Current Research

Medicine and the Saints

Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956

Medicine and the Saints by Ellen Amster investigates the colonial encounter between France and Morocco in the late nineteenth century took place not only in the political realm but also in the realm of medicine. Because the body politic and the physical body are intimately linked, French efforts to colonize Morocco took place in and through the body. Starting from this original premise, Medicine and the Saints traces a history of colonial embodiment in Morocco through a series of medical encounters between the Islamic sultanate of Morocco and the Republic of France from 1877 to 1956. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in both French and Arabic, Ellen Amster investigates the positivist ambitions of French colonial doctors, sociologists, philologists, and historians; the social history of the encounters and transformations occasioned by French medical interventions; and the ways in which Moroccan nationalists ultimately appropriated a French model of modernity to invent the independent nation-state. University of Texas Press.

The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial MixingThe United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing

The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing by Greg Carter reconsiders an understudied optimist tradition in the history of racial amalgamation throughout U.S., one which has praised mixture as a means to create a new people, bring equality to all, and fulfill an American destiny. In this genealogy, Greg Carter re-envisions racial mixture as a vehicle for pride and a way for citizens to examine mixed America as a better America. Tracing the centuries-long conversation that began with Hector St. John de Crevecoeur’s Letters of an American Farmer in the 1780s through to the Mulitracial Movement of the 1990s and the debates surrounding racial categories on the U.S. Census in the twenty-first century, Greg Carter explores a broad range of documents and moments, unearthing a new narrative that locates hope in racial mixture. Carter traces the reception of the concept as it has evolved over the years, from and decade to decade and century to century, wherein even minor changes in individual attitudes have paved the way for major changes in public response. The United States of the United Races sweeps away an ugly element of U.S. history, replacing it with a new understanding of race in America. 2013. NYU Press.

Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250

Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250, edited by Martha Carlin and David Crouch, reveals everyday life in early thirteenth-century England in vivid detail through the correspondence of people from all classes, from peasants and shopkeepers to bishops and earls. The documents edited here include letters between masters and servants, husbands and wives, neighbors and enemies, and cover a wide range of topics: politics and war, going to fairs and going to law, attending tournaments and stocking a game park, borrowing cash and doing favors for friends, investigating adultery and building a windmill. While letters by celebrated people have long been known, the correspondence of ordinary people has not survived and has generally been assumed never to have existed in the first place. Martha Carlin and David Crouch, however, have discovered numerous examples of such correspondence hiding in plain sight. The letters can be found in manuscripts called formularies—the collections of form letters and other model documents that for centuries were used to teach the arts of letter-writing and keeping accounts. The editors present letters from two such manuscripts, here in their first printed edition, both in the original Latin and in English translation, with each document contextualized in an accompanying essay. 2013. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789

Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 by Merry Wiesner-Hanks is the second edition of this best-selling textbook that covers European history from the invention of the printing press to the French Revolution, updated to include expanded coverage of the late eighteenth century and the Enlightenment, and to incorporate recent advances in gender history, global connections and cultural analysis. The text takes in Europe in its entirety, eastward to the Ottoman Empire, northward to Sweden, and southward to Portugal, and includes European colonies overseas. It integrates religious, gender, class, regional and ethnic differences as well as the economic, political, religious and cultural history of the period. The book sets developments in Europe in a global context, and features summaries, timelines, maps, illustrations, and discussion questions, along with interactive online resources. 2013. Cambridge University Press.

Becoming Austrians CoverBecoming Austrians: Jews and Culture between the World Wars

Becoming Austrians: Jews and Culture between the World Wars by Lisa Silverman examines the situation of Jews in Austria after the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, which left all Austrians in a state of political, social, and economic turmoil. Jews in particular found their lives shaken to the core, but the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy also created plenty of room for innovation and change in the realm of culture. Jews eagerly took up the challenge to fill this void, and they became heavily invested in culture as a way to shape their new, but also vexed, self-understandings. Lisa Silverman demonstrates that an intensified marking of people, places, and events as "Jewish" accompanied the crises occurring in the wake of Austria-Hungary's collapse, with profound effects on Austria's cultural legacy. In some cases, the consequences of this marking resulted in grave injustices, but engagements with the terms of Jewish difference also characterized the creation of culture, including novels, films, and theater. By examining the lives, works, and deeds of a broad range of Austrians, she reveals how the social codings of politics, gender, and nation received a powerful boost when articulated along the lines of Jewish difference. 2012. Oxford University Press.

