Current Graduate Students

ian-burnsIan Burns

Field: Ireland and the British Empire

Advisor: Sean Farrell                 


I am a Ph.D. candidate specializing in modern Ireland and the British Empire, with secondary fields in French Empire, as well as Humanitarianism and Visual Culture. My dissertation, “In the Service of Ireland: The Irish Volunteers, 1913-1916” interrogates the intersections of identity, violence, and nationalism within this organization. Using an episodic format to recast major events involving the Irish Volunteers, I argue that the differences apparent within this group throughout 1913-1916 are so critical that a singular Irish Volunteer organization never fully coalesced. Instead, I identify three separate manifestations of the Volunteers. Ever conscious of their place in history, this essential Volunteer volatility is a paradoxical, and at the same time, central factor, in obscuring answers to the question of the Irish Volunteers’ ultimate place in the early Irish Revolutionary period. 


Katrina ChludzinskiKatrina Chludzinski

Field: Southeast Asian History

Dissertation Title: 

Advisor: Trude Jacobsen


Currently I am a PhD candidate studying Burmese history. My dissertation is titled “Choosing Race: The Constructions of Anglo-Burman Identity, 1885-1962.” While my MA research focused on gender constructions in colonial Burma, my dissertation concerns the construction of ethnic, national and gender identities of Anglo-Burmans in the twentieth century. 

ChoiHeeyoung Choi

Field: Modern Korea; Asian immigration to Hawai`i; ethnomusicology

Advisor: E. Taylor Atkins

Contact: or 

My research investigates musical nationalism in the Korean diaspora, focusing on early twentieth century Korea and Hawai`i Korean immigrants, who had unique opportunities to study the cultural convergence of multi-ethnic immigrant populations. By capitalizing on my previous educational background in Asian music history and Korean musicology from South Korea, my work examines how the performing arts have influenced cultural exchange and identity formation among immigrants in 20th century Hawai`i. 

Alex Craver

Fields: Russia and the Soviet Union, Environmental

Advisor: Andy Bruno


I am a PhD student focused on the Soviet Union and its environmental, technological, and industrial history. My previous research has been on American-Soviet business relations during the 1920's and the social construction of Soviet industrial machinery in the 1930's.


DresslerNicole Dressler

Field: Early America

Advisor:   Aaron Fogleman   


I am a Ph.D. candidate specializing in early America, with research interests in labor and the history of humanitarianism. My dissertation explores the role that British convict transportation and penal servitude in America played in the early history of humanitarianism, arguing that emerging ideas of punishment, morality and unfreedom evoked by convict labor created new moral responsibilities and inspired novel denunciations of suffering in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-American world. It is tentatively titled, “The ‘Vile Commodity’: Criminal Servitude, Authority, and the Rise of Humanitarianism in the Anglo-American World, 1718-1820.” I am a recipient of the 2016-2017 Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Dissertation Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia.


fendrickKylie Fendrick

Field of Study:  Latin America


Advisor: Kristin Huffine

I am a PhD Student with interests in Jesuit science during the colonial period throughout Latin America.  I have researched the intersections of race and science in Jesuit work in Paraguay and Brazil.  I am intrigued by the ways in which scientific thinking has changed throughout the colonial period and the ways in which Jesuit scientific production influenced the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and the colonial structures that were created throughout Latin America.

IversonJustin Iverson

Field: Early America, Black Atlantic, Nineteenth-century US


I research the nature of slave revolts and marronnage in early America and in the Atlantic World, and I take a comparative approach to assess how the practice of arming slaves related to these resistance strategies. I also examine how enslaved families experienced these violent episodes.


kwosekSusan Kwosek

Fields:  Atlantic History

Dissertation Advisor:  Aaron Fogleman


My interest in Haitian Vodou has directed my research as an undergraduate and graduate student in the Anthropology Department at NIU where I received my B.A. and my M.A. before coming to the Department of History to work on my Ph.D.  My research has taken many forms from library research, to fieldwork in the United States and in Haiti, to oral history and examination of primary sources ranging from altars to artwork to social media. I have followed the data where it has led, beginning in Africa and the Middle East, through the Caribbean and to the United States. I maintain long-term relationships with my research participants and have worked with the same family lineage and community since 2005, bracing through Hurricane Dean in Haiti with them and suffering long-distance as we lost one third of our community during the earthquake in 2010. It is only through the generosity, hospitality and openness of these people that my research has been made possible.

