Biographies of Current Graduate Students
Tracy L. Barnett (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2014 Millersville University of Pennsylvania. A native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Tracy Barnett is currently a second year MA student at the University of Southern Mississippi studying under Dr. Susannah J. Ural. Tracy’s thesis, “Maligned “Milish:” Mississippi Militiamen in the Civil War” argues that Mississippi militiamen developed a unique conception of military service based on their pre-war position within southern society. The Mississippi government, which oversaw the state’s militia defense system, proved unable to reconcile official policy with men’s localized perception of service. Instead, the Mississippi government created a centrally organized military system that undermined the militia’s efficiency. She is the recipient of the Dale Center Graduate Fellowship 2016-2017, Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship 2016, Colonel W. Wayde Benson Fellowship 2015-2016, Phi Alpha Theta’s Thomas S. Morgan Memorial Scholarship.
Robert Farrell (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2011 Spring Hill College. Robert is a native of Mobile, AL. His undergraduate thesis focused on President Lyndon Johnson’s response to the Civil Rights movement, and his influence on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Currently, he is studying antebellum politics under the supervision of Dr. Susannah J. Ural. His current research project focuses on nativists and the Know-Nothing Party in Alabama and South Carolina during the 1850s.
Lisa Foster (MA, War & Society) BA, History, summa cum laude, Honors College, 2008 University of Southern Mississippi. Lisa is a native Mississippian and her interests lie in Mississippi and Civil War history. Her Senior Thesis focused on the Jefferson Davis Beauvoir Soldiers’ Home. She also has over ten years museum experience at both Beauvoir – The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library (post-Katrina) and the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby. Working under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, Lisa is continuing her exploration of the Civil War Era.
Dawn Klos (MA History and Anthropology) Dawn is a dual student with Anthropology, received her BA from the University of New Orleans in 2015 with a specialization in European history. She is a native of Waveland, Mississippi. Her master's work is rooted in thirteenth century Ireland. Her research interests include ethnogenesis and identity construction throughout the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. She is currently working on a micro-history of the Bisset family. She is supervised by Dr. Lee Follett.
Richard Lovering (MA, War and Society) BA, Latin American Studies, 2007 Ohio State University. Richard comes from Columbus, Ohio and is a military student from the U.S. Army. He is interested in examining the interactions among the British, Americans, and South Vietnamese during Ngo Dinh Diem's strategic hamlet program. He is working under Dr. Andrew Wiest.
Aderian K. Partain (MA, War and Society) BA, History, summa cum laude, 2016 Mississippi State University. Aderian is a native of Sebastopol, Mississippi and a first year MA student at the University of Southern Mississippi. His interests lie in the history of naval warfare particularly during the 1600s-1800s, with a deep interest in the rise of organized naval powers in Europe and the role they played in the development of that era.
Guido Rossi (MA, War & Society) Laurea, History, University of Milan (Italy). Guido is an international student from Milan, Italy. His undergraduate thesis was an overall strategical and battle analysis of the conduct of the Italian campaign in World War II by the Allies, from the landings in Sicily until the conquest of Rome. Guido is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest, and his field of interest is the history of the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II. His thesis "Italian Fellas in Olive Drab: Exploring the Experiences of Italian-American Servicemen in World War II" will focus on the military service in the Italian theater of Americans of Italian descent.
Nicholas Schaefer (MA, Modern European History) BA, History, 2015 Spring Hill College. Nick is a native of Slidell, Louisiana and is currently studying under the direction of Dr. Allison Abra. Nick’s research interests include early twentieth century Europe and the World Wars. He plans to look at the First World War and the interwar period as the source of unresolved problems whose aftermath resulted in the Second World War. His broader interests include life in Britain, France, and Germany from the late nineteenth century through the end of the era of the World Wars and War and Society issues.
Emily Smith (MLIS and MA, American History) BA, cum laude, 2015 Mississippi State University. Emily Smigh is a native of Grenada, MS. Currently, she is working on her dual master’s in History and Library Science with a Graduate Certificate in Archives. Her primary research interest are the Civil Rights movement and the Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982. Focsing on race relations during the 1980s, she is examining how this act changed education during the 1980s. She is working under the direction of Dr. Rebecca A. Turri.
