Current Graduate Fellows
the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy
History, Ph.D Candidate
Ian Delahanty is a Ph.D. candidate in the history department at Boston College whose research focuses on the Civil War and emancipation. His dissertation, “The American Irish, Slavery, and the Civil War,” examines how Irish Americans responded to and shaped the debate over slavery in Civil War Era America, illuminating the ideas and events that influenced Americans’ acceptance of emancipation during the conflict. The project shows how both transatlantic movements, such as abolitionism and Irish nationalism, and American circumstances, including Irish Americans’ labor conditions and interpretations of the Constitution, deeply divided the American Irish on the question of freedom as the Civil War progressed. It argues that these divisions were emblematic of deeper tensions in the North over the purpose and consequences of ending slavery. Ian’s research reflects his broader interest in the dynamic between national and transnational events, ideas, and lives during the Civil War Era.
Craig is interested in the concept of the "Atlantic World", meaning the interactions between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 17th and 18th century, and particularly the growth of the British Empire in this period. His current research is focusing on how Scots were involved in the transatlantic network of goods and ideas, before and after the formation of the British state in 1707, and to what extent it might put the lie to the traditional view of Scotland as backward and insular in the early modern period.
Elizabeth Harmer Dionne
Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
Elizabeth holds a B.A. in English literature and political science from Wellesley College, an M.Phil. in political theory from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She has published law review articles on Mormon polygamy and obscenity law. Her current research interests are at the intersection of American political development and public law. Current interests include disparate legal treatment of religious minorities, the bureaucratic functioning of the Supreme Court, and the administration of special education law.
Kiara L. Kharpertian
English, Ph.D. Candidate
Kiara studies American literature with an emphasis on contemporary American fiction and literature of and about the American West. Broadly, she is interested in the environmental, cultural, and geopolitical intricacies of place and how these issues register as literary habits and tensions. In December 2010, she completed a doctoral exam entitled “Roaming and Reimagining the American West, 1970-2010” that interrogated how migration and mobility can act as vehicles for an amplified environmental consciousness, which in turn shapes a Western ecopoetics. Currently, she is at work on her second doctoral exam, “Writing the West: Cultural Politics, Labor, and the Land, 1850-1970,” which reads literature that grapples with the politics surrounding land management, ownership, and cultivation as a series of texts that respond to and disrupt racialized class and labor patterns.
Amy Limoncelli is a second-year Ph.D. student in the History department. She studies twentieth-century British political, cultural, and imperial history with an emphasis on the postwar period. Her recent work involves the decolonization of the British Empire and Britain's changing world role in relation to the development of international institutions.
John holds a B.A in Political Science and Economics from Hampden-Sydney College. He is currently a graduate student in Political Science and an assistant staff writer for the Clough Center. His research interests are American Political Development with a particular focus on 19th century national state building and infrastructural power. In April of 2011 he will present a paper entitled Infinite Money and Infrastructural Power: Public Debt, War, and Early Modern State Building at the New England Political Science Association Conference. He is currently finishing a paper entitled Riot or Revolution: Repression-Mobilization Dynamics and the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, and beginning a study of the U.S. Postal System from the Constitutional Convention through the Jefferson Administration. He also serves as a teaching assistant in the International Studies Program at Boston College. In his free-time, John enjoys playing guitar at open-mic events, exploring New England, and enjoying the great outdoors.
History, Ph.D. Candidate
Gráinne McEvoy graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2005 with a Joint Honors degree in History and English Literature, and from Trinity College, Dublin in 2006 with a master’s degree in Modern Irish History. She is currently a doctoral candidate in History at Boston College. In 2007 she received a scholarship from the Irish Fulbright Commission to undertake doctoral work in the U.S., and has been an Irish Studies Fellow at Boston College since 2008. Her dissertation is entitled “The Morals of Migration: Immigration, Restriction, and American Catholic Social Thought, 1917-1965.” It examines the development of a Catholic philosophy on immigration during the period of immigration restriction in the United States, and the role that Catholic intellectuals and social critics played in the development of ideas on restriction, citizenship, and national belonging.
History Department, Ph.D. Candidate
Seth’s dissertation examines the theological consequences of church disestablishment by analyzing the changing lived religious experiences among the Congregational laity in Massachusetts from 1780-1850. The laity were members of churches that traditionally benefited the state's establishment system that constitutionally required towns to support "public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality." Even before formal disestablishment in 1833, Congregationalists had to adapt to the gradual loss of compulsory public funding in the face of ever-increasing religious diversity. Seth’s project demonstrates how they sought to move beyond a strict adherence to their covenant theology and to re-engage with their community through voluntary associations.
History, Ph.D. Candidate
Shannon’s research focuses on transnational and transcultural modern European history, with a particular interest in the First World War and interwar period. Broadly, she is interested in the political decision-making of European governments and societies during the First World War and its aftermath. Shannon also maintains specific research interests in the reintegration of war veterans into European political and cultural discourses during the interwar period.
Alexander Noonan is an advanced graduate student in the History Department at Boston College. His primary research focuses on the relationship between political violence, American foreign relations, and national security in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His dissertation uses the concept of emotion and emotional responses to analyze anarchist assassinations and their influence on American foreign relations and national security. His cases include the assassinations of Tsar Alexander II, Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley and explore how they shaped debates about anarchist restriction, international cooperation, and protection for political officials.
Matthew Patella is a Comparative Politics master’s degree student at Boston College. His main interest of research is the interaction between civil military organizations and the government, specifically in relation to conducting a war. He is also interested in constitutional development in newly developing nations, and the creation of new democracies.
Adam’s dissertation project aims to fill a major lacuna in the historiography on marijuana prohibition in the United States by exploring the origins and transformations of the social movements and regulatory processes that controlled cannabis at the state and local level from the late nineteenth century until the federal government’s passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. He seeks to answer a number of major questions about how and why states across the country regulated cannabis before the federal government, and what affect, if any, these processes had on the development of subsequent federal regulations. This research is particularly crucial, because unlike the opiates and cocaine, cannabis was excluded from the nation’s first major prohibitive drug legislation (the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914), leaving individual states responsible for the construction, passage, and enforcement of prohibitive measures related to cannabis use until 1937. Adam hopes his dissertation will help historicize one of the most pressing legal, social, and moral issues of the past century.
Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
Kimberley Stewart is a Ph.D. candidate in the political science department, specializing in political theory. Her dissertation is on promises and contracts in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, with a particular emphasis on his work Émile, or On Education. The goal of her project is to answer the question why people keep the ‘social contract’ and other promises necessary for social and political life. She holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Winnipeg.
Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
Gary is a first year Ph.D. student in Political Science specializing in international relations. His background is in political science and economics. Gary’s research interests include international political economy as well as Turkish and American foreign policy.