studies late 18th and 19th century America within the context of the broader Atlantic world. His particular focus is on the history of religion and reform. His work has dealt with the history of early American black abolitionism, the material culture of credit reporting, transatlantic intellectual exchange, religious conversion in urban spaces, and the role of religious memory in the American reckoning with slavery. He is also interested in innovative historical methods of analysis and teaching, from the use of GIS technology to map the past, to using objects as historical evidence in the classroom. He received his B.S. in Social Sciences Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2006, and his M.A.R. studying American religious history from Yale Divinity School in 2010. His dissertation explores early American Protestant material culture, around the category of the relic, and argues for the emergence of a Protestant version of the cult of the saints in early America tied to broader shifts in the understanding of history in the Atlantic world.
John Frederick Bell
received a B.A. in History and Religious Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2007 and an A.M. in U.S. History from Harvard in 2013. He specializes in nineteenth-century American cultural and religious history. His dissertation will examine the relationship between religion, social reform, and higher education through a study of America’s earliest coeducational, racially integrated colleges. Before beginning graduate study, John worked as an analyst at the National Archives and as a high school social studies teacher with Teach For America.
works at the intersection of literary studies, the history of political economy, and philosophy. His interests center on the interrelationship of cultural production, sovereign debt, and ideology in the Americas, particularly the United States and Mexico during the nineteenth century. Focusing on many textual forms, Andrew asks how narratives reflect, reinforce, and/or contest discourses of sovereign debt. Moreover, he questions how narratives concerning sovereign debt shape discourses on national identity, citizenship, culture, and resource distribution. Andrew’s interests stem from his tenure as deputy mayor in Binghamton, NY and his experience in community organizing. He graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in History.
’s work lies at the intersection of history, social ethics and theology. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, his current scholarship focuses on the relationship between religion and social movements, particularly in 20th century America. He has degrees from Denison University and Meadville Lombard Theological School and keeps a blog at www.colinbossen.com.
studies American representations of utopia in literature, history, photography, and architecture. In his dissertation, he asks how we might cope aesthetically with the crowding, sprawl, and ruin of the twenty-first century. What alternatives to utopian pastoral tropes does American art and literature provide throughout history? With this in mind, Brown has pieced together what he calls an “aesthetic of waste.” Brown’s recent publications include “Planting My Cabbages (Photo: Death),” published in EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden (2012) and “Agrivated Assault: Urban Design, Guerrilla Gardening, and the Age of Ecology,” The Good Gardener: Nature, Humanity, and the Garden (forthcoming).
received an A.M. in American History from Harvard and a B.A. in English and American Literatures from Middlebury College. Her dissertation is a history of hunger in colonial New England and New France. Her research interests include the Atlantic world, food history, American Indian history, material culture, the environment, and medicine. She is the editor of the Graduate Journal of Food Studies.
(AB Stanford University, 2003, American Studies; MFA New College of California, 2006, Writing) studies religion, rhetoric and American empire. Marisa’s historical interests have ranged from Puritan execution practices to 20th century legal and cultural constructions of race and ethnicity. Her dissertation investigates how the institutionalization of torture in American military and intelligence programs, beginning in the Cold War, has been shaped by the public’s understanding of the relationship of torture to American sovereignty. Marisa has been an organizer in the Occupy movement, out of which she led a Move Your Money and banking divestment campaign within the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Marisa continues to organize church institutions and people of faith for economic justice initiatives through her work with Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation and as a board member of Episcopal City Mission. Marisa is concurrently in formation to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.
works at the intersection between legal and literary history in the 19th century. He is particularly interested in overlapping legal and literary strategies employed by lawyers who were engaged in anti-slavery and racial justice struggles. He received his B.A. in English and Theater & Dance from Amherst College in 2001, spent a few years trying and failing to be an actor in New York, and then returned to school to get a J.D. from Harvard in 2007. Before returning to graduate study, he clerked for a judge in Los Angeles and practiced as a civil rights lawyer in Washington D.C. working on issues of racial justice in public education.
studies twentieth-century American literature across cultures, with special interest in cross-cultural understandings, youth literature, and the ways in which young people protest social conditions. Her Master’s thesis examined June Jordan’s early works for children. Amy holds a BA in English and an MA in American Studies from Yale University. She previously taught at Year Up Boston and worked in community engagement and service learning at Bunker Hill Community College and Northeastern University.
is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies 20th and 21st century American culture, immigration law, and literature with special focus on Latina/o and African American literatures. Her research interests include, but are not limited to: race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, and poetry and poetics. Her work explores the ways in which performance poetry in the U.S. functions in relation to grassroots social activism, community reform, and political movements. Fonseca-Ledezma received an A.B. in English and a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University.
