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Current Students

The Graduate Center's History students are a diverse group, studying topics ranging from early modern food preparation to masculinity in eighteenth century India. Read a bit about their scholarly work below.

Ancient History

Joshua Kinlaw

Major Field: Ancient History
Minor Field: Medieval Europe
Degrees Conferred: MSt Oxford
Research Interests: Intellectual history of Rome

Medieval Europe (300-1500 A.D.)

Megan Brown

Major Field:  Modern European History
Minor Field: Gender & War
Degrees Conferred: Master's, The University of London Institute in Paris (Paris Studies); Bachelor's of Science, Northwestern University (Journalism)
Dissertation Title: Pied-Noir Repatriation in the Construction of Europe
Research Interests:  My dissertation examines the intersection of the European project and decolonization. Eurafrique, a policy of integrating colonial African economies into the European economy, became a key demand of French officials during the Treaty of Rome debates. Included in this conversation were concerns about the free movement of workers (colonial subjects and European citizens) between colony and metropole and discussions about Algeria’s particular role within Eurafrique and Europe’s political future. I examine how these debates about the Treaty of Rome informed France’s later drive to accommodate the arrival of the pieds noirs (French citizens who left independent Algeria in 1962). 
Recent publications: "Au Nom des Institutrices: French Schoolmistresses and Identity Politics, 1914-1918," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, Volume 39 (2011, Portland).
Contact info:

Clare Wilson

Major Field: Medieval European History
Minor Field: Global History
Degrees Conferred: B.S., Emerson College, Mass Communications; M.A., Marquette University, History: Medieval Europe
Research Interests: I am interested in the troubadours and contextualizing their compositions. My other research interests include medieval notions of identity, cross-culturalism, and medieval organum/polyphony.

Eytan A. Zadoff

Major Field: Medieval European History
Minor Field: Jewish History
Degrees Conferred: BA, History and Jewish Studies (Yeshiva University); MA, Medieval Jewish History (Bernard Revel Graduate School, Yeshiva University)
Dissertation Title: Jewish Marriage Law and Practice in Comparative Perspective in Northwestern Europe, 1140-1234.
Research Interests : My dissertation explores the development of Jewish marriage law and practice (Hilkhot Erusin ve'Nesuin) in Northern France and Germany (Ashkenaz) during late twelfth and thirteenth centuries in comparative perspective with the regnant Church law and prescribed practice. More broadly, I am interested in the history and development of medieval Jewish law and canon law, the interplay between law, culture, and society in Western Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Jewish-Christian relationship in the high Middle Ages, as well as contemporary legal theory, specifically comparative law theory.

Early Modern Europe (1300-1700 A.D.)

Katrina Wheeler 

Major Field:  Early Modern Europe
Minor Field:  Modern Europe
Degrees Conferred: MA - History of Christianity, Wheaton College. BA - French and Theology, Whitworth University
Research Interests: I am interested in Christianity in France at the transition point between the early modern/modern periods. My research focuses specifically on the late-eighteenth century, and I am currently charting the diverse experiences and reactions of Catholic clergy during the French Revolution.
Contact info:

Modern European History (1750 to the present)

Barbara Bailin

Major Field: Modern European History (Germany)
Minor Field: Jewish Studies
Degrees Conferred: Combined B.A./M.A. (History) The City College of New York (2011)
Research Interests: My research focuses on the interaction among various agencies of the Third Reich and their role in the development of the Holocaust; I am also interested in 20th century comparative anti-Semitism
Contact info:

T. Scott Johnson

Major Field: Modern European History
Minor Field: Intellectual History
Degrees Conferred: MPhil, History, 2012, CUNY Graduate Center; BA, History, Magna cum laude in the Honors Program, 2007 from Denison University.
Research Interests:I am interested in modern and contemporary French intellectual history. In particular, I am interested in the way intellectuals approach questions of violence and radical political action. I am also broadly interested in the history of literature, philosophy, and the social sciences.

