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The Future(s) of Microhistory: A Symposium

Collage of historical images

November 17–18, 2017
University of Rochester

About the Participants

Michela Andreatta is a senior lecturer in Hebrew at the University of Rochester. A specialist of the intellectual and literary history of Italian Jewry in the early modern period, she has lived, studied, and conducted research in Israel for several years. She has received fellowships from Oxford University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to numerous articles and presentations, Andreatta has edited Mošeh Zacuto, “L’inferno allestito” (Toftèh ‘arùkh). Poema di un rabbino del Seicento sull’oltretomba dei malvagi; and Gersonide, Commento al Cantico dei Cantici nella traduzione ebraico-latina di Flavio Mitridate.

Joan C. Bristol is an associate professor of history at George Mason University. She is the author of Christians, Blasphemers, and Witches: Afro-Mexican Ritual Practice in the Seventeenth Century, as well as a range of articles published in the Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación, the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, and elsewhere. Her current research interests include the intersection of gender and racial ideologies in colonial Spanish America and the history of pulque and mezcal in Mexico. She is currently at work on the book project, tentatively titled, Distilling Identities: From Pulque to Tequila in Mexico, 1428–present.

Peter Christensen is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Rochester. His research interests include 19th- and 20th-century architectural history, particularly Europe and North America’s international engagement with the Islamic world; history and aesthetics of infrastructure and industry; historicism; cartography and architecture; and critical digital humanities. His book, Germany and the Ottoman Railway Network: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure, considers the colonial conditions of economic unrest in Germany and the Ottoman Empire.

Gabrielle Cornish is a PhD candidate in musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her research broadly considers music and everyday life in the Soviet Union. In particular, her dissertation traces the intersections between music, technology, and the politics of “socialist modernity” after Stalinism. Her research in Russia has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Glenn Watkins Traveling Fellowship, and the Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Elaine Forman Crane is the Distinguished Professor of History at Fordham University, where she teaches American history. With a growing interest in transatlantic and interdisciplinary history, she focuses on women’s history and gender roles in colonial America. Her most recent project is titled The Poison Plot, which unites these interests. She is also the author of Witches, Wife Beaters, and Whores: Common Law and Common Folk in Early America; Killed Strangely: The Death of Rebecca Cornell; Ebb Tide in New England: Women, Seaports, and Social Change 1630–1800; and A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island, in the Revolutionary Era. Among her many awards, Crane received the Association for Documentary Editing’s Butterfield Award for her work editing the Diary of Elizabeth Drinker.

Thomas C. Devaney is an associate professor of history at the University of Rochester. He studies cultural and religious history in late medieval and early modern Spain and the Mediterranean world. He is the author of Enemies in the Plaza: Urban Spectacle and the End of Spanish Frontier Culture, 1460–1492, as well as articles in Speculum, Viator, and Medieval Encounters. He is currently at work on a number of projects, including a study of the emotional and cognitive experience of local pilgrimage in early modern Iberia.

Thomas Fleischman is an assistant professor of history at the University of Rochester. Environmental history, the history of state socialism, economic history, the history of modern Germany, and the history of animals all intersect in Fleischman’s work. His forthcoming book, Three Little Pigs: East Germany’s 'Green' Revolution, 1945–2000, focuses on East Germany’s decision in the 1970s to develop a large-scale pork industry, which culminated in an environmental disaster.

Thomas Hahn is a professor of English at the University of Rochester. His teaching centers on the sponsorship, production, and interpretation of texts and images from the earlier Middle Ages through the early modern period. His recent publications have concentrated on those scattered or huddled at the edges of emerging European identities, including women, Indians, Jews, heretics, Robin Hood and other outlaws, virtuous pagans, popular chivalric heroes, and other monstrous types. This work has entailed engagement with recent theory and practice in feminist criticism, visual and cultural studies, and social history. During the last decade and more, Hahn has put much energy into collaborative projects such as the Chaucer Bibliographies and the TEAMS Middle English Texts Series. He has received fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and others, in addition to several awards for his teaching.

Robert Harms is the Henry J. Heinz Professor of History and African Studies at Yale University. He is a specialist in African history and the slave trade, with a regional focus on equatorial Africa. His book The Diligent: Worlds of the Slave Trade has received numerous awards, including the Frederick Douglass Prize awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, as well as the J. Russell Major Prize in French History awarded by the American Historical Association. His other works include Games Against Nature: An Eco-Cultural History of the Nunu of Equatorial Africa, and River of Wealth, River of Sorrow: The Central Zaire Basin in the Era of the Slave and Ivory Trade, 1500–1891. His work has been supported by generous awards from the Fulbright-Hays Foundation and other organizations.

