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Institute for Historical Studies welcomes new class of scholars for 2011-12 academic year

The institute culled through over 150 applications to choose its fourth class of fellows to continue working on the theme of Power and Place.

Posted: August 19, 2011
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These fellows’ work ranges from runaway female slaves in the U.S., to rural schoolteachers in Mexico, to the global diffusion of the British coffeehouse and to provincial bureaucrats in the Ottoman Empire.

Barbara Krauthamer received her Ph.D. from Princeton in 2000 and is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her main area of interest is the history of slavery and emancipation in the Americas.  

Krauthamer’s current book project is a study of runaway slave women in the U.S. from the 1780s to 1861 in which she offers a comprehensive study of existing sources that reveal how enslaved African and African American women conceptualized and experienced self-liberation. While most studies on slave resistance focus on enslaved men, Krauthamer’s work addresses the historiographical gap by centering women in the struggle for freedom.  

Their efforts to free themselves from slavery, she argues, “reflected a politicized understanding of both slavery and freedom” as much as enslaved runaway men.  This groundbreaking work will add to the understanding of African and African American women’s political activism, as well as the literature on slavery and slave resistance.

Tanilís Padilla, associate professor of history at Dartmouth College, received her Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of California, San Diego in 2001.  Her primary research interests include the history of Mexico’s agrarian movements, rural teachers and the post-revolutionary period.  

Her current research, titled “The Unintended Lessons of Revolution: School Teachers in the Mexican Countryside, 1940-1975”, examines the role of rural schoolteachers in the context of state formation. During this period, as the nation turned increasingly urban, the role of teachers as state agents shifted and they “became formal and informal actors facilitating the resistance, appropriation, molding and even rejection of government policy,” Padilla says. The study of these teachers, then, allows us to “understand the implications of changing social identities as students from peasant households became professionals.”

Brian Cowan received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 2000 and is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. His main interests are the social and cultural history of ideas and the ways in which they were transmitted in the early modern world.  

His current research project, titled “The British Coffeehouse and the British Empire, 1650-1850”, moves away from the established chronological and geographical paradigms of the British Empire and explores the history of the British coffeehouse in the context of a global empire. In this broader context, he examines “the ways in which the metropolitan coffeehouse society established in London was adapted, emulated and altered in various different contexts throughout the rapidly expanding British empire” from the first coffeehouses in North America to those of South Asia and Ireland.  

Linda Darling
, associate professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of History, received her Ph.D. in 1990. Her research focus is the fiscal administration of the Ottoman Empire, its context in the early modern period of European history and its impact on provincial politics.  

Her current project, titled “Empire and Elites in the Ottoman Seventeenth Century”, delves into the standard narrative of imperial decline as the provincial elite replaced the palace-educated political elite. In her research, Darling challenges this long-standing narrative by exploring the “advice literature” with which provincial elites were trained for imperial service.  

She says understands this literature as “a set of responses to political and economic competition designed to bring particular groups out on top.” In her current work, she contextualizes this literature with the broader fiscal and economic conditions of the Ottoman Empire during the late seventeenth century to understand how the state responded to the new provincial elites.

By José Barragán
History Graduate Student and IHS Graduate Research Assistant

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