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Dissertations

DISSERTATIONS IN PROGRESS

 

John Baden

Title: “Serving from Abroad: Afghan Americans and Afghanistan, 1978 – 2014”

Topic: This dissertation examines how Afghan-Americans have facilitated interactions between Afghanistan and the United States. It explores transnational activism, identity, and the contributions of immigrants to broader U.S. foreign relations.

 

Dan Belczak

Title: “‘When the Last Gallows Will Be Thrown Down’: Capital Punishment, Imprisonment, and Criminal Law Reform in Antebellum Wisconsin”

Topic: This dissertation explores the political, religious, and ideological landscape of antebellum Wisconsin as it underwent a process of fundamental criminal justice reform including the construction of the state’s first prison and the abolition of capital punishment.

 

Nathan Delaney

Title: “Modes of Extraction and Distribution: The Origins and Making of the Atlantic Copper Trade, 1877-1919”

Topic: In this work, Delaney explores the expansion of the Atlantic non-ferrous metal trade (copper, tin, zinc) from the founding of the London Metal Exchange (1877) until the end of the First World War.

 

Sam Duncan

Title: “‘Water in the Land of Coca-Cola’: America in the Age of Bottled Water”

Topic: Bottled water is largely seen in popular media as a niche product which owes its success to the industry’s clever advertising and a naïve public. Sam Duncan’s dissertation, “’Water in a land of Coca Cola’: America in the Age of Bottled Water,” challenges that perception by examining the transformation of the bottled water industry in post-WWII America. Duncan claims that government efforts to protect citizens’ drinking water paradoxically generated negative perceptions of the very public services those efforts sought to improve, setting the stage for neoliberal claims to the superiority of private enterprise to best meet people’s basic needs. He further argues that changes in the political economy of bottled water should be understood within the context of a quest for purity that defined the century.

 

Joe Filous

Title: “Give Instruction: The Beginnings of Denominational Colleges in the Old Northwest”

Topic: In this dissertation, Filous studies the early years of five denominational colleges in order to discover the ways denominational affliation contributed to their establishment and their growth.

 

Elise Hagesfeld

Title: “Saving the World by Saving Its Children: The Birth of the Modern Child Welfare Agency and the Children’s Homes of the National Benevolent Association of the Disciples of Christ, 1887-1974”

Topic: This research traces the evolution of the modern child welfare agency from its 19th century roots in the orphanage. By examining the children’s homes founded by the Disciples of Christ, I argue that the Civil Rights movement, the War on Poverty, and the ‘rediscovery’ of child abuse in the 1960s turned these institutions inside out: transforming independent, religiously affiliated orphanages into non-sectarian, community oriented child welfare agencies that were increasingly dependent on government funds. These ‘new’ institutions became the backbone of our modern child welfare system, and continue to be the largest child welfare service providers in most major metropolitan areas across the United States.

 

Corey Hazlett

Title: “Limited Redemption: Corporate Capitalism and the Environmental Movement in Post-World War II United States”

Topic: This dissertation explores the historical connection between corporate capitalism and the contemporary environmental movement that blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s and evolved into present-day green consumerism. This work seeks to understand the evolving political economy of postwar America and the forces that helped develop a style of environmentalism that offers personal consumption as a solution to environmental problems that are in many ways created by consumption itself.

 

Michael Metsner

Title: “The American Image in the Soviet Mind: Cold War Travel Literature, 1955-1989”

Topic: My dissertation examines the depiction of the United States in Soviet travelogues in the post-World War II era. More specifically, it analyzes the perceptions and images of postwar United States that Soviet travelers communicated to their fellow citizens in popular, mass circulated travel books and journals between 1955 and 1989.

 

E. P. Miller

Title: “‘The Fields Are Black Unto Harvest’: African American Evangelicals, Inner City Ministry, and the Reinvention of Christian Conservatism, 1963-2008”

Topic:  In this dissertation Miller examines the rise of evangelical inner city ministry as a way of revealing how Christian conservatives re-branded their crusade for faith and family values in the post Civil Rights era. By connecting their agenda to the language of social justice, evangelicals placed themselves at the center of debates about urban policy and social welfare by the end of the twentieth century.

 

Elizabeth Salem

Title: “Gendered Bodies and Nervous Minds: Creating Addiction in America, 1770-1900”

Topic: This dissertation examines how Americans understood and portrayed substance abuse from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. I argue that the evolution of “addiction,” from a bad habit, to a disease, and, ultimately, a problem for the criminal justice system, must be situated within the context of medical understandings of anatomy and expectations regarding gender roles.

 

Jesse Tarbert

Title: “When Good Government Meant Big Government: Elite Reformers, Racial Politics, and the American State in the New Era, 1918–1933”

Topic: This project focuses on the power of the federal government in the United States, and it examines the forces that influenced the development of that power during the 15 years that followed World War One.