Luke Reynolds 

Major Field: Modern European History
Minor Field: World History
Degrees Conferred: BA (Trinity College, University of Dublin), MA (Hunter College, CUNY), M.Phil (University of Cambridge)
Research Interests: The Long 19th Century, British History, Imperial History, Social History, Cultural History, Political History, Diplomatic History, Military History

Lauren Saxton

Major Field:  Modern European history
Minor Field:  Gender, Sexuality, and Medicine
Degrees Conferred:  BA in History, Classical Studies, from Willamette University 2009
Research Interests: Alcohol consumption in late 19th and early 20th century France; the evolution of alcoholism as a disease paradigm

Andrew D. J. Shield

Major Field: Modern European History
Minor Field: Middle Eastern History; History of Sexuality
Degrees Conferred: B.A. 2007 (International Relations, Arabic), Brown University
Research Interests: Muslim immigration into Western Europe since WWII; Moroccan communities in the Netherlands; theories of migration and sexuality; anthropology and ethnography; gay and lesbian periodicals of the
1960s and 1970s; classified ads as sources of micro-history.

Chelsea Schields 

Major Field: Modern European History
Minor Field: Latin American and Caribbean History
Degrees Conferred:  M.A. in History, CUNY Graduate Center (2013), B.A. in History and Anthropology, Goucher College (2008)
Dissertation Title: Closer Ties: the Dutch Caribbean and the Aftermath of Empire, 1945 – Present
Research Interests: Imperialism, Decolonization, Postcolonial Studies, Comparative Colonialism, Gender and Sexuality, Sexual Politics, Tourism, Development
Contact info:

Antonella Vitale

Major Field: Modern European History
Minor Field: American History
Degrees: Masters in History and Philosophy at Graduate Center, City University of New York, Masters of Education, Hunter College, Bachelors of Arts in History at George Mason University.
Dissertation Title: Fuitina: Love, Sex, and Rape in Post World War II Italy.
Research interests: Gender/women studies, history of sex, rape and violence against women, sexual politics, family law, notions of honor and shame, Italy's southern question, cross-cultural immigration, race, and national identity.
Contact info:

Ky Woltering

Major Field: Modern European History (Germany)
Minor Field: Modern United States
Research Interests: Transnational Religion, National Identity and Democracy in postwar West Germany and the United States Contact info:

Latin American History

Gordon Barnes 

Major Field: Latin American and Caribbean History Minor Field: Global History Degrees Conferred: BA in History and Political Science (Temple University, 2010) MA in History (Rutgers University-Newark, 2012)
Research Interests: My research interests are centered around political ideology, violence, and the post-emancipation experience  in the British Empire during the 19th Century. My current research focuses upon the political ideology of the British plantocracy, specifically in Jamaica and Mauritius. I am interested in how the transitions from slavery to apprenticeship and then to “free” labor, in conjunction with episodes of plebeian political violence, influenced planter perceptions of politics, race, and labor.  
Contact Info:

United States History

Peter Aigner 

Major Field:  U.S. History
Minor Field: Intellectual
Degrees Conferred: M.Phil.
Dissertation Title: "The Professor and the Politician: Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the Strains of Modern American Liberalism"
Research Interests: History of American Liberalism and Conservatism; Federal Economic and Social Policy History; Trans-Atlantic Enlightenment and Book History
Contact info:

Geoff G. Burrows

Major Field: U.S. History
Minor Field: Latin American History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. UC Berkeley (1995), M.A. Hunter College (2008)
Dissertation Topic: The New Deal in Puerto Rico.
Research Interests: Comprising both a top-down focus on how the New Deal was implemented in Puerto Rico and a bottom-up analysis of how it was received by Puerto Ricans, this project will critically examine the political and economic relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico during the Great Depression and after. This project will attempt to: fill an important gap in the historiography of the New Deal; affirm that Puerto Rico has a central role in U.S. history; join an ongoing reevaluation of the economic under-development that has plagued Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Latin America as a whole.

Vannessa Burrows

Major Field:  American History
Minor Field:  Medicine and Public Health Degrees Conferred: B.A., M.A., M.Phil.
Dissertation Title: The Medicalization of Stress: Hans Selye and the Transformation of the Postwar Medical Marketplace Research Interests:  The social construction of disease and health, medical civil rights, health policy, corporate influences on health, mental health, environmental racism, urban health Recent publications:
Contact info:

Lawrence Cappello

Major Field: United States History 
Minor Field: Latin American History
Research Interests: Social, Cultural, and Political History, particularly the history of American Privacy
Recent Publications: "In Harm's Way: The Lawrence Textile Strike Children's Affair," in R. Forrant and J. Siegenthaler (eds.), The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread and Roses Strike. Baywood Publishing Co., Amityville, N.Y., 2014
Contact info:

Rachel Burstein

Major Field: United States History
Minor Field: African American History
Degrees Conferred: BA in History, Swarthmore College (2004); MPhil in
History, CUNY Graduate Center (2010)
Dissertation Title: "The Fight Over John Q.: How Labor Won and Lost the Public in Postwar America, 1947-1959"
Research Interests: My dissertation examines the public relations strategies of the AFL and CIO in the postwar period. I argue that organized labor came to deploy the same messages to the non-unionized public and to its own members in the 1950s through a set of four case studies: labor's campaign against the passage of Taft-Hartley; the expulsion from the CIO of federation unions with communist ties; the AFL and CIO merger; and union racketeering hearings, expulsions and Landrum-Griffin.

Jeff Diamant

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: Middle Eastern History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. in Political Science and International Studies, Yale University
Research Interests: My research interests involve American religious history since 1945, especially regarding African-American Muslims. I am also interested in the intersection of religion and politics in the United States. Before entering the doctoral program in 2010, I was a newspaper reporter who covered religious affairs for the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Earlier, I covered crime and courts for the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina and government issues for the Palm Beach Post in Florida. I can be reached at

Sean Griffin

Major Field:  U.S. History
Minor Field: Urban History
Degrees Conferred:  B.A., American Studies, City College of New York
Research Interests: My interests lie in nineteenth-century American political and cultural history, and include antislavery politics and the abolition movement, African-American political culture, immigration, and the use of public space in the nineteenth-century city.

Alisa Harrison 

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: Comparative Women's History Degrees Conferred: B.A., Pacific Union College, June 2006; M.A., Washington State University, May 2009; M.Phil, CUNY Graduate Center, February 2013.
Dissertation Title: An Alliance of Ladies: Power, Public Affairs, and Gendered Constructions of the Upper Class in Early National New York City Research Interests: My research centers on the history of the early American republic, and focuses on upper-class women in New York City in particular.  My dissertation studies elite women’s political consciousness in New York City in the years between 1783 and 1815; it examines patterns of female learning and reading, social networking, marital alliances, economic exchange, civic organizing, and consumption in order to reveal how women wielded economic and political power, and fashioned themselves as vital citizens of the new nation.
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Ben Hellwege

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: Middle Eastern History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. in History, The University of Chicago (2005)
Research Interests: Currently, my research interests include urban, political, and labor history. I am primarily interested in how political power can be used by both individuals and institutions, and in turn how the use of that power reflects the limits of democracy. Prior to commencing my studies at the Graduate Center I worked as a research analyst and as an editorial assistant.

David Houpt

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: TBD
Degrees Conferred: BA-The George Washington University, 2005; MA-George Mason University, 2009
Selected Publication: "Securing A Legacy: The Publication of James Madison's Notes from the Constitutional Convention" The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Winter 2010
Research Interests: My research interests are in the political culture of the Early American Republic. I am interested in Congress, elections, and the Enlightenment in America. My Master's thesis was entitled "Mysteries in Politiks: The Second Congressional Elections in the Districts of Worcester and Maine."

Mariel Isaacson

Major Field: US History
Minor Field: Urban History
Degrees Conferred: BFA New York University, 2002; MA in History, New York University, 2006.
Dissertation Title: Pittsburgh's Response to Deindustrialization: Renaissance, Renewal and Recovery, 1946-1999.
Research Interests: I'm interested in deindustrialization, particularly how cities respond to the loss of industry and generate plans for recovery. My dissertation examines the role of urban planning in preventing deindustrialization in Pittsburgh. I'm also interested in New York City history and urban development.

Micki Kaufman

Major Field: US History (20th C)
Minor Field: World / International History
Degrees Conferred: B.A., U.S. History with Highest Honors, Columbia University. A.A., Simon's Rock of Bard College
Research Interests:

My research focuses on computational research in U.S. diplomatic and international history, most recently an analysis of the tenure of Henry Kissinger as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State using a large collection of the DNSA's declassified U.S. government archives dated 1968-1977. I am co-author of an article on Cold War wargaming and technology forecasting in the December 2012 American Historical Review titled "General, I Have Fought Just as Many Nuclear Wars As You Have," and I received a 2012-2013 Provost's Digital Innovation Grant to expand my research to include additional databases including the 'Foreign Policy Files' of the US State Department (NARA Secret Record Group 59). I have taught undergraduate history at Hunter College and have served as the Technology Coordinator for the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative's 2011 "Summer Fever" and 2010 “Nuclear Summer” research programs.

