John E. Carter
After obtaining his J.D. at Duke University School of Law and working as an attorney, primarily in constitutional civil defense litigation, John changed course and began his theological education at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where he received his M.Div. During this time, he spent one semester at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., as the Moyers Scholar. After graduating, John was ordained as an American Baptist minister and completed his clinical pastoral education while working as a chaplain at hospitals in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2015, he received a Th.M. in moral theology from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, writing his thesis on conscience and religious liberty in the Baptist and Catholic traditions, and began his doctoral studies in the theology department of Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences that fall.
Working at the intersections of theology and law, and of Baptist and Catholic theological ethics, John’s research interests vary widely. He completed the certificate program of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice and has published journal articles on how the need of Southern Baptist-supported universities to accept federal assistance in the 1960s worked to change Baptist understandings of the relationship between church and state and on the relationship between Catholic and Baptist understandings of the conscience. He also has a forthcoming article rethinking the influence of Francisco de Vitoria and Hugo Grotius on the international law and natural law traditions.
In the fall of 2019, John began work on his dissertation entitled “The Communitarian Conscience: A Theological Response to the Legal Debates about Religious Freedom” under the supervision of Dr. Cathleen Kaveny. This project examines the current legal inability in the U.S. to respond to claims that compliance with generally applicable laws may violate the individual religious conscience and proposes that as an essential element of resolving this impasse, a new understanding of the conscience must be developed within the Christian tradition. That is, the solution cannot be a purely legal or political solution imposed on Christians, as this will only heighten legitimate concern about an epistemological crisis within the Christian tradition itself. Moreover, this impasse is itself the result of an impoverished understanding of the conscience within the Christian tradition which emphasizes subjective beliefs about the morality of an act rather than the collective determinations about moral action which have always been a part of the Christian understanding of the conscience. A central part of this project is a clarification that rejecting a liberal individualist understanding of the conscience does not mean a return to the legalist understanding of the conscience so dominant in the Catholic church up through the Second Vatican Council. Instead, this project argues for an “open communitarian” option grounded in Catholic personalism, an option which can stabilize the relationship between religious and secular traditions for Christians without the need to resort either to a sectarian withdrawal from society or to the individually sized “religious liberty” protections adopted in current jurisprudence.
Ruilin is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Boston College. Ruilin is trained as a quantitative sociologist with a special focus on computational methods, including social network analysis and natural language processing. His research interests span broadly across consumption, race and neighborhood.
In the past, Ruilin has used web scraping to collect restaurant information from Yelp to study food access disparities to answer a food consumption question that has profound economic, social and even legal implications. From the existing literature on “food deserts”, we have already known that different neighborhoods tend to attract different food retailers. Among food scholars, this phenomenon is often termed as “supermarket/restaurant/retail redlining” as it implies that people living in neighborhoods of certain racial backgrounds are more likely to be denied easy access to supermarkets and full-service restaurants in their community. From a legal perspective, however, this is a serious charge against retail businesses, especially against chain-store brands such as Walmart and Whole Food. Using the racial background of a consumer or that of a neighborhood to reject service would be a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act. Therefore, before we label what we have observed as “redlining”, Ruilin proposes that it is important to understand exactly what we have found, and why. Using data collected from diverse sources including traditional surveys and new big data sources, Ruilin's research attempts to provide a comprehensive assessment of the distribution of different food access across space as well as along the line of race, and explore possible mechanisms that can explain the access gap
Megan Crotty is a 5th-year PhD in the English Department, and this is her second year participating in the Clough Fellowship. Her work focuses on postcolonial literature of Ireland and the British Commonwealth, and seeks to illuminate collaboration and complicity between subjects in these former colonies that circumvent the former colonial center. The focus of her dissertation is women, violence, and trauma in contemporary Anglophone literature.
Megan works at the Center for Teaching Excellence as a Learning Technology Assistant. She has also received a grant from the Institute for Liberal Arts, with the help of Eric Weiskott and Marjorie Howes. This grant supports creating community, programming, and visibility for first-generation college and graduate students enrolled in MA or PhD programs in the English and History departments.
Ilaria D’Angelis is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Boston College. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs from the University of Bologna (Italy). The social and economic developments caused by the European Sovereign Debt Crisis motivated Ilaria to study Economics, while she was an exchange student at SciencesPo in Paris (France). After earning her master of arts in Economics from the University of Bologna, and working as a research intern at the Bank of Italy, she joined the Department of Economics at Boston College in 2016.
Ilaria’s field of expertise is Labor Economics. Her main research interests concern the causes and consequences of inequality in pay in the labor market.
Part of Ilaria’s research explores the determinants of labor market outcomes of young, college educated male and female workers. In particular, she investigates how these outcomes are shaped by workers’ preferences for employment benefits, frictions in job search, and the types of job offers that job searchers receive. Analyzing 21st century U.S. labor market entrants, her research shows that young women are as likely as men to find or lose a job. However, young female workers tend to receive job offers entailing lower wages relative to men, especially so when they are offered work benefits such as parental leave and workhours flexibility. Thus, the gender pay gap expands when employers provide amenities. Because male and female young workers are found to share similar preferences for benefits, their availability generates similar utility gains across genders, thus not fully compensating women for the wage losses they incur relative to men with higher overall welfare. The expansion of the wage and utility gender gaps due to the provision of amenities is particularly detrimental for young women in executive and professional careers.
