MU’s Committee on Research awarded summer stipends and travel grants to four members of the history department—the most in recent memory. Brief descriptions of their current projects follow:
Sarah E. Bond, Touch, Taboo, and Trade: Status and Pollution in Ancient Rome. Summer Faculty Fellowship (SFF) of $5500. Sarah writes that, “When historians attempt to reconstruct the urban experience of Rome, they often focus on the visual rather than the encompassing, sensory experience that was ancient Roma. Yet smells (e.g., of corpses, perfumes, unguents, butchered meat, tanneries, and of commercial products such as garum) and attitudes towards touch helped to shape the layout of the city itself. This project attempts to construct “sensory maps” for the city of Rome based off the inscriptional, written, and archaeological evidence. These maps will reconstruct the smells and tactile experiences within the ancient city. Through color-enriched mapping, the sensory experience of Rome will be reimagined and utilized both to inform my own manuscript project and, more generally, to establish the necessity of considering the senses in evaluating the past.” Sarah reports that the project will be “super fun, and I can't wait to walk around Rome trying to place perfume shops and slaughterhouses. That sounded morose. . . . “
Michael Donoghue, Race, Identity, and Gender in U.S. Military-Cuban Relations 1941-1959. Summer Faculty Fellowship (SFF) of $5500.00 and a 2013 Regular Research Grant (RRG) of $6000. According to Michael, “My study will examine the conflicts and intersections of race, identity, and gender that emerged between US military and the Cuban people from World War II until the 1959 collapse of the Batista regime - and how these associations contributed to the anti-American atmosphere of the 1953-1959 Cuban Revolution. The US military presence in Cuba that included the main American base at Guantánamo, dozens of emergency wartime bases, US military missions, plus the furloughs of thousands of sailors, soldiers, and marines in Cuban ports resulted in numerous brawls, crimes, intermarriages, the growth of a sex industry, economic dependencies, and cultural exchanges that helped shape both resentment towards and admiration of the yanquis. In order to complete my primary research, I will travel to Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo City on the eastern side of the island in the summer of 2013 to work in the archives and libraries there and to conduct oral interviews with former base workers and employees in the service industries that catered to the American military.” Michael has already made two trips to Cuba to do research on this project.
Kristen Foster, Haiti's Mirror: The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on American Revolutionary Idealism. Summer Faculty Fellowship (SFF) of $5500.00 and a 2013 Regular Research Grant (RRG) of $4740. Kristen writes that the research she will do this summer will be part of “a book-length historical project that breaks new ground by examining the connections between the Haitian Revolution and changes in the status of free black men in the new American republic. It is my contention that the specter of Caribbean black men armed with weapons and revolutionary ideas forced America's founding generation to reassess its revolutionary values, especially the connections between full citizenship, race, masculinity, and the right to bear arms. Haiti's Mirror sets the American Revolution and the young nation's struggle to give meaning to soaring revolutionary ideals of freedom and equality in the troubling context of the Haitian Revolution. In so doing, I contest the existing historiographical paradigm that the racism and property interests of a generation of white founding fathers made it impossible for the United States to set in motion real egalitarian change in the wake of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, I argue that a majority of new states (ten of thirteen) in their first state constitutions invested property-holding free black men with the same rights as property-holding white men. Once the horrors of a race war unfolded in St. Domingue/Haiti and made their way to American conversations and news reports between 1791 and 1804, many Americans began to reassess the wisdom of arming free black American men with the full rights of citizenship that included weapons and the vote.”
Laura Matthew, Circulations: Death and Opportunity in Southern Pacific Mesoamerica, 1480-1630. Summer Faculty Fellowship (SFF) of $5500.00 and a 2013 Regular Research Grant (RRG) of $6000. Laura’s current research—which she is pursuing this semester in Seville, Spain, under the auspices of a major grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, focuses on a different region than the one she explored in Memories of Conquest, which focused on the mostly central Mexican “Mexicanos.” During that research, however, she writes, “I encountered numerous Mixtecs and Zapotecs from Oaxaca in southern Mexico traveling and settling along Guatemala’s trade routes. They clustered particularly along the southern Pacific coast, long an important center of luxury cacao production. Had these Oaxacans always been so involved in the economy of these far southern regions? Or had the conquest provided them with new economic opportunities? This project will again incorporate archaeology and art history to reconstruct ethnic and economic interactions along the Pacific coast in the century before the arrival of Europeans, and will follow them for approximately the first century after conquest.”