The Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies has awarded fellowships to three faculty members, five graduate students, and one postdoctoral scholar for 2018-19. The institute also named its graduate student liaison for the next academic year.

Recipients will join faculty and graduate students from history and other departments for a series of lectures, workshops, and symposia. These ten fellows join more than 150 others who have earned Eisenberg fellowships since the institute’s inception in 2006. The institute announces its annual fellowship program in December and issues the awards in spring. The faculty, graduate student, and liaison award terms are July 1 to June 30; the postdoctoral award term is September 1 to August 31. These awards have been made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.

2018-19 Faculty Fellowships

  • Rita Chin, Professor, History, University of Michigan
    • Chin’s new book looks at non-European women who migrated to postwar Britain as household workers. Although the Downton Abbey narrative suggests that domestic service vanished by the 1940s, her story proposes a more complicated transformation. Domestic servitude did not disappear. It changed color—from white, working class women to postcolonial, non-European women. And changed locales—waning as a privilege of the great aristocratic houses, while becoming a necessity for upper-middle-class households with educated women seeking careers outside the home.
  • Paul C. Johnson; Professor; History, Afroamerican and African Studies; University of Michigan
    • Johnson's project, Automaton Autonomy: On Religion, Agency and the Nearhuman, poses a deceptively simple question: What is the specific form of agency called “religion”—a domain featuring human bodies being acted-through or otherwise calibrating individual will to extrahuman powers? It builds a new perspective on religion as the performance of suspended, deferred, or non-autonomous agency, and as the craft of recoding human acts as automatic; as originating from outside. From this point of view, religion is less a quest after agency than a series of contexts and situations designed to be at least temporarily relieved of it.
  • Hitomi Tonomura; Professor; History, Women's Studies; University of Michigan
    • A component of a larger work on the “culture of blood,” Tonomura’s project examines evolving notions of blood that articulated gender in the age of war and wariness (fifteenth-sixteenth centuries): lofty blood intentionally drawn from the samurai’s finger to seal an oath and uncontrollable blood excreting from a female aperture that came to embody pollution.

2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Matthew Woodbury, History, University of Michigan
    • During his fellowship, Woodbury will teach classes on environmental and British imperial history, revise an article about the exclusion of Māori voices from processes of colonial decision-making, and develop a new research project about the commodification of fiber made from New Zeland flax (Phormium tenax).

2018-19 Graduate Student Research Fellowship

  • Maximillian Alvarez; PhD Candidate; History, Comparative Literature; University of Michigan
    • During his fellowship, Alvarez will draft and revise a dissertation chapter, which tracks the ideological, artistic, and tactical evolution of the Partido Comunista Mexicano in the 1920s-30s through the changing practices of producing, disseminating, and consuming its official party organ, El machete, in the emergent, postrevolutionary age of mass media.
  • Jan DeWitt, PhD Candidate, Greek and Roman History, University of Michigan
    • Support from the Eisenberg Institute will allow DeWitt to continue working on his dissertation. In the fall, he will make a trip to Rome in order to visit a number of museums with collections of inscriptions, which are some of our best documentary evidence for the administration of the city.
  • Johanna Folland, PhD Candidate, History, University of Michigan
    • Support from the Eisenberg Institute will allow Hanna to conduct follow-up research at several archives this summer, including the German Federal Archives and Stasi archives in Berlin and the World Health Organization archives in Geneva.
  • Fedor Maksimishin, PhD Student, History, University of Michigan
    • As an Eisenberg research fellow, Maksimishin plans to engage with some of the stranniki’s documents preserved in the archive of the city of Yaroslavl’. He is particularly interested in a set of papers of Apolinaria Ivanova, a sectarian who became a spy for the government.
  • Daniela Sheinin, PhD Candidate, History, University of Michigan
    • During her time as a research fellow, Sheinin has two trips planned to complete her dissertation research. She will consult records at various archives in New York City, as well as the National Archives in Washington, DC.

2018-19 Graduate Student Liaison

  • Paula Curtis, PhD Candidate, History, University of Michigan
    • During the 2018-2019 academic year, Paula intends to complete her dissertation and enter the academic job market. She will also be coordinating a workshop in winter 2018 on the global Middle Ages.