‘s ever-evolving interests include 19th-century U.S. history, slavery and capitalism, class formation, women’s history, and the history of universities. She is part of the Harvard and Slavery Research Project, which seeks to uncover and raise awareness about the historical relationship between Harvard and slavery. Balraj holds an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College.
received a B.A. in sociology from Bard College in 2013. His research interests include queer theory, cultural studies, and literary criticism. Before coming to Harvard, Kyle worked as a fellow for New York University’s Humanities Initiative under the auspices of the Leadership Alliance Mellon Initiative. He was also a Prison Litigation Intern for the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, Texas in 2011. As a graduate student, Kyle plans to explore queer studies through urban culture and African American fiction.
studies the relationship between international political arrangements and the creation, transmission, and reception of American literature and culture. His current research attempts to map literary relations between the U.S. and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War in order to discover what happened when artists and their work moved between supposedly free and unfree political spaces. Brian received a B.A. from Stanford, where he wrote his thesis on the influence of Beat literature on Czech dissident culture. His master’s thesis at Oxford focused on Philip Roth and counterfactual history, reflecting an ongoing interest in the links between literary form and the historical imagination.
studies African American literature and music, with a particular interest in the impact of sound on both forms. He sees sound as a practice that has allowed African Americans to construct communities in the midst of spatial and social constraints. More precisely, he understands sound to be both capable of deployment, whereby dominant narratives and exclusionary territories are contested and disrupted, and as a generative phenomenon through which intra-communal conversations can and do occur. Before coming to Harvard, he worked in a variety of music-oriented positions, including DJ, in-house writer for TrueGrooves Records, and as the primary house buyer for Capital City Records. He is also the co-author of songs on Elan Records, ROI and Wagram.
received a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard College in 2004 and a Culinary Arts Diploma from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2010. From 2004 to 2007, she worked as a European media analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. From 2007 to 2010, she managed the Food Literacy Project for Harvard University Dining Services. Her research interests include food, race, ethnicity, gender, and material culture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Her dissertation, “Consumable City: Race, Ethnicity, and Food in Modern New Orleans,” examines the relationships between history, myth, and consumer culture in the Crescent City’s food industry.
an Afro-Wampanoag scholar from Louisville, Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate degree at Wheelock College (’14), where she double majored in American Studies and History. Mary is particularly interested in examining racial identity formation and material effect in 19th century and contemporary Afro-Native communities. She is also keenly interested in Radical Black Women’s History and Critical Hip-Hop Studies.
studies the free universities of the 1960s and 1970s, exploring how student activists across the world posed critiques of traditional colleges and universities and created their own alternative models of learning. She is interested in the ways these learning experiments brought together literature, politics, art and philosophy. Before starting the American Studies program, Laura studied Literature and Education at Oxford University, where she was involved with multiple projects thinking about the public role of the humanities and the university.
received his B.A. from Kenyon College and M.A. from Middlebury College. He lived in Italy for 12 years and there got interested in food history as a way to engage histoire totale. He is interested in environmental history and sustainability, and is the associate director for the Food & Sustainability Studies Program [http://www.umbra.org/academics/food-studies/] at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. He also likes bitter beer, wild edibles, and fonts (Caslon and Gill Sans especially). Nowak is the author of Truffle: A Global History (Reaktion, 2015), the translator of Why Architects Still Draw (MIT Press, 2014), and the editor and translator of Inventing The Pizzeria: A History of Pizza Making in Naples (Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming).
studies nineteenth and early twentieth-century social reform, religion, gender, and medicine. Her current research focuses on turn-of-the-century international networks of social reformers who sought to eliminate prostitution rather than regulate it, raise the age of sexual consent, provide children with sex education, and dismantle double standards that condemned women for sexual behaviors accepted in men. Eva is also interested in visual and material culture, and is currently helping to curate an exhibit at the Harvard Art Museum on the pop art prints of Corita Kent. She received a B.A. in Anthropology and Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School in American Religious History.
received a B.A. in English literature from Carleton College in 2005. Before coming to Harvard he worked as a journalist and critic, writing for the New York Times, the Nation, and the New York Review of Books. He has been an editor at n+1 magazine since 2007. As a graduate student, he plans to study US intellectual and cultural history in the twentieth century.
works at the intersections of History, Literature, and Performance Studies in order to study migration (to, from, within, and around the United States, and ranging from forced to voluntary); U.S. history that focuses on diversity and simultaneity, and which is situated globally; the transnational history, politics, and effects of mass incarceration; colonial, imperial, and liberation processes; and social/political/cultural movements, with a focus on the labor and intellectual history of radical women, migrants, and popular culture producers of the Caribbean, (Latin) American, and African diasporas. Sandy was born in the Bronx to parents born in the Dominican Republic. She received her BA, with honors, in American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, from Yale in 2008. Sandy was an immigrant rights organizer in Washington Heights, NYC, before she enrolled at Harvard.