Hunter Boyd (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History 2010 Southeastern Louisiana University; BA, History, 2008 Southeastern Louisiana University. Studying under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, Hunter is focusing on American War and Society issues in the nineteenth century. Hunter’s interests include how party politics, demographic diversity, and underlying social/class tensions in Southern society contributed to both sectionalism and fierce inter-regional conflict during the Civil War Era. A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Hunter currently resides in Hammond.
Allan Branstiter (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2012 The University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, 2010 Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Allan is currently writing his dissertation “He Who Merits the Palm: California Volunteers and the Civil War,” an examination of how Californians who served in the Union Army reconciled their experiences as veterans and western settlers and constructed a distinctly western memory of the war's place in American history. His dissertation research also explores how the California Volunteers used their social status as veterans to oppose the burgeoning Gilded-Age order, racial equality, political centralization, Native American sovereignty, and Chinese immigration. Allan is a past recipient of the Colonel W. Wayde Benson Fellowship, as well as the Southern Miss History Department Phi Alpha Theta Graduate History Student Award. In 2016, Allan also won the American Historical Association’s Summer Blogger Award. He currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife Callie, an Undergraduate Engagement Librarian at the University of Kansas. He is also a veteran of the US Army, having served in Iraq as a Counter-mine/Counter-IED Specialist from 2004 to 2005.
Sean Buckelew (PhD, U.S. History 1867-Present) MA, History, 2015 San Diego State University; BA, Theater, University of Southern Mississippi. Sean's research interests include popular culture and sporting culture in late twentieth-century America as well as left-wing theater movements in interwar America. He is studying under the direction of Dr. Andrew P. Haley. Sean is currently working on preliminary research into race and gender dynamics in southern professional wrestling. Sean is also interested in museum design. His previous experience includes participation in the design of the 2014 Sunshine and Superheros exhibition for the Oakland Museum of California.
Kelly Cantrell (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2006 University of Southern Mississippi. Kelly is currently writing her dissertation “Consuming Victory: American Women and the Politics of Food Rationing During World War II,” which is advised by Dr. Andrew Haley. After completing her coursework at Southern Miss, Kelly became a faculty member at East Mississippi Community College. In her tenure there, she has won the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award (2009), been named a William Winter Scholar (2013), and was honored as the Golden Triangle Development Link’s Post-Secondary Educator of the Year (2013). Finally, she is the director of the EMCC Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa sponsor for the campus.
Colin M. Colbourn (PhD, U.S. History) MA, War and Society, 2009 The University of Southern Mississippi; BS, History, 2007 Ball State University. From 2006-2009, Colin interned with the U.S. Marine Corps History Division in Quantico, Virginia, aiding the Chief Historian as well as Reference and Historical branch historians in researching and writing official Marine Corps history. Now ABD, Colin’s dissertation will combine social and institutional history in an analysis of the U.S. Marine Corps’ employment of public relations from the turn of the twentieth century through the Second World War. During his time at Southern Miss, Colin has presented his research at conferences such as the SMH’s Annual Meeting, the Naval History Symposium, and the Meeting of the American Journalism Historians Association. Other conference work included both chairing and organizing the 2009 Regional International Security and Internal Safety Conference, hosted at USM. Colin also had the opportunity to participate in battlefield tours and studies of Italy, Sicily, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Vietnam. He is studying under the direction of Dr Andrew A. Wiest.
Dennis Cowles (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2006 University of New Orleans; BA, French, 2002 University of New Orleans. Research interests center on the intersections of imperial history and social history, specifically during eras of regime change. Other interests include ethnohistory, colonial Latin America, and the Atlantic world. Dennis worked for several years as an adjunct instructor of history in New Orleans and in the Boston area. He also has nearly 20 years' experience working in museums, including running a planetarium and working at the Paul Revere House. Dennis is an amateur astronomer and an avid reader of eighteenth-century English novels. His dissertation project, “The Ministers’ Coup: Communities, Networks, and the Glorious Revolution in Massachusetts,” is directed by Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.
Michael Doidge (PhD, U.S. History) Michael is currently researching his dissertation “An Army Worth Fighting For: Doctrinal, Strategic, and Bureaucratic Transformation in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1963.” Dr. Andrew Wiest advises his dissertation. The work argues that the Army’s post-World War II relationship to national security policy was the primary driving force behind the sweeping transformations it underwent during the early Cold War. A 2008 fellow at the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History, Michael was also awarded travel grants to the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Presidential Libraries, a George Marshall/Baruch Fellowship from the George Marshall Foundation, The Harry J. Carman Fellowship, and the U.S. Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship. In addition to working on his dissertation, Michael co-edited, with Professor Andrew Wiest, Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War, which examines the current state of Vietnam War historiography. Michael is currently an historian for the U.S. Army’s Combat Studies Institute of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Michael is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.
