Left to right: Hiroaki Matsusaka, John Smith, Paula Curtis, Kate Wroblewski, Cyrus O'Brien, Bruno Renero-Hannan, Anna MacCourt, Kate Waggoner Karchner (photo: Sean Carter Photography)

Sunlight streamed through the windows of the Michigan League Koessler Room on the evening of Friday, May 3, as nine students completing their doctoral studies gathered with friends, family, and faculty to celebrate. 

Director of Graduate Studies Brian Porter-Szucs served as emcee for the event, offering welcome remarks before honoring students who received prestigious awards for their dissertations. Sarah Mass and Joost Van Eynde were both recognized as recipients of the 2019 Arthur Fondiler Dissertation Prize, while Cyrus O'Brien was acknowledged for receiving the ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. 

Individual PhD graduates were then recognized by members of their dissertation committee, and had the opportunity to speak about their own development as scholars. Students recognized at the ceremony were: 

Paula R. Curtis
Inauthentic Truths: Forgery, Authority, and Economy in Medieval Japan
(Chair: Hitomi Tonomura)

Walker Elliot 
The Colorblind Turn in Indian Country: Lumbee Indians, Civil Rights, and Tribal State Formation
(Chairs: Matthew Lassiter and Philip Deloria)

Anna MacCourt
Lord of the Universe Among Equals: The Challenges of Kingship in Early Historic/Early Medieval Gujarat
(Chair: Carla Sinopoli)

Hiroaki Matsusaka
Border Crossings: Anti-Imperialism and Race-Making in Transpacific Movements, 1910-1951
(Chairs: Leslie Pincus and Penny Von Eschen)

Cyrus O'Brien
Redeeming Imprisonment: Religion and the Development of Mass Incarceration in Florida
(Chair: Timothy R. B. Johnson and Savithry Namboodiripad)

Bruno Renero-Hannan
In the Wake of Insurgency: Testimony and the Politics of Memory and Silence in Oaxaca
(Chairs: Ruth Behar and Sueann Caulfield)

John S.F. Smith
State, Community, and Ethnicity in Early Modern Thailand, 1351-1767
(Chair: Victor Lieberman)

Kate Waggoner Karchner
Europe, Islam, and the Role of the Church in the Afterlife of a Medieval Polemic, 1301-1543
(Chair: Hussein Fancy)

Kathleen Wroblewski
Migration to the Self: Education, Political Economy, and Religious Authority in Polish Communities, 1880-1929
(Chair: Brian Porter-Szucs)

View the 2019 PhD Commencement Program (PDF). Selected photos are available below. Please contact hist.outreach@umich.edu for a complete gallery of high-resolution photos of this event.