My research interests are primarily based in the study of American popular culture—mainly music, film and literature from the Cold War through the late 1970s—and the ways in which performances of race, gender and sexuality, informed by social and cultural movements, intersect to create narratives of identity. My dissertation “The Great Black Way: Performing ‘Race’ in 1970s Broadway Musicals” is a cultural history of Black Broadway in the 1970s which details how it operates as a space influenced by, while seemingly separate from, larger social and political rhetorics of nationalism, nationhood, and citizenship, arguing that although the all-singing, all-dancing stage-bound performances of race may seem to mask certain struggles of black nationhood, they also reveal new strategies of community survival and identity. I think of this project as a specifically American Studies project because I’m able not only to utilize a vast array of texts through which to trace a trajectory of race and performance, but also because it allows for a expansive use of theory, history and analysis to think about the construct of the American citizen as a fluid and ever-changing marker of identity. My committee is made up of my chair Robin Bernstein, Carol Oja, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and my academic interests also include film and media studies, genre fictions, (sub)urban social history, and queer cultural history. Before coming to Harvard, I received an A.B. in American Civilization from Brown University, where I also taught classes in hiphop journalism and African American popular culture. A founding editor of VIBE magazine, I am also the author of HUNG: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America (Doubleday, 2006) and The VIPs: A Novel (Broadway/Random House, 2011).
studies 19th and 20th century American art history and literature, with particular attention to landscape painting, ecocriticism, poetry, silent film, alternative education, and Modernism. He is interested in moments of transcendence, inspiration, madness, and the expression of the incommunicable, as well as ways in which technology transforms the imagination. Before coming to Harvard, he was an curatorial intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. . He received his B.A. in Art History and English from Vassar College in 2011.
WHITNEY AYN ROBLES
works at the intersection of natural history, environmental history, and animal studies. Whitney received her B.A. in American Studies from Yale University, where she wrote her senior thesis on the nature fakers controversy of the early twentieth century. She has written about Nabokov’s butterflies and the science of flavor as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History, and she recently worked as a science editor for a microfluidics laboratory at Caltech. Her latest publication, co-authored with her Caltech labmates, is “Digital Biology and Chemistry,” published in Lab on a Chip.
Christofer A. Rodelo
A first-generation queer scholar of color, Christofer A. Rodelo traces feelings of authenticity as constructed in the materiality of 20th and 21st century multiethnic literature and culture. Central to his work is a steadfast investment in suturing notions of race, gender, and sexuality to the tactile, non-human, and material. Broadly, his research interests include Latina/o studies, comparative ethnic studies, performance studies, affect theory, queer of color critique, and new materialism(s). As a member of the FemTechNet collective, Christofer maintains a deep interest in critical digital humanities practices. A Mellon Mays fellow, he graduated cum laude from Yale University in 2015 with degrees in American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration.
researches the history of gender and sexuality in America during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Her dissertation uses rodeo as a lens to scrutinize the intersecting performances of region, gender, sexuality, and race surrounding the imagined American West. Particularly, she is researching case studies that include the Texas Prison Rodeo, the emergence of mechanical bulls as bar entertainment, and the International Gay Rodeo Association. Her other interests include body and fashion culture, as well as other forms of gendered popular culture. She holds a MA in Regional Studies: East Asia, with a focus on Japanese girl culture, from Harvard University and a BA in History from Willamette University.
holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently a PhD Candidate in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University. She is an active member in graduate student and campus politics as the current American Studies representative to the GSC and other organizations, and is the lead organizer of the new American Studies Perry Miller Society. Her dissertation, on the political economy of environmental catastrophe, brings together political, social and environmental history. Looking at both the causes and effects of “natural” disasters between 1880 and 1940, her research examines how particular inequalities were deepened and antidemocratic forces were strengthened during the infamous Johnstown Flood, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and the 1937 Mississippi Flood.
American literature of the antebellum period. Historiography. Romanticism. The “long” Eighteenth Century as a transatlantic phenomenon. Intellectual history. Critical theory. Philology. My dissertation is on American biography, its development during the early-national and antebellum US.
holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Art History from Bryn Mawr College, and an M.A. from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. Her work at Williams focused on contemporary artistic engagements with American history. Her research interests include art and activism of the 1980s and 1990s, American esoteric religions, and critical theory.
SIMON HONGZHE SUN
is an early American historian from the People’s Republic of China. He obtained a BA in History from the Department of World History, College of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, and an MA in History with a focus on American history from the History Department of Peking University, Beijing. He is particularly interested in the proto-globalization and the connections between early America and his own part of the world. Previously, he had written articles on Hu Shi, contemporary Chinese politics, and early Canadian history.
4 Heads, Broadway, New York by William Klein, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 2.2002.874, Photo by Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College