Earlier Projects

Other RCHA Projects


Utopia, Violence, Resistance: Remaking and Unmaking Humanity

Project Directors: Omer Bartov and Matt Matsuda

This project explored how different periods and cultures have used utopian visions to advance social and political programs, dedicated to creating “new” humanities, with a focus on the particular links between utopia, violence, and resistance. The purpose of the project was to discover why some utopians employ violence to serve political practice and to examine the cultural and historical roots to such practices. Specific themes included how and why utopias engender boundaries, construct plans, relate to memory and seek total solutions.

Senior Fellows:
Michael Burleigh, University of Wales (Wallenberg);
Scott Spector, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Frank Biess, PhD Brown University;
Jeremy Varon, PhD Cornell University

Senior Fellows:
Glennys Young University of Washington;
Alastair Davidson, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia (Wallenberg)
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Zvi Ben-Dor, PhD University of California, Los Angeles;
Irina Carlota Silber, PhD New York University


The Black Atlantic: Race, Nation, and Gender

Project Directors: Deborah Gray White and Mia Bay

This project traced the globalization of African culture and the formation of the Black Atlantic since the beginning of the modern slave trade. It aimed to chart a new comparative history of the modern black experience. In mapping the distinctive cultural and political traditions that have shaped the Black Atlantic world, this project put particular emphasis on three broad themes that criss-cross through the history of the Black Atlantic: race, nation, and gender.

Senior Fellow:
David Brown, Emory University
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Michele Mitchell, PhD Northwestern University;
Anne Bailey, PhD University of Pennsylvania

Senior Fellow:
Clair Cone Robertson, Ohio State University
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Christopher Brown, PhD Oxford University, England;
Jason McGill, PhD Loyola University


Varieties of Religious Experience

Project Director: Phyllis Mack

This project aimed to chart a new, comparative history of the varieties of spiritual experience. Specifically, the project sought to address the relation between self-expression and self-transcendence, and the relation between religion as a doctrine of universal love and redemption and as the basis of exclusivity and aggression.

Senior Fellow:
James Gilbert, University of Maryland
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Elizabeth McAlister, PhD Yale University;
Jacob Meskin, PhD Princeton University

Senior Fellow:
Marcia K. Hermansen, San Diego State University
Postdoctoral Fellow:
Elizabeth Castelli, PhD Barnard College, Columbia University


War, Peace, and Society in Historical Perspective

Project Director: John W. Chambers

This project encouraged comparative studies of socio-cultural relationships between war and society, more particularly the impact of war, preparation for war, and preparation for peace upon various aspects of society and culture including cultural attitudes, conditions of class, race, ethnicity, and gender, and the process of state-building.

Senior Fellows:
Stephen Ambrose, Univ. of New Orleans;
Ronald Spector, George Washington Univ.
Postdoctoral Fellow:
Pamela S. Haag, PhD Yale University

Senior Fellows:
Carole Fink, Ohio State University;
Barbara Engel, University of Colorado;
Jay M. Winter, Cambridge University, England
Postdoctoral Fellow:
Heide Fehrenbach, PhD Colgate University


Consumer Cultures in Historical Perspectives

Project Director: Victoria de Grazia

This project moved beyond the conventional debates about mass consumption as a site alternatively of domination or resistance, manipulation or opposition. This project was concerned with how the differing nature of consumption under diverse regimes – whether private or public, individualistic or collectively planned – affects people’s expectations about what they are entitled to, the means they use to organize, and the ways political elites cast their appeal.

Senior Fellows:
Avner Offer, University of York;
Kathy Peiss, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Postdoctoral Fellows:
David Kuchta, PhD University of California, Berkeley;
Richard Smith, PhD East-West Center, Honolulu

Senior Fellows:
Rachel Bowlby, Sussex University, England; Ellen Furlough, Kenyon College
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Timothy Burke,PhD Johns Hopkins University;
Belinda Davis, PhD University of Michigan


The Historical Constructions of Identities

Project Director: John Gillis

The purpose of this project was to explore the way identity formation is shaped by the peculiarities of particular cultures, situations, and historical dynamics. The aim was to create an understanding of the way historically constructed individual and collective identities shape the current discussions of domestic and international issues. The ultimate goal of this project was to provide new approaches to the study of identities, and demonstrate how history and other disciplines can benefit by incorporating a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of identities.

Senior Fellows:
Roger Bartra, Mexico’s Institute of Social Research;
Tamás Hofer, Hungarian Academy of Sciences;
Robert Nye, Professor of History at Oklahoma University, E.P. Thompson
Postdoctoral Fellows:
George Chauncey, PhD Yale University;
Jacqueline Urla, PhD University of California, Berkeley

Senior Fellows:
Rhys Isaac, Professor of History, La Trobe University, Australia;
Robert Thornton, Professor of Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa;
Philip Nord, Princeton University
Postdoctoral Fellows:
Marjorie Beale, PhD University of California, Berkeley;
John Burdick, PhD CUNY Graduate Center