Life of Herbert Hoover CoverThe Life of Herbert Hoover, Fighting Quaker: 1928-1933

The Life of Herbert Hoover, Fighting Quaker: 1928-1933 by Glen Jeansonne is the first definitive study of the presidency of one of America's most maligned and poorly understood Chief Executives. Born in a Quaker hamlet in Iowa and orphaned at nine, Herbert Hoover had already risen to wealth and global fame as an international mining engineer, the savior of Belgium during the Great War, Woodrow Wilson's Food Administrator, and perhaps the greatest Secretary of Commerce in American history by the time he assumed the presidency. While in the cabinet he had helped to engineer the prosperity of the 1920s and vainly warned of an economy overheated by speculation, but the ensuing Wall Street Crash of 1929 would come to overwhelmingly define his legacy. Combining public and private resources, he made history as the first president to pit government action against the economic cycle, creating a precedent that would be employed by his successor and all other future presidents. His economic measures mitigated the effects of the Great Depression, yet they failed to end it and he lost the 1932 campaign to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Glen Jeansonne's study allows a greater understanding of our thirty-first president. 2012. Palgrave Macmillan.

ChuThe German Minority in Interwar Poland

The German Minority in Interwar Poland by Winson Chu analyzes what happened when Germans from three different empires - the Russian, Habsburg, and German - were forced to live together in one, new state. After the First World War, German national activists made regional distinctions among these Germans and German-speakers in Poland, with preference initially for those who had once lived in the German Empire. Rather than becoming more cohesive over time, Poland's ethnic Germans remained divided and did not unite within a single representative organization. Polish repressive policies and unequal subsidies from the German state exacerbated these differences, while National Socialism created new hierarchies and unleashed bitter intra-ethnic conflict among German minority leaders. Winson Chu challenges prevailing interpretations that German nationalism in the twentieth century viewed "Germans" as a homogeneous, single group of people. His revealing study shows that nationalist agitation could divide as well as unite an embattled ethnicity. 2012. Cambridge University Press.


SeligmanIs Graduate School Really for You?: The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D.

Is Graduate School Really for You?: The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. by Amanda Seligman helps potential students navigate graduate study—not just how to get in but how to succeed once you are there and what to expect when you leave. She weighs the pros and cons of attending graduate school against achieving a sustainable work-life balance and explains the application process, the culture of graduate school, and employment prospects for academics. This informed and candid book provides anyone thinking about pursuing an advanced degree—and those who support them—with the inside scoop on what to expect in graduate school. Written in a question-and-answer format, Is Graduate School Really for You? eliminates the guesswork. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2012


Anderson, Citro, SalvoEncyclopedia of the U.S. Census: From the Constitution to the American Community Survey (ACS), 2d ed.

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census: From the Constitution to the American Community Survey (ACS), 2d ed. edited by Margo J. Anderson, Constance F. Citro and Joseph J. Salvo, updates and expands a critically-acclaimed resource to the history, politics, content, procedures, and uses of the decennial census of the American population. The new edition highlights changes in the Census Bureau's data collection and dissemination practices for the 2010 enumeration, including the use of a short-form questionnaire for the actual population count, and the release in late 2010 of the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data set based on rolling samples of the U.S. population and gathered using the long-form questionnaire. The second edition also comprehensively covers the fallout from the 2000 census and recent issues affecting the administration of the 2010 count. 2011. CQ Press.


VangHmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora

Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora by Chia Youyee Vang documents her own migration from Laos to Minnesota at age nine and the transformations she has witnessed in Hmong communities throughout the migration and settlement processes. Vang depicts Hmong experiences in Asia and examines aspects of community building in America to reveal how new Hmong identities have been formed and how they have challenged popular assumptions about race and ethnicity in multicultural America. With an approach that intermingles the archival research of a historian, the personal experiences of a refugee, and the participant-observer perspectives of a community insider, Vang constructs a nuanced and complex portrait of the more than 130,000 Hmong people who came to the United States as political refugees beginning in the mid-1970s. She offers critiques of previous representations of the Hmong community and provides the sociological underpinnings for a bold reassessment of Hmong history in the greater context of globalization. This new understanding redefines concepts of Hmong homogeneity and characterizes ordinary Hmong migrants not as passive victims but as dynamic actors who have exercised much power over their political and social destinies. While Vang focuses on the Hmong community in the Twin Cities, she also has conducted research in numerous Hmong enclaves in the United States and abroad. 2010. University of Illinois Press.


MillerOgimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760–1845

Ogimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760–1845 by Cary Miller reexamines Ojibwe leadership practices and processes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At the end of the nineteenth century, anthropologists who had studied Ojibwe leadership practices developed theories about human societies and cultures derived from the perceived Ojibwe model. Scholars believed that the Ojibwes typified an anthropological “type” of Native society, one characterized by weak social structures and political institutions. Miller counters those assumptions by looking at the historical record and examining how leadership was distributed and enacted long before scholars arrived on the scene. Miller uses research produced by Ojibwes themselves, American and British officials, and individuals who dealt with the Ojibwes, both in official and unofficial capacities. By examining the hereditary position of leaders who served as civil authorities over land and resources and handled relations with outsiders, the warriors, and the respected religious leaders of the Midewiwin society, Miller provides an important new perspective on Ojibwe history. 2010. University of Nebraska Press.