losavioJoAnn LoSavio

Fields: Transnational History (Modern Southeast Asia, Twentieth Century U.S., British Twentieth Century)

Advisor: Trude A. Jacobsen


My dissertation examines Southeast Asian women from Burma, Malaysia (Malaya), and Thailand as transnational actors between 1950 and 1970. By focusing on transnational processes of “overseas” education my research explicates how and why did these young women become transnational actors. I am a recipient of the Carter G. Woodson Fellowship, 2017-2018.

luginbillKevin Luginbill

Field: British Empire

Advisor: Sean Farrell


I am a Ph.D. candidate exploring the intellectual history and ideological justifications for empire in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. My dissertation is tentatively titled "Building an Imperial World: Ideologies of Imperialism and the Tariff Reform Movement in the British Empire, 1900-1914." My work focuses on the Edwardian-era Tariff Reform campaign of Joseph Chamberlain, who sought to reform Britain's economic relationship with its colonies to lay the foundation for the creation of an imperial federation between Britain and the colonies. The arguments and ideas deployed in support or opposition to this scheme of imperial federation reveal the diverse and often contradictory ways in which the British people conceptualized and understood their relationship with their vast empire. Generous funding for archival research was made possible in part from North American Conference on British Studies' Pre-Dissertation Grant in 2016, as well as the Northern Illinois History Department's Large Grant in 2015-2016.

marachRobert "BJ" Marach

Field:  U.S. Civil War

Advisor: James Schmidt


I am a Ph.D. student.  My research focuses on Civil War veterans.  Specifically, I examine issues that were never reconciled between veterans on both sides.

PalsaHannah Palsa

Field of study:  20th Century U.S., Public History


I am an M.A. student focusing on the use of dogs during World War II. My research intends to explore the development of Dogs for Defense which was established with the help of AKC Poodle Breeder, Alene Erlanger during World War II. I am intending to focus on not only just Dogs for Defense, Alene Erlanger, but also the methods used to train war dogs, the breed specifications, types of war dogs and the process of demobilization. My goal is to explore the themes of domestication and the use of a working dog to explore how civilians felt about loaning their dogs in the name of Dogs for Defense but also how these acts inspired patriotism in civilians. Before deciding to become a historian, I had planned to become a veterinary technician and focus on canine behavior.

John Marc Reynolds

Field: African American

Dissertation Advisor: Rosemary Feurer


I am a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on wage garnishment and consumer credit discrimination in the mid twentieth-century. I am currently working on a dissertation titled, "Experiences with Garnishment in Chicago, Illinois: Systems of Indebtedness in the Global City."

Alex SosenkoAlexander Sosenko

Field: Twentieth-Century Ukraine, Soviet Union, Human Rights

Dissertation Advisor: Andy Bruno


My doctoral project examines the metamorphosis of a 1960s Ukrainian literary & aesthetic avant-garde movement (Sixtiers) into the 1970s cause célèbre of Amnesty International's global campaign. The scholarship is contextualized within the framework of Cold War ideological struggles, the evolving natures of Soviet repression and Ukrainian identity and the galvanization of an international human rights movement. Sources range from early 1960s poetry testing boundaries of socialist-realism, underground Sixtier samizdat literature and internationally disseminated NGO periodicals.  My research also delves into North America's expansive network of émigré-exile publishing houses and diasporic activism.

While originally interested in early colonial Latin America, my upbringing as a second-generation American in Chicago's Ukrainian diaspora community undoubtedly guided my graduate career.  After completing UIUC's Slavic Studies M.A., I served as an adjunct instructor in writing, humanities, and international business & economics.  As a Ph.D. student, my interests encompassed Soviet emigration and the complex relationship between Ukrainian nationalism and Ukraine’s historical borderland character. Recent visiting scholarship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum also invigorated an interest in Ukraine’s Shoah and Germany’s postwar "Displaced Persons" camps.

StewardJourney Steward

Fields: Global, Comparative

Advisors:  Nancy Wingfield, Sean Farrell         


I am currently finishing my disseration, “Prostitution and American Immigration Policy: Panic over ‘White Slavery,’ 1890-1920." I have presented my work at the Sexuality, Human Rights, and Public Policy Conference, Marquette University; at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana Gender Symposium; and at the Hull History Center in Hull, Yorkshire.