Sarah Litvin 

Major Field:  U.S. History
Minor Field: Undeclared
Degrees Conferred: B.A. Oberlin College 2007, Jewish Studies and History
Dissertation Title:
Research Interests: Progressive Era, disability, material cultural, immigration, New York history
Recent publications:
Contact info:

Joe Murphy

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: European History
Research Interests: With a focus on the printed debates of the early American republic, I study the rhetorical styles that "middling" and elite writers used to claim intellectual authority. I try to show how competing interpretations of events in the press (such as the Genet Affair of 1793) relate to class interests, political ideologies, and divergent readings of the Constitution. In the course of my studies, I have become fascinated with the language the Founders used to justify and defend the Constitution, and how that language was borrowed, rejected, or transformed by middling and plebeian writers in the press. I have also written about competing newspaper accounts of early American Indian policy and plan to do something similiar regarding an aspect of slavery. In the future, too, I plan to bring a transatlantic perspective to my work, particularly with regard to the development of public opinion in late eighteenth-century France and England.

Brendan O'Malley

Major Field: American History (19th C)
Minor Field: Urban History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. with Departmental Honors in History, Vassar College, 1992; M. Phil. in U.S. History, Graduate Center, 2009
Selected Publications: Co-editor of _Home Fronts: A Wartime America Reader_ (New Press, 2008) with Michael S. Foley
Fellowships: Chancellor's Fellow, 2006-2009; Writing Fellow, 2009-Present
Dissertation Title: Before Ellis Island: The Castle Garden Emigrant Depot, 1855-1890.
Abstract: Today it is hard to imagine that anything of importance ever happened at the Castle Clinton site in Battery Park in Manhattan. In a city filled with spectacular architecture—vertiginous skyscrapers and soaring bridges—the humble reddish-brown sandstone fort barely registers. The crudely hewn walls, twenty feet high and eight feet thick, look almost a product of nature rather than one of human hands. Robert Moses nearly succeeded in leveling the structure in 1941 to make way for his never-built Battery-to-Brooklyn bridge. Looking upon the old fort, it seems incongruous that it was once the site where over eight million immigrants anxiously awaited entry into the United States between 1855 and 1890, in a space with “less volume than a Staples,” as one blogger recently put it. Most Americans have heard of Ellis Island. They learn about it in school, by watching movies like The Godfather II, or even by visiting the museum on Ellis Island itself that opened with great fanfare in 1990. Many Americans whose ancestors came from Europe to the United States in the nineteenth century assume their predecessors arrived via that storied facility. But the federal immigration station on Ellis Island did not open its doors until 1892. If anyone’s ancestors emigrated from Europe to the United States in the latter half of the nineteenth century, odds are that they passed through the Castle Garden Emigrant Landing Depot at the tip of Manhattan. A central aim of this dissertation is to recover and restore the critical place that the Castle Garden Emigrant Depot has in the history of immigration to the United States.

Glen Olson

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: Latin American History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. St. Johns College, Santa Fe; M.A. University of Chicago
Research Interests: My research interests of the 19th century include immigration, urban life, and political history. Currently, I am working on a project on conceptions of citizenship pertaining to Irish and German immigrants in 1850's New York.

Laura Ping

Major Field:  U.S. History
Minor Field: Women’s History
Degrees Conferred:  B.A. University of Iowa , M.A. Virginia Commonwealth University, MPhil. The Graduate Center
Dissertation Title:  Throwing off “the Drapery”: Women and Bifurcated Clothing, 1820-1900
Research Interests:  Antebellum, Civil War, Visual Culture, Material Culture, Women’s History
Recent publications:
Contact info:

Nora Slonimsky 

Major Field:  American History
Minor Field: Intellectual History
Degrees Conferred: MA, American Studies (CUNY Graduate Center, 2010) BA, English Literature and Rhetoric, History (Binghamton University, 2008)
Dissertation Title:  “The Engine of Free Expression” [?]: The Political Development of Copyright in the Colonial British Atlantic and Early National United States
Research Interests: I study print culture, federalism and intellectual property in the Early Republic. My dissertation is on the politicization of copyright in the eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Atlantic world, with a specific focus on the relationship between evolving conceptions of property,nationalism and press regulation. 
Contact info:,