Zeynep Otluoglu Dursun (PhD, Soviet History) MA, Comparative Studies in History and Society, Koc University; BA, History and International Relations, Koc University. Zeynep is an international student from Istanbul, Turkey. Her MA thesis examined the role of Brezhnev in the 1964 coup and how he consolidated his power after the removal of Khrushchev. She is first year PhD student and focusing on the Brezhnev era and the collapse of the Soviet. She is studying under the direction of Dr. Brian LaPierre.
Jason Engle (PhD, Modern European History) MA, Norwich University. Jason, working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest, is specializing in Modern European History with concentrations in War and Society and Social History. His current research focuses on the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War and First Republic Austria. Jason's dissertation examines the paramilitary Heimwehr movement in interwar Austria. With the Tiroler Heimatwehr as his window into the movement, his project expands the conventional periodization, suggesting that continuities of Habsburg Tyrolean militarism was a formative influence on the organizational culture of the Tiroler Heimatwehr to a much greater extent than historians have acknowledged. Jason has presented his research at numerous regional and national conferences and has written several encyclopedia articles and book reviews, and had the opportunity to contribute an article to Contemporary Austrian Studies, Vol. 23 (University of New Orleans Press). He is also co-authoring a forthcoming contribution to Bibliographies in Military History (Oxford University Press) on the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces, 1868-1918. When not working on his dissertation, teaching, or grading, Jason enjoys spending time with friends and family, home improvement projects, brewing beer, and watching football.
Kevin Grubbs (PhD, U.S. History) BA, History, University of Texas-Arlington; MA, University of Southern Mississippi. Kevin is a second-year PhD student focusing on American History, as well as examining Latin American history as a minor area of concentration. His dissertation, which is directed by Dr. Max Grivno, explores the relationship between the Gulf South and the Caribbean as promoted by sailors and stevedores on trading ships during the nineteenth century. His work has appeared in the Journal of Mississippi History. Other interests include class and power in the American South during the Early Republic.
Shane Hand (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, & MLIS, 2011 University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, 2009 University of Alabama. Shane’s research interests include culture, race, and literacy during the early-twentieth century. His master thesis, “Transmitting Whiteness: Librarians, Children, & Race, 1900 – 1930s,” demonstrates how New Orleans public librarians facilitated the transmission of a white racist ideology of superiority and privilege through the collecting of children’s books for young readers. His current dissertation topic, an intellectual biography of Curious George, seeks to explain how H.A. and Margret Rey adapted racialized advertisements from Germany’s colonial period for American children readers during the mid-twentieth century. He is advised by Dr. Andrew P. Haley.
Jonathan Harton (PhD, Early American History) MA, Military History, 2012 University of North Georgia; BA, History, 2009 University of Georgia. Jonathan is a second year PhD student interested in the various ways local communities respond to and remember armed conflict, particularly in early North America. Jonathan’s MA thesis investigated how combining historical archaeology and documentary history could augment narrative creation and local memory for northwest Georgia’s U.S. Civil War history. His current research focus examines the martial culture of southeastern militias during the mid to late 18th century. Jonathan investigates how colonial warfare affected militiamen’s agrarian communities and how the South’s agricultural environment shaped militia behavior. Jonathan is working under the direction of Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.
Wesley Hazzard PhD, (US History) MLitt, Battlefield and Conflict Archeology, 2012 University of Glasgow, Scotland; BA, History, 2011 University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. His MLitt thesis examined Prisoner of War camps during World War II. At Southern Miss Wes’s research interests are in U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean and Latin America during the twentieth century, and his current research analyzes the memory and legacy of the 1965 U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic. Other areas of interest include U.S. occupations in the Caribbean during World War I, and U.S.-Latin American foreign policy.