Dahpon Ho is an assistant professor of history at the University of Rochester. His principal interests are maritime history and the ways that flows of trade, people, and goods have shaped life in China and East Asia from the early modern period to the present. His first book project, called Sealords Live in Vain, tells the story of how the maritime province of Fujian in southeast China was transformed by trade and piracy into an outlaw frontier in the 17th century.

Lisa Jakelski is an associate professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her research considers how social and political practices might intersect with music making after 1945, issues she explored in her recent book, Making New Music in Cold War Poland: The Warsaw Autumn Festival, 1956–1968, a study of cultural mobility and Transnationalism at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. Jakelski’s work has also appeared in the Journal of Musicology and Twentieth-Century Music. She has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including a fellowship in 2007–08 at the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Michael J. Jarvis is an associate professor of history at the University of Rochester. He is also director of the Digital Media Studies Program and director of Smiths Island Archaeology Project. With an interest in digital history, he uses the island of Bermuda as a historical laboratory to study the earliest phases of Anglo-American colonization. His most recent book project, Atlantic Crucible: Bermuda and the Beginnings of English America, 1609–1684, follows In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680–1783, which won the American Historical Association’s James A. Rawley Book Prize in Atlantic History.

Ronald Angelo Johnson is an associate professor of history at Texas State University. He specializes in early United States history, with particular interest in diplomacy, religion, and cross-cultural relations. His first book, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance, reflects research and teaching interests in diplomacy and religion. In recognition of his teaching, he has received the Foundations of Excellence Award and the International Studies Professor of the Year Award from the Center for International Studies.

Richard W. Kaeuper is a professor of history at the University of Rochester. Kaeuper’s teaching and research interests concentrate on Western Europe between the 11th and 15th centuries. He maintains a special research interest in English history and considers themes of justice, public order, chivalry, and religion in Northwestern Europe. Among many other publications, including Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry and War, Justice and Public Order, he has recently completed Medieval Chivalry, a textbook. A well-loved teacher at the University, he has received numerous teaching awards from undergraduate and graduate students alike. Kaeuper is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.

Carrie Knight is a second-year PhD student in American history and is focused on the interaction between gender, environment, and public health in the Early Republic. This summer, she became a Harrison Fellow with the Historic Landscape Institute at the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Prior to coming to the University of Rochester, Carrie worked in museum administration in Colorado and New York.

Jennifer Kyker is an associate professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music. She is the author of Oliver Mtukudzi: Living Tuku Music in Zimbabwe, a study of audience reception in postcolonial Zimbabwean popular music, with a special focus on vocalist and guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi; “Learning in Secret: Entanglements between Gender and Age in Women’s Experiences with the Zimbabwean Mbira Dzavadzimu;” and other publications. Among her research interests are how women navigate expectations of gender in mbira performance, as well as the evolution of neo-traditional musical styles.

Huaiyin Li is a professor of history and Asian studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests include modern Chinese economic, social, and political history, as well as Imperial China. He has written several books, the most recent of which is Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing. His other works include Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948–2008 (winner of the Cecil B. Currey Book Award from the Association of Third World Studies) and Village Governance in North China, 1875–1936.

Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon is a professor of cultural history in the Department of History at the University of Iceland. At the forefront of microhistorical scholarship, he established the Center for Microhistorical Research at the Reykjavík Academy in 2003. Magnússon is the author of 16 books, and has been involved in the publication of nine more. Many of these focus on the past, present, and future of microhistory, including Minor Knowledge and Microhistory and What Is Microhistory? Theory and Practice. His latest book is titled Wasteland with Words, a social history of Iceland. His research has been funded by multiple grants from the Icelandic Research Fund and several Scandinavian and European research funds.

Laurie Marhoefer is an assistant professor of history at the University of Washington, where she focuses on the politics of sex and gender in Weimar Germany. Her first book, Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis, appeared in 2015, and she has also published in The American Historical Review, German Studies Review, and elsewhere. She is an active public intellectual, who comments on contemporary America through the lens of German history in a number of venues.

Nabil Matar is a professor of English at the University of Minnesota and holds the Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities. Matar’s research has focused on relations between early modern Britain, Western Europe, and the Islamic Mediterranean. His many books include Islam in Britain, 1558–1685Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery; Britain and Barbary, 1589–1689; In the Lands of the Christians (Routledge, 2003); Europe through Arab Eyes, 1578–1727; An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean World (1779–1787); and, with Gerald MacLean, Britain and the Islamic World, 1558–1713. He is currently completing Arab Impressions of America: Writings from Early Emigrants (1876–1914), An Anthology, which reflects his strong interdisciplinary focus on English, history, and religion. Matar received the Building Bridges award from the University of Cambridge.

