Greetings from the Richards Center! 


We hope you enjoy our latest newsletter below.


Interested in becoming a member of the Richards Center? Click here!


Best regards, 


Matt Isham 

Managing Director 

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center 

Penn State

April 2021 Newsletter
Center News

Center Welcomes Two Postdoctoral Fellows

We are pleased to announce that Mycah Conner and Kellen Heniford will join the Richards Center in August 2021 as postdoctoral Fellows in the Civil War Era. The expansion of the fellowship program to support two Fellows enables the Richards Center to promote a broad range of innovative, new scholarship that will shape future study of the Civil War era. We are excited to welcome Mycah and Kellen to Penn State and the Richards Center, and we look forward to helping them further their outstanding scholarship.


Mycah Conner will receive her PhD in History from Harvard in May 2021. She specializes in the history of slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Her dissertation, “‘On this Bare Ground’: The Ordeal of Freedpeople’s Camps and the Making of Emancipation in the Civil War West,” is a history of the battles for freedom and self-determination in the Western and upper Trans-Mississippi Theaters of the war. It situates the West as emancipation’s starting point. Centrally, it is a study of the freedpeople’s defenses of their futures, their children, and other kin—in the face of cupidity, indifference, and bold and innovative cruelty. She holds broader interests in social histories of the South, the Midwest, and the ways in which a westward shift of focus can change our understanding of emancipation and subsequent freedom struggles. As a Richards Center fellow, she will begin to turn her dissertation into a book manuscript and will start a second project on the lives of ageing or elderly freedpeople in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her work has been supported by the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History and the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on the Politics of Kinship at Tufts University.


Kellen Heniford will receive her PhD in US History from Columbia University in June 2021. Her dissertation is entitled “Slavery is Slavery: Early American Mythmaking and the Invention of the Free State.” It examines the concept of the “free state” as a political construct with a history of its own, arguing that policymakers along the borders of slavery and freedom helped create the category of the free state and then sought to claim it—despite the persistence of chattel slavery within their states—in a bid for the moral capital the concept offered them. During her time at the Richards Center, she will work to prepare her dissertation for publication as a book manuscript. An article based on her dissertation research is forthcoming in the Journal of the Early Republic. She has published on history and politics in a number of other outlets, including  Insurrect!: Radical Thinking in Early American Studies, where she also serves as a founding editor. Her research has been supported by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies as well as the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Incoming Postdoctoral Fellows Mycah Conner (L) and Kellen Heniford (R)
2021 Catto-LeCount Fellows Program for Equity and Inclusion
The Richards Center hosted its annual Catto-LeCount Fellows Program for Equity and Inclusion March 2527 over Zoom. Formerly known as the Emerging Scholars Undergraduate Mentoring Program, this initiative introduces talented undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to graduate education in history. Fourteen Fellows participated in this year's virtual program. The Fellows represented a variety of institutions, from large universities Texas State University and USC to Ivy League institutions Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Harvard University. During the program, they learned about the graduate application process, graduate student life, and the history profession. Fellows were introduced to Penn State's innovative dual-title degree programs in history and African American studies and history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. They also learned about the Latina/o Studies program and were exposed to the professional development opportunities offered by sister centers, like the Africana Research Center, the Center for Black Digital Research, and the Humanities Institute.
Three alumni of the Catto-LeCount Fellows Program, Richard Daily, Alexandria Herrera, and, most recently, Keon Burns, have been admitted to graduate study in history at Penn State, since the program's inception. Daily is a doctoral candidate in history and African American studies, and Herrera is a doctoral candidate in history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Burns will begin his graduate study in August 2021. The Fellows program is named in honor of Octavius V. Catto (18391871) and Caroline LeCount (18461923), who were scholars, educators, and civil rights leaders in Civil War era Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Catto-LeCount Fellows Alumni (L-R) Richard Daily ('16), Alexandria Herrera ('17), and Keon Burns ('18)
Ann Richards Graduate Student Essay Awards
Earlier this month the Department of History recognized the winners of the Ann Richards Awards at its annual awards ceremony. The Richards Awards are open to all graduate students in the department. They are given in two categories, one for students still completing their coursework stage (known as pre-ABD) and the other for doctoral candidates who have completed all required coursework and exams (ABD). In the pre-ABD category, Steve Casement won for his paper, “Imagining Empire: Darien, Poyais, and the Scottish Attempt at Colony-Building in the Americas." Rick Yoder's paper, “Hysterical Knowledge: Gender, Miracles, and Authority at Saint-Médard,” was awarded second place. In the ABD category, S. H. Kang earned the award for his essay, “Between the Senyera and the Red-Black Flag: Catalanism, Anarcho-Syndicalism, and the Contested Imagination of the City in Early Twentieth Century Barcelona.” Frank Lacopo's paper, "The Curious Case of Ancona: “Levantines,” Accommodationism, and Papal Imperialism in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean, 1532­­–1555," earned second place. 
Each Ann Richards Award comes with a $200 prize to help support graduate students' research. The History Graduate Student Association organizes the award competition. The awards were created in 2013 to honor Ann Richards who, along with her husband George, made a spectacular contribution to the Civil War Era Center in 2002, providing it with the permanent means to fund graduate and faculty research and public outreach programs. In recognition of their generosity, the University named the Richards Center in George and Ann’s honor
Center Co-Sponsors Angela Davis Keynote Address
Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California Santa Cruz, delivered the keynote address on Monday, April 19 for the Restorative Justice Initiative's (RJI) Justice Education Week. The Richards Center partnered with the RJI to co-sponsor Dr. Davis's keynote address. The RJI provides rehabilitative and empowering educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals. It also researches and critiques America's carceral system. Dr. Davis's address explored carcerality, its history, and relationship to systemic oppression, and the role abolitionist, liberatory pedagogy can play for educators, especially those working with students that are incarcerated or previously incarcerated, in and out of carceral settings.
Faculty News
In March, Cathleen Cahill gave a virtual talk for the Autry Museum of the American West. Dr. Cahill discussed her recent book, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement. The book examines the efforts of a diverse coalition of women to make the suffrage movement more inclusive and more expansive in its aims of securing equal rights for women in the early twentieth century.
In March, Amira Rose Davis was honored as the 2021 Sherman Emerging Scholar at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As the Sherman Scholar, Dr. Davis delivered the annual Sherman Lecture, titled "From Raised Fists to Bended Knees: Sports, Protests, and Global Politics." She also participated in a roundtable with other invited scholars about the intersections of sports, social protest, and global politics. Also in March, Dr. Davis delivered an invited talk at Bucknell University, titled "Black Women and the (In)Visibility of Athletic Activism: Past, Present, and Future."
Martha Few, professor of Latin American history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, was awarded a prestigious Long-Term Fellowship from the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois, in March. This residential fellowship program funds Fellows' research and brings together scholars to participate in seminars and colloquia. Dr. Few also earned a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society for the next academic year. Franklin Research Grants fund travel to libraries and archives and the purchase of research materials.
On March 22, professor of history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies Lori Ginzberg delivered Saint Joseph's University's annual Francis X. Gerrity Lecture. Dr. Ginzberg delivered her talk, "Rights, Racism, and Commemoration: The Complex Legacies of Elizabeth Cady Stanton," via Zoom. 
Andrew Sandoval-Strausz's latest book,  Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City, won the 2020 Denver Public Library’s Caroline Bancroft History Prize. The $1,000 Bancroft Prize is awarded annually to the "author of the best book on Colorado or Western American history."  Barrio America recounts how Latina and Latino immigrants revitalized American cities following years of disinvestment in the mid- to late-twentieth century. Dr. Sandoval-Strausz discusses the book in this 2019 lecture at Chicago's Newberry Library.
Postdoctoral Fellows
Maryam Aziz, Richards Center and Africana Research Center postdoctoral Fellow in African American history, published an essay in the Sunday, April 18 edition of  The Washington Post's  Made by History platform. The essay examined the history of unarmed police violence against Black citizens. Earlier in April, she participated in a workshop for her book manuscript, Built with Our Empty Fists: The Rise and Circulation of Black Power Martial Artistry During the Cold War. Distinguished scholars Dr. Alondra Nelson, Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and president of the Social Science Research Council, and Dr. Roderick Ferguson, professor and chair of women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University, provided detailed feedback on the manuscript to assist Dr. Aziz in preparing it for publication.
Jonathan Jones, the Richards Center postdoctoral Fellow in Civil War history, earned the Distinguished Dissertation Award in Humanities and Fine Arts from Binghamton University's Graduate School. Dr. Jones's dissertation is titled, "Opium Slavery: Veterans and Addiction in the American Civil War Era." Jones also contributed an essay, "Buying and Selling Health and Manhood: Civil War Veterans and Opiate Addiction 'Cures,'" to the edited collection, Buying and Selling Civil War Memory in Gilded Age America. The book will be published in July by University of Georgia Press. In March, Jones also was interviewed on Finding the Source, a program by the Civil War Institute (CWI) at Gettysburg College. He spoke about the unique sources he used to study opiate addiction among Civil War veterans.
Graduate Student News
Richard Daily, a doctoral candidate in history and African American studies, recently was named to the inaugural cohort of the Social Media Corps (SMC). SMC is a program designed to guide scholars in using social media to promote arts and humanities scholarship. It is a part of the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities initiative at the University of Maryland. In February, Daily published a review of To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS by Dan Royles. The review appears on the Nursing Clio website. At the Department of History's spring awards ceremony, Daily also received a Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Endowment award to support his dissertation research.
Doctoral candidate Edward Green earned a Lynne G. and Laurence H. Brown Family Endowment award to support his scholarly research. Green is a historian of the nineteenth century United States and its relationship with Native Americans. He currently is researching the operations of early nineteenth century federal trading houses on Native American lands.
Doctoral candidate Jamie Henton was awarded Lynne G. and Laurence H. Brown Family Endowment and

Mark and Lucy MacMillan Stitzer Graduate Program

Fund grants to support her scholarly research. Henton's research interests include race relations between African Americans and Native Americans in the twentieth-century U.S. South, Native American experiences with Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, issues of blood quantum and mixed-blood experiences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and federal Indian education policy in the mid- to late-twentieth century.

Megan Kessler Hildebrand, a doctoral candidate in history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, will present a paper at the twenty-first annual Conference on Women and the Civil War, July 2425, 2021. Her presentation will discuss relationships between Roman Catholic nuns serving as nurses and their Protestant soldier patients. The conference, which will take place virtually, is sponsored by the Society for Women and the Civil War. Hildebrand also received a Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Endowment award and a Hill Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Department of History. The awards will support her ongoing dissertation research.
Carolyn Levy, a doctoral candidate in history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, has been awarded a $5,000 dissertation release fellowship for fall 2021 from the College of the Liberal Arts' Research and Graduate Studies Office (RGSO). The release will afford Levy time to work on her dissertation, "Benevolent Surveillance: Prison Matrons and Women's Prison Reform in Nineteenth-Century America." Levy also earned a Hill Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Department of History.
AJ Perez, a doctoral candidate in history and African American studies, earned a James Landing Graduate Fellowship in History award from the department of history. Perez is a historian of the nineteenth century United States with scholarly interests in the history of race and Latin America. His dissertation project examines Texas as a site of successful American expansionism and a model for future expansionist projects in the nineteenth century.
Paulina Rodriguez, a doctoral candidate in history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, has been awarded two grants from the North American Society for Sport History: a dissertation travel grant and the Joe Arbena Latin-American Sport History Grant. Her dissertation, “Deportistas! Mexican American Women, Sporting Citizenship, and Belonging in the Twentieth Century,” won second place at the Graduate School's annual Graduate Exhibition. She was recognized as an alternate for the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies. At the Department of History's spring awards ceremony, Rodriguez also received an Edwin Erle Sparks Fellowship award and a Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Endowment award to fund her ongoing dissertation research.
At the Department of History's spring awards ceremony, doctoral candidate Moyra Schauffler was awarded a Mark and Lucy MacMillan Stitzer Graduate Program Fund grant. The grant will aid her doctoral research, which considers the long history of veterans’ institutional care in the nineteenth century. She is interested in examining how veterans’ care facilities in the early republic ultimately informed the establishment of soldiers’ and sailors’ homes following the Civil War. 
Doctoral candidate Heather Walser earned an Edwin Erle Sparks Fellowship and a Warren W. Hassler Graduate Fellowship to support her dissertation research. Walser also received the E-tu Zen Sun Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of History. A historian of U.S. politics, culture, and law in the nineteenth century, Walser's dissertation project examines the roots of the amnesty crisis which occurred at the conclusion of the American Civil War.
Postdoctoral Fellow Alumni News
Alaina Roberts, assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, published her first book, I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land, earlier this month. Dr. Roberts was the Richards Center and Africana Research Center postdoctoral Fellow in African American history for the 2017­­–18 academic year. During her fellowship, she developed the manuscript of I've Been Here All the While. The University of Pennsylvania Press published the book as part of its America in the Nineteenth Century series. She will discuss her book via Zoom with the editors of the Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 21. Register for the book talk here.
This publication is available in alternative media upon request. Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. U.Ed. 21-552

Richards Civil War Era Center | 108 Weaver Building | University Park, PA 16802

View this email in your browser
You are receiving this email because of your relationship with the Richards Center. Please reconfirm your interest in receiving emails from us. If you do not wish to receive any more emails, you can unsubscribe here.
This message was sent from to
108 Weaver Building, University Park, PA, 16802

Update Profile/Email Address | Forward Email | Report Abuse