John Mangipano (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2011 University of New Orleans. John Mangipano is a PhD candidate specializing in nineteenth-century Gulf South connections to the Caribbean. His master thesis examines how a family of Mexican artists “whitened” themselves through the depiction of racially-themed artwork in New Orleans over a period of several decades, beginning at the end of Reconstruction. For his dissertation, John demonstrates how health and race encouraged people throughout the United States to participate in the colonization efforts that William Walker led in Nicaragua. In the Journal of Mississippi History, John published “Social Geography of Interstate Escape: Runaway Slaves from Louisiana in Mississippi, 1800- 1860.” Dr. Deanne Nuwer is directing John’s dissertation.
Hayden McDaniel (PhD, U.S. History) MA, U.S. History since 1865, 2012 Auburn University; BS, English and History, 2009 Troy University. Hayden McDaniel is from Dothan, Alabama. She took her comprehensive fields in U.S. history with minor fields in gender history and Latin American history. Her research interests include the American South since the New Deal, focusing on agriculture, politics, economics, and southern identity. She is also interested in environmental history, public history, oral history, and Alabama history. Her thesis, “Managing the New Deal: Administration of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942,” challenged the notion of the CCC as a cohesive and cooperative agency by investigating bureaucracy, federal departmental cooperation, and the work of mid-level administration in the southeastern Fourth Corps Area. Her dissertation, conducted under the direction of Dr. Max Grivno, focuses on the development of the southern peanut industry during the twentieth century, tracing its growth from a minor, local subsistence commodity to an agribusiness contributing to mass consumption.
John J. Mortimer (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2013 Indiana University of Pennsylvania; BA, European History, 2010 Framingham State College. John Mortimer is a third-year PhD student with research interests that focus on contemporary U.S. diplomacy. More specifically, he examines energy security and civil-military relations during the last decades of the Cold War. He is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Marie Stur. John’s current research includes analyzing the geopolitical consequences of American energy policy post-1973 and the use of said policy as an element of hybrid warfare. Additional interests include drone and green military technology and the role these applications have in creating a more mobile and energy independent expeditionary force. Other areas of interest are the use of green technology in counterinsurgency operations and the manner in which unconventional warfare manipulates regional perspectives.
In the summer of 2015, John attended the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History. As part of the seminar, John took part in workshop pedagogy sessions and presented his research on drone use in contemporary warfare. He also toured Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam battlefield, and participated in the Gettysburg Staff Ride. John has published several encyclopedia articles, some of which will appear in Cyber Warfare: A Reference Book (2017). John was the recipient of the Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship for 2016-2017. Other interests include: contemporary foreign relations in a transatlantic context, war and society, technology.
Olivia Moore (PhD, U.S History) MA, History, University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History and Politics, University of Exeter (UK). Olivia is an international student from Plymouth, England. Her MA thesis explored the unlikely activism of three white southerners in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. Working under the direction of Dr. Kevin Greene, Olivia plans to look more closely at Hattiesburg’s white community: particularly how different groups were engaged with and responded to the struggle for racial equality. Olivia has other experience in interviewing for the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, and she has curated a mini exhibit for McCain Library and Archives titled, Anti-Communism and the Civil Rights Struggle. She is also working toward the Graduate Certificate in Public History. Olivia’s interest in civil rights history originally began after interviewing local activist, Raylawni Branch, during her study broad placement at USM in 2012.
Lindsey R. Peterson (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2015 The University of South Dakota; BA, History and Political Science, 2013 Buena Vista University. Lindsey is a second year PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi working under the supervision of Dr. Susannah J. Ural. She is currently studying how Unionists in the trans-Mississippi West commemorated the American Civil War with an emphasis on gender relations. Examining the Grand Army of the Republic, Woman’s Relief Corps, Daughters of Union Veterans, and Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Lindsey’s research analyzes how gendered and regional Civil War memory developed in areas that served as frontiers during the war rather than battle fronts. Lindsey was a recipient of the 2015 Margaret Boone Dale Fellowship from the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society and the 2015 Russell F. Weigley Graduate Student Travel Grant Award from The Society for Military History. Her article, “’Iowa Excelled Them All’: Iowa Local Ladies’ Aid Societies Relief on the Civil War Frontier, 1861–1865” appeared in the fall 2016 issue of The Middle West Review.
Adam Rock (PhD, U.S. History); MA, History, 2014 University of Central Florida; BA, History, 2008 University of Central Florida. Adam is a second year PhD student specializing in race and the Second World War. His research interests include the all-Japanese American 442nd regimental combat team who trained in Mississippi, and specifically how the circumstances of war changed perceptions of Japanese Americans within the United States during and after the conflict. Additionally, Adam is interested in the story of Japanese POWs held in the United States from 1941 to 1945 and how their treatment compared to racially different German and Italian prisoners also in American care. Adam is studying under the direction of Dr. Douglas Bristol.