Johnathan Thayer 

Major Field: U.S. History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. Wesleyan University (2008); M.L.S. Queens College, CUNY (2011)
Research Interests: Labor history; legal history of seafarers; maritime workers, unions, and maritime ministry organizations in New York City; archival theory and print history.
Recent publications: “Mythmaking and the Archival Record: The Titanic Disaster as Documented in the Archives of the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey.” American Archivist, (Fall/Winter 2012).
Contact info:

Katie Uva

Major Field: American History
Minor Field: Urban History
Degrees Conferred: MA (2013); MPhil (2014)
Dissertation Title: Fair City: Urban Ideas and the Two New York World's Fairs
Research Interests: Urban History; New York City; 20th Century America
Recent Publications: “ ‘Plump, Moist, and a Bit of a Chump:’ Facing the Future with Elmer at the 1939 World’s Fair” in Pearce, Celia et al., eds. Meet Me at the Fair: A World’s Fair Reader (Pittsburgh: ETC Press, 2013)
contact info:

Erin Wuebker

Major Field:  U.S. History
Minor Field:  Modern European History
Degrees Conferred:  B.A., History & Art History, Beloit College (2007), M.Phil, History, CUNY Graduate Center (2012)
Research Interests: I am interested in the history of public health and medicine, women and gender, and visual culture.  My dissertation looks at the public health campaign to "stamp out" syphilis, 1936-1948.  The focus will be on the leadership role of Dr. Thomas Parran, Surgeon General of the US Public Health Service and how other organizations and communities supported or challenged the federal VD control program.  I hope to analyze the ways in which gender, race, the context of the Great Depression, and mobilization for WWII shaped ideas and policies related to syphilis.  It will also highlight how films, posters, infographics, pamphlets, and other visual materials were used during this period to educate the public about venereal disease.

Jewish History

Vincenzo Selleri

Major Field: Jewish History
Minor Field: Early Modern European History Research Interests: I'm studying the development of the political life of the Jewish communities in the Aragonese Kingdom of Naples. Analyzing the status of the minorities of the Kingdom in the context of the rise of a mercantile class in the Italian port cities and commercial hubs, I argue that merchants had an important role in the definition of political and civil rights. I hope to give a contribution to the historiography of Jewish citizenship in early modern Italy giving agency to the qehillot and the municipal administrations, revising the idea that Neapolitan Jewish policies were strictly top-down.
Contact info:

East Asian History & Middle East History

Jeffrey Culang

Major Field: Middle Eastern History
Minor Field: Jewish History
Degrees Conferred: B.A., Ithaca College; M.A., New York University
Research Interests: My research focuses on religion and secularism in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean during the late 19th and 20th century. I am tracing intellectual and social transformations associated with the introduction of concepts such as nationality and citizenship.

David Heayn

Major Field: Medieval History
Minor Field: Ancient History
Degrees Conferred: B.A. in History, Villanova University (2007); M.A. in History, Villanova University (2009)
Research Interests: My primary eresearch interests are in the broad swath of time encompassed by the term Late Antiquity, (Late Roman/ Early Byzantine/ Early Medieval and the Early Islamic periods). I concentrate on the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly the Levant but have significant interests in southern Arabia, the Transcaucasus region, and North Africa. The thematic concentration of my work is in the socio-cultural and religious conflict and syncretism of transitional regions and periods.So far my research has been wide ranging but I am primarily interested in the Byz-lamic socio-cultural interaction in the 7th through 9th centuries, especially liminal identity, indigenous peoples, and revolt.

Chris Rominger

Major Field: Middle East (Modern)
Minor Field: Colonialism
Degrees Conferred: BA (History), Middlebury College
Research Interests: I am interested in reformist and anti-colonial movements in the early 20th century Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on Tunisia during the First World War and its aftermath.
Contact info:

Seçil Yilmaz

Major Field: Middle East
Minor Field: Gender and History of Medicine
Degrees Conferred: M.A. Boğaziçi University, B.A. Middle East Technical University
Dissertation Title: (preliminary) Social History of Syphilis in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire
Research Interests: With an emphasis on the making of modern state and medical bureaucracy, I work on genealogies of power and gender dynamics by concentrating on syphilis in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire. I am interested the workings of modern medicine in the framework of construction of femininity and masculinity. I am co-organizing Dissection Seminars