Monday, March 18, 2013

Announcing the 2013-2014 Post-Doctoral Fellows

The Library Company is pleased to announce the recipients of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) Post-Doctoral Fellowships for 2013-2014. Each of the fellows will spend a semester at the Library Company conducting research that will contribute to a book.

NEH Fellow Craig B. Hollander is about to receive his Ph.D. in History from Johns Hopkins University with a dissertation entitled “Underground on the High Seas: The Illegal Slave Trade of the Early Republic.” He details the innovative methods used by slave traders in the U.S., on the high seas, and in Africa to conceal their activities after 1808, when the U.S. prohibited Americans from participating in the transatlantic slave trade. He learned about the Library Company’s vast holdings in African-American history as a Barra Foundation Dissertation Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.

NEH Fellow John M. Huffman is completing his Ph.D. in History at Harvard University. His dissertation, “Americans on Paper: Identity and Identification in the Early United States,” examines the identification papers in use in early American society. While identity has become a fashionable concept in early American studies, Mr. Huffman hopes to shed light on what he terms ‘practical identity’: “the bundle of categories and markers attached to an individual that determined her or his social and governmental access, eligibility, privilege, status, and possibilities.”

NEH Fellow Peter Jaros received his Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University and is now teaching at Franklin & Marshall College. Dr. Jaros also investigates identity in his two projects. He will be revising his dissertation, “Reading and Performing Character in the Early Republic,” which examines character (a concept more familiar to antebellum Americans than identity) as used by novelists, moralists, memoirists, and practitioners of the now-discredited science of physiognomy. He will also begin research on a new book project, “Incorporate Things: Persons and Corporations in Antebellum America.” Starting with the landmark Supreme Court case Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819), he will examine changing ideas of personhood in relation to the rise of the business corporation.

NEH Fellow Britt M. Rusert received her Ph.D. in English from Duke University and currently teaches in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At the Library Company, she will complete her book, “Radical Empiricism: Fugitive Science and the Struggle for Emancipation in the Long Nineteenth Century,” which tells the forgotten story of how early black writers, performers, and non-professional scientists used popular science – including phrenology, anatomy, ethnology, and astronomy -- to construct a distinctively anti-racist science in opposition to the virulent racism that dominated mainstream science at the time.

PEAES Fellow Danielle Skeehan anticipates receiving her Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University this spring. Her dissertation “Creole Domesticity: Women, Commerce, and Kinship in Early Atlantic Writing” examines the intersection between Atlantic commerce and women’s activities as producers and exchangers of textiles. During her post-doc fellowship next Fall, she will study the ways in which articles of cloth and clothing serve as “material texts” that are essential to the social fabrication of eighteenth-century subjects and creole societies.

PEAES Fellow Dr. Daniel Peart is a lecturer in American History at Queen Mary University in London. Dr. Peart is studying the fostering of a national economy through the tariff policies of the North American states from 1816 to 1861. His research will take him broadly into the archival holdings of the Library Company, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and other Philadelphia research institutions.

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