just Argument for War: Fear and Political Thought in Italy during the Catholic Reformation.” She is also writing an article on Machiavelli and Giovanni Botero. In the spring, Alexandra will teach a first-year seminar on Muslim-Christian relations during the medieval and early modern periods—this course will explore the interactions of Muslims and Christians around the Mediterranean ranging from the time of the Crusades to the Ottoman Empire.
New CHABRAJA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW in PUBLIC SERVICE
- Beth HEALEY (NU)—2017 dissertation: “Nazi Crimes, British Justice: The Royal Warrant War Crimes Trials in British-Occupied Germany, 1945-1949.”
Beth is a historian of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Her research has been supported by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Memorial Museum, the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, and the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Her postdoctoral fellowship is at Unsilence: http://www.unsilence.org/, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that develops educational resources and curricula about human rights and histories of oppression. Here Beth is working to expand and deepen Unsilence's Holocaust-education content and programming, while also developing a new interactive educational feature.
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