With support from the Gillis Family Family Fund and the Lucille R. Zanghi and James M. Dow Endowed History Research Fund, six Ph.D. students with promising research projects received funding in 2013 for scholarly activities ranging from research in the Middle East and England to travel to conferences. These funds enable students to conduct critical dissertation research and gain international exposure for innovative research projects. Recipients provided summaries of funding uses.
Sana Tannoury Karam received a Gillis Family Funds grant that she used to conduct research for her dissertation on early communist thought in Mandate Syria and Lebanon. During her stay in Beirut, Lebanon, Tannoury Karam consulted the archives of the American University of Beirut for newspapers and periodicals that radical leftist groups were publishing in the interwar period in the Levant. Tannoury Karam’s summer 2013 research enabled her to identify key individuals and networks of intellectuals and activists who were circulating socialist and communist ideology throughout the Arab east and who participated in the creation of various Communist Parties in the region.
Abby Mullen received a Gillis Family Funds grant which she used to present her paper at the US Naval Academy Conference “From Enemies to Allies: An International Conference on the War of 1812 and its Aftermath” in Annapolis, MD in June. Her paper was titled Disobedience and Deception: Honorable Action in the War of 1812, part of a panel on honor and justice in the war. The conference was a very profitable opportunity for Abby to establish contact with some senior scholars in the fields of early America and naval history. In addition, she formed relationships with several public historians, including Northeastern graduate Claude Berube, the director of the US Naval Academy Museum. Her experiences at the conference have already informed her work, including another conference paper that was presented at the USNA in September.
Malcolm Purinton received a Gillis Family Funds grant that he used to conduct research in the summer of 2013 in the following targeted archives: the National Brewing Library at the Oxford-Brookes University, the Public Records Office/National Archives, London, the London Metropolitan Archives, the India Office at the British Library, and the British Newspaper Library. Purinton’s dissertation research that focuses on the spread of the Pilsner-style beer in the British Empire was informed deeply with through his discovery of several brewing industry-related publications, colonial records, and business record. His time spent at the archives allowed him to gather an exceptional amount of information following world beer/brewing trends from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. In addition, he made important connections with leading historians of the British brewing industry including Dr. T.R. Gourvish at the London School of Economics.
Akin Sefer received a Gillis Family Funds grant for a pre-dissertation research on the workers of the Imperial Naval Arsenal, the largest industrial complex in the Ottoman Empire throughout the nineteenth century. He used this fund to travel to Istanbul to conduct research in the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives in Istanbul during the summer of 2013. During this time, he studied many collections in the archives produced by the Ottoman government both on the Arsenal and its workers. Throughout this research, he was able to locate many documents and registers that reveal the main dynamics of the transformation of labor and production processes in the Arsenal throughout the nineteenth century.
Mathew Williamson received a Gillis Family Funds grant that he used to conduct research in London in the summer of 2013. Williamson’s research, which is part of his dissertation work on post-revolutionary American history, focuses on the John Jay Treaty of 1794 and Jay’s social life and the aristocratic networks he was involved in. During his stay in London, Williamson consulted the British archives as well as the family archives of Lord Glenville, one of the British negotiators, in attempts to unravel Jay’s negotiations and interactions with the British aristocracy leading up to the treaty. Williamson’s research also led him to an unfinished autobiographical manuscript of Glenville in which much was revealed about British-American relations and particularly Glenville’s views of William Pitt the Younger’s administration.