Faculty: Race, Ethnicity, and Nation Constellation


Coordinating Faculty:

Theodora Dragostinova

Affiliated Faculty:

David Brakke is Joe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity and Professor of History, specializing in Christianity in lateantiquity.  He has published on the use of racial, ethnic, and kinshiplanguage to facilitate Christian identity formation (“Ethiopian Demons: Male Sexuality, the Black-Skinned Other, and the Monastic Self,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 10 [2001]: 501-535; "The Seed of Seth at the Flood: Biblical Interpretation and Gnostic Theological Reflection," in Reading in Christian Communities [Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2000]).  He continues to work on early Christianity in Egypt, where such categories as "Greek," "Roman," and "Egyptian" functioned in complex ways as Christians established a particular Coptic Orthodox Church and constructed their relationship to the imperial center in Constantinople.

Alice L. Conklin, an historian of modern France and its empire. She has recently published In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Cornell, 2013). By focusing on the Musée de l'Homme, an ethnographic museum that opened in Paris in 1938 with funding and artifacts from France's colonies, this work challenges the notion that a newer "culture concept" displaced an older biological concept of "race" in the human sciences in the era of the two World Wars. She is also the co-author of France and Its Empire since 1870 (2010), and her first book A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (1997) examined French colonial ideology and practices on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa. She teaches courses on the History of the Idea of Race in Europe 1500 to the Present, on Colonial Encounters, and on Modern France and its Empire.

Theodora Dragostinova is Assistant Professor of Eastern European History. Her work focuses on nation-building, refugee movements, and minority politics in Eastern Europe, with a particular emphasis on the Balkans. Her first book, Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949 (under contract with Cornell University Press) examines multinationality, national indifference, national-side-switching, and the manipulation of citizenship among a small minority group straddling the Bulgarian-Greek divide. She has published articles in Nationalities Papers, Slavic Review, and East European Politics and Societies that have explored refugee identity in Bulgaria; the instrumental use of nationality as “emergency identity” in the case of the Greek minority in Bulgaria; and the politics of population exchange in the Balkans. Her next project, tentatively entitled Communist Extravaganza, will study the workings of national ideology and national commemorations in communist Bulgaria.

Alcira Dueñas is Associate Professor of Colonial and Modern Latin America, Women’s History in Latin America and World History at the Newark campus. Her first book Indians and Mestizos in the Lettered City: Reshaping Justice, Social Hierarchy and Political Culture in Colonial Peru examines, among other themes, notions of ethnicity and race promoted by early modern Spanish chroniclers, missionaries, and colonial officials, and how such notions were contested, reformulated, and redeployed by Indian and Mestizo intellectuals in the colonial Andes to strengthen their own agenda for ethnic autonomy.

James Genova is an Associate Professor of History who teaches on the Marion Campus. His research and teaching interests center onFrancophone West Africa with a focus on questions of representation, identity formation, economic development, and globalization. Genova’s most recent book – Cinema and Development in West Africa – is being published by Indiana University Press (2013). It examines the role of the cinema industrial complex in the context of decolonization and post-colonial nation building in Francophone West Africa from 1945 to 1975.Treating cinema as an art and an industry, Cinema and Development in West Africa analyzes the struggles over representation of Africa and Africans as well as the fight for control over the materialist structures of cinematic production as African cultural activists sought to harness motion pictures for the project of economic and cultural reconstruction following independence. This study builds on his earlier work (Peter Lang, 2004) on identity construction among the Western-educated elite in French West Africa as a crucial component of the modalities of colonial rule and the elaboration of anti-colonial nationalist movements. Genova teaches classes on African history, cinema, development and globalization, genocide, and Islam in Africa.

Hasan Kwame Jeffries specializes in 20th century African American history and has an expertise in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. He is the author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt (NYU Press, 2009), which tells the remarkable story of the local people and SNCC organizers who ushered in the Black Power era by transforming rural Lowndes County, Alabama from a citadel of violent white supremacy into the center of southern black militancy by creating the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO), the first Black Panther Party. He teaches a range of courses in African American and American history, including graduate courses on 20th century African American history (752 and 757), upper level undergraduate courses on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (555), surveys in African American history (323), and surveys in American history (151-152). He holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Robin Judd joined the department of History in 2000 as a specialist in Jewish and European history.  Her teaching and research interests concern the intersection of politics, gender, religion, and identity construction.  Her publications include “What’s Love Got To Do with It?:  Jewish War Brides, GI Husbands, and Postwar European History,” European Studies Forum 28:2 (Autumn 2008):  46-51; “Religion, Agency, and Power in Jewish-Gender Scholarship” (Review Essay) Journal of Women’s History 15:1 (Spring 2003):  227-234; and “Moral, Clean Men of the Jewish Faith:  Jewish Rituals and Their Male Practitioners, 1843-1914,” in Gender and German-Jewish History (Indiana University Press, forthcoming).  Her current project is “Love at the Zero Hour:  Jewish War Brides, GI Husbands, and Strategies for Reconstruction.”  At OSU, she is on the board of the Melton Center for Jewish Studies, the oversight committee for the Center for the Study of Religion, and a member of the affiliated faculty of the Department of Women’s Studies.  She also serves on the Academic Advisory Committee for the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

Ousman Kobo is Assistant Professor of African History, focusing on 20th Century West African religious and social movements. He teaches a range of courses in African History, including History of Modern Africa and History of Islam in Africa. He is currently developing a course on History of Health and Healing in Africa and History of Christianity in Africa.   He is completing a book manuscript titled Unveiling Modernity: Islamic Reform in Ghana and Burkina Faso, 1950-2000.  His recent publications include, “Africa & China: New Alliance for Mutual Development?” African Advocate, vol, 1 no. 1 (February 2008) and “The Development of Wahhabi Reforms in Ghana and Burkina Faso, 1960-1990: Elective Affinities between Western-Educated Muslims and Islamic Scholars,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 57 no. 3 (July 2009): 502-532. He also has a forthcoming article, “We are Citizens too: The Politics of Citizenship in Independent Ghana,” Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 48 no. 1 (March 2010). 