Katrina Ponti is a third-year PhD student in early American history with a focus on the economic and foreign relations of the Early Republic. Katrina has just returned from Bermuda, where she worked as a graduate assistant on the Smith’s Island Archaeological Field School. 

Anna Rosensweig is an assistant professor of French at the University of Rochester. She focuses on early modern literature and culture, the intersections of literature and political theory, and performance studies. She is currently completing a book manuscript titled Tragic Opposition: Rights of Resistance on the Early Modern Stage, in which she locates a new genealogy of rights in early modern tragedy. She has also begun work on a second book, Building the Royal Body, which investigates how early modern dramas and political ceremonies align the king’s body with elements of urban architecture. She has published on early modern drama, as well as on more contemporary subjects, ranging from symbolist theater to the ethics of representing the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

E. Natalie Rothman is an associate professor of history at the University of Toronto. Trained as a historical anthropologist, she specializes in the history of the Mediterranean in the early modern period. Her first book, Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul, has received several awards, including the 2012 Herbert Baxter Adams prize, the Howard R. Marraro prize, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Prize. She is currently working on a project titled The Dragoman Renaissance: Diplomatic Interpreters and the Routes of Orientalism, funded by SSHRC and the Mellon Foundation. Her work has also appeared in the Mediterranean Historical Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and elsewhere.

Guido Ruggiero is a professor of history at the University of Miami. Raised in nearby Webster, NY, Ruggiero has published extensively on the history of gender, sex, crime, magic, science, and everyday culture, primarily in Renaissance and early modern Italy. His books, The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento; The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice; Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage and Power from the End of the Renaissance; and Machiavelli in Love: Sex, Self and Society in Renaissance Italy, reflect these interests. He has edited or coedited, among other texts, Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe and The Blackwell Companion to the Renaissance. In addition to many other distinguished awards, Ruggiero received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Humanities in 1991.

Andrew Russo is a third-year PhD student in medieval/early modern European history and works on interfaith relations in Spain and Morocco. Recently, Russo was a summer fellow at the Newberry Library and participated in the Casa Årabe Institute in Madrid, Spain.

Pablo Sierra Silva is an assistant professor of history at the University of Rochester. His work centers on the experiences of enslaved people, mostly Africans, South Asians, and their descendants, in the cities of colonial Mexico during the 16th and 17th centuries. He is particularly interested in the ways that Africans (especially Angolans) impacted the delicate balance of power in a viceroyalty fearful of a Black rebellion, yet ever more dependent on slave labor. Sierra has recently held a University of Rochester Humanities Fellowship where he completed research on his forthcoming book, Urban Slavery in Colonial Mexico: Puebla de los Ángeles, 1531–1700.

Laura Smoller is a professor of history at the University of Rochester. Her research has focused on areas of intersection between magic, science, and religion in medieval and Renaissance Europe, centering around two major themes: astrology and apocalyptic prophecy, and saints and miracles. Her first book, History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350–1420, explores a French cardinal’s use of astrology to investigate the time of the world’s end. Her second major project, The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, traces the various meanings of the saint from the moment of his death in Brittany to his appropriation by Dominican friars in Spain’s New World colonies. More recently, she has returned to the interrelationships between astrology and prophecy in a new book project, tentatively titled Astrology and the Sibyls, an investigation of ways of knowing the future ranging from around 1100 to around 1600.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University where she teaches courses in American history and in women’s studies. In some circles, she is best known for A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1991 and became the subject of a PBS documentary. Others know her for a now ubiquitous sentence that escaped from her first scholarly article onto coffee mugs and bumper stickers, a phenomenon she explored in Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History (2007). In The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth (2001), she pioneered in the use of textiles and other common-place artifacts as sources for history, a topic she explored further in her 2010 American Historical Association Presidential Address “An American Album,” and in a coauthored catalog, Tangible Things: Making History Through Objects (2015). Recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work in public history, she has consulted in museums and historical societies nationwide. Her newest book, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835–1870, explores the emergence of female activism within a stigmatized religious minority.

Claudia Verhoeven is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. Her research focuses on terrorism and related forms of political violence, revolutionary traditions, modernism, literature, historical method, and Russian, German, and European cultural-intellectual history. Her book The Odd Man Karakozov: Imperial Russia, Modernity, and the Birth of Terrorism is accompanied by several articles and book chapters. As one of her current projects, she is coediting the Oxford Handbook on the History of Terrorism.