UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

UNCG historians receive prestigious NHC fellowships

When historians Dr. Lisa Levenstein and Dr. Colleen Kriger join the 2014-15 class at the National Humanities Center (NHC) in Research Triangle Park, they will be part of a proud departmental tradition. Over the past 15 years five members of the UNCG history department have won fellowships to the prestigious center, which accepts less than 10 percent of applicants every year. Together, they represent a full quarter of the full time (tenured and tenure-track) faculty in UNCG’s Department of History.

The research of these scholars spans over 500 years of human history and five continents. Their research methods range from delving into archives, to examining material culture, to conducting interviews. Notably, all of the projects have also been of a transnational nature, reflecting the department’s strength in moving beyond national boundaries and perspectives. Like many historians today, they follow the movement of people, ideas and commodities to better understand the human condition across time and place.

Dr. Jodi Bilinkoff was the first member of the department to receive an NHC Fellowship, in 1999. Her study documents the close relationship that developed between pious Catholic women and their spiritual directors in early modern Catholic Europe and its colonies. Her book, “Related Lives: Confessors and Their Female Penitents, 1450-1750,” was published in 2005 by Cornell University Press and explores the priests’ roles as both spiritual advisors and biographers.

Five years later Dr. Phyllis Hunter received a fellowship to study American modes of encounter with Asia through print, imported objects, travel and commerce. In addition to publishing several articles, she is now completing a book, “Sailing East: the Empress of China and the New Nation” (under contract with Oxford University Press), which explores the origins, experience, and impact of the first American merchant voyage to China.

Dr. Linda Rupert spent AY 2012-13 at the Center to develop a new project about runaway slaves who crossed imperial boundaries in search of freedom in the 17th- and 18th-century Caribbean. Her research follows the fugitive slaves; analyzes reactions and responses to their migrations; and explores the implications for intra- and inter-imperial dynamics. The project has spawned several articles and a developing book manuscript.

Lisa Levenstein is also developing a new project, exploring the international influences on the U.S. women’s movement that became evident in the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference — the largest world gathering ever devoted to women’s issues. Uncovering previously hidden international influences on the U.S. women’s movement challenges accounts that portray U.S. women dictating feminism to others or practicing a more “advanced” feminism than their international counterparts.

During the next academic year Colleen Kriger will be finishing a book manuscript, “Making Money: Life, Death, and Business on the Guinea Coast,” which is under advance contract with Ohio University Press. She documents the vital, varied roles of individual Africans in early modern globalization as they developed commercial activities and forged extensive cross-cultural relationships, recasting our understanding of the region and its people during the transatlantic slave trade.