Thomas McDow, Assistant Professor of History, joined the department in 2011 as its Indian Ocean specialist. He is interested in questions of diaspora, networks, and cross-cultural trade both. His research focuses on the business and family relationships between East Africa and Arabia in the nineteenth century, and he is working on a manuscript tentatively entitled Credit and Kin: Arabs and Africans in the Indian Ocean World. His most recent publications include "Trafficking in Persianness: Richard Burton between Mimicry and Similitude in Indian Ocean and Persianate Worlds" (Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 30:3, 2010) and a chapter on economic mobility of freed slaves in pre-abolition Zanzibar in a volume on slavery in the Indian Ocean to be published by Yale University Press next year. Professor McDow has conducted research in East Africa, Arabia, and India, and teaches courses in African, Indian Ocean, and world history.

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy is Associate Professor of History, Newark campus. Her research examines the experiences of mixed-race (European/American Indian) families in the nineteenth-century Midwest, and the recent history of Native Americans in Ohio.  She teaches general U.S. history courses, Native American and women's history, and other courses on frontiers and immigration and migration in US history.  She is part of a group of faculty and staff that created the OSU Newark Earthworks Center to focus on American Indian Studies.  She is the author of A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Métis and Mining in the Western Great Lakes, 1737-1832 (University of Nebraska Press, 2000), co-editor with Wendy Hamand Venet of Midwestern Women: Work, Community, and Leadership at the Crossroads (Indiana, 1997); and co-editor with Rebecca Kugel of Native Women's History in Eastern North America before 1900: A Guide to Research and Writing (University of Nebraska Press). Her book, Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750 - 1860, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Margaret Ellen Newell’s research and teaching interests include colonial and Revolutionary America, Native American History, economic history, material culture, and comparative colonial American/Latin American History. Publications include From Dependency to Independence: Economic Revolution in Colonial New England (Cornell University Press, 1998); “The Birth of New England in the Atlantic Economy, 1600-1770,” in Engines of Enterprise: An Economic History of New England, ed. Peter Temin (2000); "The Colonial Economy," in The Blackwell Companion to Colonial America, ed. Daniel Vickers (2002); and "The Changing Nature of Indian Slavery in Colonial New England," in Reinterpreting the Native American Past. ed. Colin Calloway and Neal Salisbury (2003), and “Indian Slavery in Colonial New England, in Indian Slavery in Colonial America, ed. Alan Gallay (2009). She is currently finishing a book for Cornell University Press, entitled ‘The Drove of Adam's Degenerate Seed’: Indian Slavery in New England, which explores the varieties of enslavement and enforced servitude experienced by Native American communities in colonial and Revolutionary New England.  Her next project will focus on the popular Enlightenment.

Stephanie Smith is Associate Professor of History, specializing in Mexico and Latin America. Her work examines the relationships between the state, society, and culture during moments of revolutionary crisis in Mexico. Central to her book, Gender and the Mexican Revolution: Yucatán Women and the Realities of Patriarchy (The University of North Carolina Press, 2009), are questions of state formation during the Mexican Revolution and the post-revolutionary era, and how various groups, including women and the Maya population, negotiated their place with emerging state power structures and political authorities. Smith’s  current research project, Mexico's Cultural Revolution: The Politics of Art in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, incorporates both the study of history and art in an analysis of the ways in which radical artists and intellectuals from Mexico, European countries, and the United States influenced an increasingly conservative post-revolutionary Mexican state, and contributed to the creation of an “authentic” Mexico.

Mytheli Sreenivas is assistant professor of History and Women’s Studies, and an associated faculty member in Comparative Studies.  Her research interests focus on the intersections of family, sexuality, colonialism and nationalism in modern South Asia.  She has published Wives, Widows, and Concubines: The Conjugal Family Ideal in Colonial India (Indiana University Press, 2008), and is currently researching the history of population and reproductive rights in modern India.  In addition to South Asian history, her teaching interests in History and Women’s Studies include global and transnational feminisms, postcolonial theory, and world history.

David Steigerwald is Professor of History.  He teaches Modern American History, America in the Sixties, Urban History, and the History of American Immigration.  He has written widely on post-World War II America.  He is finishing a study of American social thought in the Age of Affluence, which will appear as "Lost in the Land of Plenty: Affluence and Alienation in Post-War America, 1945-2001." A selection of essays includes: "All Hail the Republic of Choice: Consumer History as Contemporary Thought," Journal of American History (September 2006); "Did the Protestant Ethic Disappear: American Values on the Cusp of Affluence," Enterprise and Society (Fall 2008); and "Walter Reuther, the UAW, and the Dilemmas of Automation," (Summer 2010).  He presently serves as Director of the History Department’s World War II Study Abroad Program.