Colonel W. Wayde Benson (USMC Ret.) Fellowships

The Dale Center for the Study of War & Society is pleased to offer two Colonel W. Wayde Benson (USMC ret.) Fellowships every academic year, which offer a $2000 stipend to exceptional students specializing in the field of War & Society in Southern Miss's graduate history program. These fellowships are made possible through the generous donation of Col. W. Wayde Benson (USMC, Ret.).


2013-2014 Colonel W. Wayde Benson Fellows:

Jason Engle, Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European History and War & Society

Jason Engle's research examines the continuity of civic militarism in the Alpine regions of Austria, focusing primarily on the district-based shooting estates (Schießstände) in the Tirol region and their members' (Catholic) Church-inspired tradition of war volunteerism.  The deeply intertwined relationship between civil society and military service was a formative influence on the Heimwehr (home guard) movement that emerged in the aftermath of World War I, providing a ready-made institutional framework.  At the same time, the traditional Schützen (in this case, 'militia') culture also embodied what the Dollfuss/Schuschnigg Vaterland Front promoted as a distinctly Austrian identity, beyond the ethno-linguistic identity shared with Reich Germans.  The Benson Fellowship will provide Jason with financial assistance to conduct archival research at the Tiroler Landesarchiv in Innsbruck, Austria.  The archive houses Tirol's defense ministry records which will provide insight into the role shooting estates played in the region's wartime mobilization. Jason also plans to work in local association collections which might provide a more intimate look at Tirol's shooting estates as cultural institutions. He will study the private papers of the region's influential Heimwehr organization, as well, to measure how much its membership drew upon the protocols of Tirol's historic militia system.


Allan Branstiter, Incoming Ph.D. Student in American History and War & Society

Allan Branstiter's dissertation seeks to connect the Civil War era to the emergence of the United States as a modern global power in the late-nineteenth century. Beginning with the Union Army's occupation of Mississippi during and after the war, he will explore how wartime and Reconstruction-era policies and experiences influenced Americans’ redefinition of citizenship, gender, and race not only at home, but also as the nation’s influence expanded in Latin America, the American West, and Asia. The Benson Fellowship will support Allan’s archival research at Smith College in the Ames family papers, which include the influential writings of Adelbert Ames, Union Army and Spanish American War General, Radical Republican Senator and military governor of Mississippi. Allan will also work in the papers of Confederate expatriates to measure how their encounters abroad influenced the memory of the Civil War, conceptions of American citizenship, race, and gender, and Mississippi's place within the global South.