Congratulations to Katie Bausch for the successful defense of her dissertation!

TitleHe Thinks He’s Down: White Appropriations of Black Masculinities in the Civil Rights Era, 1945-1979.

Abstract“He Thinks He’s Down” examines the ways in which a significant and influential collection of white artists and activists in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, seeking an alternative to hegemonic white middle-class masculinity, appropriated imaginary black masculinities into their lives and work. The dissertation demonstrates that during the civil rights era images of black men circulated widely in U.S. popular culture, in part because of the acceleration of the black freedom struggle. Media depictions of black men engaging in struggles for civil rights, integration, self-determination, and the end of white supremacy highlighted their rebelliousness, strength, freedom, and power. In this same moment, many white middle-class men felt anxious, disempowered, insecure, and disillusioned with norms of middle-class manhood, especially in the context of a growing white-collar economy, the nuclear arms race, suburbanization, and political corruption. These emotions were expressed in various popular culture forums, including literature, political movements, magazines and films.

“He Thinks He’s Down” argues that one strategy adopted by white artists and activists to reinvigorate white middle-class masculinity was the appropriation of imaginary characteristics of black masculinity circulating in media, including rebelliousness, strength, freedom, and power.  The four case studies examined here—Beat writers, Students for a Democratic Society activists, Playboy fashion editors, and Blaxploitation film directors—show that the artistic and political appropriations over the course of the period changed as the images of black men in the media varied, but that they nevertheless had similar consequences. Though often celebrating the strength of black masculinity, they ultimately reduced black manhood to a series of consumable images, perpetuated many racist stereotypes, silenced the role of black women and black femininities, and reinforced the structurally-based privileges that were denied to black men to either accept or reject hegemonic masculinity.

Supervisory Committee:
Marc Stein (supervisor)
Molly Ladd-Taylor
Michele Johnson

Defense Committee:
Victoria Wolcott (external)
Gamal Abdel-Shehid (internal/external)
Anne Rubenstein (Dean’s rep/chair)

Katie, good luck and many thanks for years of great involvement and contribution!

From all of us : )

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Historians’ Craft – Prof. Christoph Emmrich – Nov 18

Emmrich - invitation

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Pub night on Saturday, Oct 4, at Bedford Academy!

pub night

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Congratulations to Raphael Costa for the successful defense of his dissertation!

TitleMaking the ‘New Lourinhã, a European Lourinhã’: Democracy, Civic
Engagement, and the Urban Development of Lourinhã, Portugal
since 1966.

Abstract: Since 1966, Lourinhã’s urban landscape has transformed as Portugal
democratized. From a rural town with little infrastructure and few institutions in
1966, Lourinhã had emerged by 2001 as an ostensibly modern European town.
This work highlights key areas of economic and urban development, and argues
that Lourinhã’s political culture became more institutionalized leaving less room
for, and withering expectation of, citizen participation in local development as
Portugal transitioned from dictatorship to democracy.
This dissertation examines Portugal’s transition from the Estado Novo
dictatorship (1933-1974) to European social democracy by focusing on
Lourinhã’s – a town of 22,000 people north of Lisbon – urbanization between
1966 and 2001. Lourinhã’s urbanization involved, and indeed required, a shift in
its institutional and political culture. In the 1960s and 1970s, people were
expected to participate in development at a cultural, political and financial level,
acting as substitutes for non-existent state mechanisms of development.
However, by the late 1980s, the momentum had shifted as regional, national, and
European institutions participated in developmental programs, marking a
dramatic change in how citizens engaged with the state and the Portuguese
From this shift has emerged a debate about the nature of Portugal’s
transition to democracy. With the Carnation Revolution of 1974 – the military
coup that toppled the Estado Novo – at the center of analysis, academics and
pundits ask whether that event represented “evolution or revolution” for Portugal.
Was Portugal on the path towards democracy before 1974? And, given
contemporary problems, was the rapid shift to European social democracy the
blessing it appeared to be by the 1990s? Did democratization disenfranchise the
Portuguese in important ways? Are commentators like Jorge Silva Melo, a Lisbon
playwright who began his career in the Estado Novo years correct in asserting
that, “under the dictatorship there was hope … that was in ‘72/’73. Nowadays, its
exactly the opposite: there is no hope”? This dissertation uses Lourinhã’s
development as an example of a Portuguese experience to argue that the
Carnation Revolution, although a watershed in Portugal’s politico-cultural
evolution, should not be understood as the moment when democracy came to

Supervisory Committee:
Adrian Shubert (Supervisor)
Suzanne Langlois
António Costa Pinto

Defense Committee:
Antonia Cazorla (Trent U)
Maria João Dodman
Sean Kheraj

Raphael, way to go and thank you (also for being a co-president of the GHSA in 2010-11).

From your friends and peers!


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Historians’ Craft – Prof. Esteve Morera – Sep 23

Morera - invitatioin

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Congratulations to Gil Fernandes for the successful defense of his dissertation!

Title: Of Outcasts and Ambassadors: the Making of Portuguese Diaspora in Postwar North America.

Abstract: How can a small peripheral government with few material resources assert itself as a geopolitical player in an era of rising global governance and dwindling nation-state sovereignty? This was the question in the minds of Portuguese officials when developing their foreign policies in the aftermath of the Second World War and again after the Revolution of the Carnations of April 25, 1974. In their case, examined in this study, the answer was similar in both contexts: tie Portuguese nationhood with imperial and diasporic imaginings, and develop a national diaspora with close ties with the homeland and its government. This study examines the social, cultural, religious, economic, and political processes by which Portugal’s Estado Novo dictatorship laid the foundations for the diasporic discourse and institutions that followed the end of the colonial empire and the introduction of a new democratic political order after 1974. I will focus on the role played by homeland diplomats, ethnic entrepreneurs, Catholic missionaries, political activists and other transnational intermediaries in shaping a diasporic consciousness among the Portuguese communities of eastern Canada – Toronto and Montreal – and northeastern United States – New Bedford, Fall River, Boston, Providence, Newark, and other cities in New England and the Greater New York City area. This dissertation also engages with current discussions in the field of migration studies, especially those related with the concepts of diaspora, transnationalism, and nation-state, as well as ethnicity, class, and race, and introduces an imperial and homeland dimension to our frame of analysis. The period of history examined (1950s-70s) covers the inauguration of Portuguese mass migration to Canada and its resurgence to the United States; the rise of large international governing bodies, rival Cold War superpowers and their spheres of influence; the Portuguese Colonial Wars in Africa and the downfall of settler colonialism; the emergence of cultural pluralism and identity politics in Canada and parts of the United States; the radicalization of the Portuguese “anti-fascist” opposition; and the revolutionary transition to democracy in Portugal. These larger processes framed the local, national, and transnational histories of Portuguese immigrants in North America and had significant impact in the development of their diasporic communities, consciousness, and identities.

Supervisory Committee:
Roberto Perin (supervisor)
Adrian Shubert
William Jenkins

Defense Committee:
Franca Iacovetta (external)
José Curto (internal/external)
Gabriele Scardellato (Dean’s rep/chair)

Gil, good luck and many thanks (also for being a co-president of the GHSA in 2011-12).

From all of us : ) 


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Invitation to the Orientation Day

Orientation invitation

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