MU History Faculty

Current Research (October 2013)

Steve Avella has several projects underway, including A History of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, a commissioned book that will commemorate the centenary of the diocesan founding anda biography of C.K. McClatchy (1858–1936), long-time editor and publisher of the Sacramento Beethat is under consideration by the University of Missouri Press. In mid-2014, he will bring outa new book entitledConfidence and Crisis: A History of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 1959-1977.This is asequel toIn the Richness of the Earth, his history of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Alan Ball has launched a blog titled SCOWstats.  SCOW is the abbreviation for Supreme Court of Wisconsin, and the blog is a vehicle for presenting statistical studies of the court's decisions.  Check it out at  He is also completing revisions of a book manuscript titled Liberty's Tears: Soviet Portraits of the "American Way of Life" During the Cold War, to be published by Oxford University Press.

Michael Donoghue has already made two research trips to Cuba for his next project, Race, Gender, and Identity in U.S. Military-Cuban Relations 1941-1964, which 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.

Alison Clark Efford has begun two major projects: 1)Suicide and the Immigrant Experienceexamines the "epidemic of suicide" observed among immigrants in the late nineteenth-century, touching on contemporary understandings of the dislocation of migration, the toll of industrialization, and the characteristics of different ethnic groups, and 2)At the Confluence of Empires: Samoa in the WWI Era, which examines interactions among the imperial powers with designs on Samoa during the early twentieth century: Britain (by proxy through New Zealand), the United States, and Germany. The activities and response of Samoans will also be a vital area of investigation.

A. Kristen Foster’s current project is Haiti's Mirror:  A Look at the Impact of the Haitian Revolution on American Ideas about Equality, which will examine the connections between the Haitian Revolution and changes in the status of free black men in the new American republic, as 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.

Carla Hay has two major works in progress: Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century England, and Radicals in Petticoats:  Gender, Class, and Ideology, a comparative study of Mary Wollstonecraft and Catharine Macaulay.

Thomas Jablonsky recently co-authored with colleague Steven Avella an invited essay entitled "Milwaukee's Catholicism Intersects with Deindustrialization and White Flight: 1950-1990" for inclusion in the forthcoming, three-volume The Changing World Religion Map to be published internationally later this year by Springer Publications. He also wrote a pamphlet on the evolution and development of Marquette University for the MU's Office of Mission and Identity. Along the way, he has completed the research and has now started drafting biographical essays for inclusion in his next book,Guardians of the Angels: The Los Angeles Mayors, 1850-1904.

Lezlie Knox continues her research into gender and religious orders in Medieval Europe with three projects: Gender and Franciscan History, a book project growing out of a series of essays on what a gendered history of a religious order might look like—topics include masculinity of the Franciscan friars, Francis of Assisi’s androgyny, the fraught relationships between the friars and sisters, life in female communities, and the lay movement where women often had leadership roles; Mariano of Florence: An Ordinary Friar, a part biography, part analysis of his works that will include a translation of his major chronicle on the Clarisses; and an exploration of prisons and imprisonment practices within the Franciscan and Dominican Orders in the Later Middle Ages

Chima Korieh is currently working on a monograph and on a collection of sources:  Untold Stories: An African Society's Experiences and Contributions during the Second World War, and Life Not Worth Living’: Nigerian Petitions Reflecting an African Society’s Experiences During World War II.

John Krugler is writing Saving its Past: The State of Maryland and Historic St. Mary's City, 1964-1985, a companion study to his recently published book, Saving its Heritage: Wisconsin's Struggle to Create an Outdoor Museum of Immigrant Architecture and History, 1947-1977 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). Saving its Past narrates the state of Maryland’s creation of a commemorative/historical museum at the site of Maryland's founding in 1634. It will take its place as part of a growing body of literature dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the museum creation process for both public and private institutions.

Andrew Larsen is currently working on a multi-book project examining student violence at the University of Oxford in the Late Middle Ages. His current book, still in preparation, will focus on the St. Scholastica's Day Riot of 1355. He also works on popular and academic heresy in England.

James Marten has just finished America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace, a short biography on the life and times of the disabled Civil War veteran and activist James R. Tanner that will be published by the University of Georgia Press.  He has just begun work on the second of three biographies in his “Gilded Age Trilogy,” a book about Lesley Keeley, the creator of a wildly popular Gilded Age cure for alcoholism, the “double bi-chloride of gold.”

Laura Matthew’s new project is Circulations: Death and Opportunity in Southern Pacific Mesoamerica, 1500-1620, a monograph on Mesoamerican migration and trade patterns along the southern Pacific coasts of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador in the sixteenth century that will examine the extent to which the toll of epidemic disease, military invasion, and early colonialism impacted longstanding economic and ethnic relationships in the region.She is also collaborating with University of Texas linguistic anthropologist Sergio Romeroon the translation and study of several colonial-era documents in the Nahuatl dialect of Pipil.

Timothy G. McMahon’s current book-length project is Eire-Imperator: Ireland's Imperial Ambivalence, which is on the impact of activity within the British Empire by Irish men and women on concepts of national identity within Ireland between 1860-1920.

Daniel Meissner has two books in the works: Serve the People will investigate the personal histories and current situations of China’s last college class to be primarily shaped by both the Cultural Revolution and post-Mao reforms, while Taming Shanghai:  Late Imperial Diplomacy and Corruption under George F. Seward is a study of American consular reforms in China at the turn of the twentieth century.

Phillip C. Naylor has a number of endeavors underway.  They include:  Byzantium: A Transcultural Commonwealth, which will be a survey of the Byzantine Empire emphasizing the role of transculturalism; Rock and Roll: A History of Insurgency, Synergy, and Liturgy, which will explore rock and roll music as a cipher for modern American history and its transcultural nature; and a Malik Bennabi: Individuation and the Imagination of Nation and Civilization, which will examine the life and ideas of Malik Bennabi (1905-73), a renowned Algerian intellectual and Islamist, not as a biography, but as a locus for the history of Algeria and Islamicate civilization.

Julius Ruff’s Bandits: A Study of Criminal Bands in the Eighteenth-Century Ile-de-France will be a monograph based on research in the records of the Parlement of Paris (France's foremost appeals court prior to 1789) as well as trial records of lower courts involving the numerous organized criminal bands that flourished in the region prior to the French Revolution.

Peter Staudenmaier has finished revisions on his first book, Between Occultism and Nazism: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era (which will be published by Brill) and has begun his next project, The Politics of Blood and Soil: Environmental Ideals in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Michael Wert’s first book, Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan, will be published by Harvard Asia Center Press late in 2013. He has already started his next project on swordsmanship in early modern Japan, which asks how it was that swordsmanship developed as a culture art during this period and why non-samurai began practicing in swordsmanship in greater numbers during the eighteenth century. The project will incorporate notions of social and cultural capital, critical theory common in sociology and history, to trace the growth of violence in early nineteenth century Japan, and explore the formation of elite male identity. He has also started a third project tentatively titled Little Yellow Tommy, about an apprentice interpreter on the first Japanese embassy to the US in 1860, who became a source of fascination among the American press and young women alike.


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