Tyler Rotter (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2010 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; PBS, Museum Studies, 2010 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; BA, History, 2007 University of Missouri. Tyler is a PhD candidate specializing in the cultural history of seventeenth-century New England with minor areas in War and Society and Latin America. His research interests include the way in which clergy used their leadership and influence to create propaganda in support of war, how this promotion differed from the religious language utilized by New England’s civil and military leaders, and how the overall conception of religiously prescribed warfare evolved as New England became increasingly integrated into the larger British Atlantic and played an greater role in imperial conflicts with other European states. Additionally, he is also interested in the religious characteristics of colonization in Latin America and how they compared to those of British North America. Tyler was awarded the department’s McCain Fellowship for 2015-2016 and also currently serves as an editor for H-War. Tyler is studying under the direction of Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.
Lucas Somers, PhD Student, U.S. History, University of Southern Mississippi; MA, History, 2015 Western Kentucky University; BA, History, 2013 Western Kentucky University. Faculty Adviser: Dr. Susannah J. Ural. Lucas Somers is a first year PhD student interested in the Civil War Era and War and Society. His previous graduate research focused on scrutinizing significant aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s personal worldview by analyzing the president’s reported dreams, visions, and ‘night terrors.’ This project also attempted to revitalize some often-doubted sources of facts on Lincoln’s life, and Lucas hopes to continue exploring these and other potentially valuable resources relating to the Sixteenth President for his dissertation. The Benson Fellowship will allow him to broaden his research and continue making historical contributions in Lincoln Studies and the Civil War Era.
Samantha Taylor (PhD, U.S. History 1867-Present, Modern European History, and War and Society) MA, History, 2009 East Tennessee State University-Johnson City; BS, History, 2007 Lander University-Greenwood. Samantha Taylor’s research interests include the long twentieth-century America and Europe, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Other interests include Cultural History, Popular Culture, and twentieth-century American Diplomatic History. She is the 2016-2017 McCain Fellow and received an O’Donnell Grant from the Scowcroft School at Texas A&M to conduct research at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library. Her current dissertation “Gosh I Miss the Cold War: Post-Cold War Foreign Policy Making in the United States, 1989-1995 under the direction of Dr. Heather M. Stur, argues that as the Cold War came to an unexpected end the United States attempted to create a foreign policy framework to replace the containment strategies of the previous forty years with one that could deal with the chaos created by the collapse of communism and intranational conflicts. The search for this framework was encumbered by an American public that was less interested in world affairs and weary of US military interventions abroad without clear benefits for the United States, and by mass media depictions that furthered a move toward isolationism. By 1995, in spite of numerous attempts to create a framework including George Bush’s New World Order and Bill Clinton’s Engagement and Enlargement, the United States had failed to find a post-Cold War foreign policy framework that met the demands of global crises and encouraged American public’s support for US interventions.
Eve Wade (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2008 Roosevelt University, Chicago. Eve is a third-year PhD student whose major field of study is U.S. History with minors in Latin America and the Atlantic World. Working under the direction of Dr. Bo Morgan, Eve’s research interests include Chattel Slavery in the Americas, the African Diaspora, and black urbanization in the wake of the Civil War. Eve’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Becoming Bronzeville: The Origin of the Black Metropolis in Southern Cities,” explores the connection between the Southern Black Metropolis and its offspring in Northern cities. To compliment the study of history, she is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public History. In addition to guest lectures, conference presentations, and tutoring duties, Eve has experience as a co-curator with the McCain Library & Archives and as an Interviewer for the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage.
Rebecca Zimmer (PhD; ABD) She was the George M. Nethken Fellow at the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War in 2008 and 2010. This permitted her the opportunity to work on the seminars "Gettysburg: Retreat and Pursuit" and "Siege of Petersburg," the latter of which was presented in conjunction with Pamplin Park. During the 2009 - 2010 academic year, Becky was an adjunct lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. Her research interests include the South in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the American Civil War. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “Temperance and Woman Suffrage: Success and Struggle in Mississippi at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” and considers the relationship between the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the woman suffrage movement in Mississippi. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL.