Graduate Updates

2020 Milton Plesur Conference Attendees taking a group picture.

2020 Milton Plesur Conference Attendees

Update from Director of Graduate Studies: Sasha Pack

The Masters and Doctoral programs in History continue to thrive. Thanks to UB’s PhD Excellence Initiative, doctoral students now benefit from more generous fellowships that give them more time to carry out their research and gain teaching experience. The MA program continues to be home to many strong students who are launching academic careers or capping their studies in History before moving into a range of careers. To support the professional development of our graduate students, the History Department has created the position of Professional Development Officer, held by an advanced PhD student charged with facilitating programming to help prepare masters and doctoral students for a range of academic and non-academic careers for historians. We are also a developing a number of new fellowships, including the Plesur Diversity Scholarship for MA students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds, and an instructorship for advanced PhD students to teach their own upper-division course.

Several PhD candidates successfully defended their dissertations this past year:

Shanleigh Corrallo, "Rustbelt Radicals: Black Power in Buffalo and Rochester, New York in the 1960s-1980s"

Elisabeth Davis, "The Consolidation Controversy: Women Religious, the Clergy, and the Development of the American Catholic Church, 1800-1870”

Maria Daxenbichler, "Knowing the Uterus: The Role of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Abortion in the Professionalization of American Medicine, 1880-1920"

Shanleigh Corrallo speaking to graduate students in classroom.

Shanleigh Corrallo leads a discussion with graduate students in HIS 702: Proseminar on Careers for Historians

Elizabeth Masarik, "Out of the Realm of Sentiment: Infant Mortality, Single Mothers, and the Formation of the Welfare State, 1883-1927"

Alexandra Prince, “Religion and Madness: Contests over Faith and Insanity in the American Cultural Imaginary, 1840-1920”

Shuko Tamao, "Memories of Asylums: A Narrative Examination of Postwar State Hospital Experiences"

Elizabeth Davis defends PhD in conference room.

Elizabeth Davis defends PhD

Congratulations, PhDs Corallo, Davis, Daxenbichler, Masarik, Prince, and Tamao!

Individual Updates

Eric Deutsch and his respectable beard, showing a thumbs up.

Eric Deutsch and his respectable beard

Eric Deutsch received a Frederick B. Artz Summer Research Grant to visit The Oberlin College Archives for Summer 2020. He presented “The Guide Dog Movement in the United States” sponsored by the Aviv Older Adult Services of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Jewish Home Life, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, “in” Atlanta, Georgia in July 2020. Eric also presented “'Fiddler’s Bitch’: The Guide Dog Movement Comes to America” through UB’s Presidential Fellow Research Presentations in August 2020. Eric had his MA conferred in August. Finally, Eric grew his first ever respectable beard.

Ashley Morin presenting at conference.

Ashley Morin presenting on challenging notions of femininity in the IRA at the 2020 Plesur Conference

Ashley Morin received the Keith F. Otterbein Award for War and Peace Studies, as well as research funding through UB's Experiential Learning Network as a Project Developer and Undergraduate Mentor. Ashley had her MA conferred in August. Finally, she ran the Florida Panthers Foundation's Territory Trot Virtual 5K even though she maintains the Boston Bruins as her one and only favorite team and wore a Zdeno Chara shirt during the 5K.

Jon O’Brian running a socially distanced summer camp, attendees and Jon taking a socially distanced group picture.

Jon O’Brian running a socially distanced summer camp

Jon O’Brian completed his comps in November 2019 and is currently researching the continuation of progressive reform through the 1920s at the local level through an examination of primary sources, primarily newspaper accounts and mayoral records, from Jamestown, New York. The Covid-mandated closure of the archives forced him to shift from using crumbling newspaper clippings to focusing on online resources and the few printed local histories available. Jon is also reading secondary sources focused on the 1920s nationally and transatlantically.

Outside of his research, Jon is also using his background in the liberal arts, reading, and weighing the evidence on the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. He was able to create a safe and responsible summer non-profit day camp for children, and a weekend family camp program at YMCA, Camp Onyahsa on Chautauqua Lake. Staff and campers engaged in six protocols to stay healthy and thankfully they had no incidents of illness. He also ran a similar program for adults with Developmental Disabilities, most of whom have been rather isolated in group homes for the past five months. Everyone enjoyed structured recreation outdoors, albeit with Covid-mitigation protocols. The adult, youth day camp, and family camp gave some sense of "normalcy" to campers and have shown the power of Recreation to improve mental, as well as physical, well-being.

Brent Rosenstein received a 2019 Robert R. Palmer Research and Travel Grant from the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. He spent the last year researching and teaching at the Université de Paris (Diderot).

Emily Seger presented her research at JASMed at Harvard University in Fall 2019. She was also an invited panelist at the American Historical Association annual meeting in New York City. Although rescheduled due to COVID-19, Emily's flash talk proposal about intellectual disability in the early 20th century United States was accepted for the American Association for the History of Medicine conference. In addition, she will present her paper "'The child is now a child': Linear Craniotomies and the Medicalization of Children's Disabilities in New England, 1876-1910" at the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, rescheduled for summer 2021.

Derek Taylor has had a number of positive developments in his academic and professional journey. Last August, he was informed that his chapter proposal, “An Ally From Savoy: Princess Mary in the Correspondence of Holy Roman Ambassador Eustace Chapuys” had been accepted for inclusion in a two-volume book set regarding Mary I to be released by Palgrave as part of its Queenship and Power series to be publishedin 2021. In May, he was awarded a two-month fellowship to the Clark Library at UCLA that, while it has been postponed from a planned September visit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be conducted virtually in early 2021. In July he was offered a position as Visiting Instructor of History at West Virginia State University, where he did his undergraduate work. His current dissertation project, “Neither Agent Nor Spy: The Published Works of Papal Legate George Conn,” remains on track, and he hopes to complete this work by the end of the Spring 2021 semester.

Tianyu Liu speaks at conference.

Tianyu Liu speaks about land reform in northern China during the 2020 Plesur Conference