In other research, Ilaria analyzes long-run trends in overtime work in the United States. Work hours and the likelihood of working more than 40 hours per week (overtime) increased dramatically in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, especially among highly educated male workers. To the contrary, in the 2000s and the 2010s workhours fell, and the incidence of overtime work decreased strongly among young college graduate workers. In her project, Ilaria links long run trends in work hours to long run trends in U.S. wage inequality, and studies whether the 21st century reversal in the secular pattern of overtime work can be the outcome of a shrinkage in the range of career opportunities available to college graduate workers.
In 2019/20, Ilaria was awarded the Felter Family Fund Summer Dissertation Fellowship from Boston College for outstanding progress in her research.
Magnus Ferguson is a fourth-year PhD student in the Philosophy Department at Boston College. He received his BA in Religion from Columbia University. His research interests are in social epistemology, 20th-century European philosophy, and feminist philosophy. He is especially interested in phenomenological perspectives on epistemic injustice, linguistic alienation, and resilient forms of social ignorance.
Magnus’ current research focuses on the relationship between responsibility and social ignorance. Drawing from contemporary social epistemology of race and gender, 20th-century hermeneutical philosophy, and the work of Hannah Arendt, his dissertation calls for a clearer distinction between responsibility and culpability, arguing that one can be responsible for intervening on harms even when one is merely affiliated with them through membership in a social group or institution. Drawing a clearer distinction between guilt and responsibility helps to clarify our social and political obligations to correct for complicated forms of ignorance-based wrongdoing (such as implicit bias) that can be difficult to unambiguously classify as culpable or non-culpable.
Magnus has taught several introductory courses in the philosophy department (“Philosophy of the Person I & II”) and co-taught an advanced seminar, “Philosophy of Language.” In the fall of 2020, in addition to teaching at Boston College he will also be a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University teaching a course called “Ethics of Ignorance.” He was awarded the Donald J. White Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in 2019, and the Hans-Georg Gadamer Essay Prize for his paper “Hermeneutical Justice in Fricker, Dotson, and Arendt” (forthcoming in Epoché, Fall 2020).
Laura Gáti is a Ph.D. student of Economics at Boston College. Her road toward the PhD led her through a B.A. in Economics from the University of Bern, Switzerland, an M.A. in Economics and another M.A. in Art History, both from the University of Bern, and, lastly, an M.A. in Economics from Boston College. Prior to joining Boston College, she has led the double life of an economist at the Swiss National Bank in Zürich, Switzerland and an art curator and co-founder of the artist-in-residence program residency.ch in Bern.
Laura’s research interests fall within the categories of quantitative macroeconomics and monetary economics, with a special focus on expectations. A recurring theme in her work is the role of expectations for aggregate fluctuations. Laura applies the tools of both quantitative macro modeling and information design from micro theory to study the (usually nonlinear) interplay of expectations and the macroeconomy.
In her job market paper, Laura explores the interaction between the conduct of monetary policy and the potential for unanchored expectations. The point of departure of the project is central bankers’ insistence on the importance of anchoring expectations, even as the assumptions of textbook monetary theory rule out the possibility of unanchored expectations. To fill this gap in macroeconomic theory, Laura lays out an adaptive learning model of expectations that can become anchored or unanchored in response to the central bank’s behavior, and solves for optimal monetary policy in the context of this model. Initial results show that the potential unanchoring of expectations introduces novel intertemporal tradeoffs for the monetary authority, as well as the disappearance of the time-inconsistency problem of optimal policy under rational expectations.
A second project picks up where the first left off: at the idea that the central bank explicitly manages the time series of expectations. While in her job market paper, Laura considers the interest rate as the central bank’s policy tool, in this project she turns to communication by central banks. In particular, the paper generalizes the static communication game encountered in the economic literatures on Bayesian persuasion and global games to a dynamic setting. The contribution of the paper is the emphasis on the temporal dimension of communication policy: when to communicate and about what matters in an environment where both fundamentals and beliefs exhibit serial correlation and there is a feedback loop between the two time series.
Yet another project speaks to the empirical side of Laura’s interests: structural VARs and model estimation via impulse-response matching. There is a large consensus in the economics profession on technological progress as one of the most fundamental engines of economic growth. This research project delves deeper into this commonly held view and explores one specific root of technological progress: investment in information and communication technology (ICT) goods. First, the SVAR results document the hump-shaped dynamics of output following ICT innovations. Second, the estimation of a two-sector growth model attributes the observed dynamics to the general-purpose nature of ICT goods.
Nicholas Hayes-Mota is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Theological Ethics at Boston College, with a minor in Systematic Theology. He holds a Master of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School (2014), and an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College (2008). Prior to beginning his studies at Boston College, Nicholas was a Research and Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he worked with Marshall Ganz to study and train others in community organizing. Beyond the academy, Nicholas has also worked as a faith-based community organizer, lay minister, and a leadership development coach.
Nicholas’s research engages the intersections of political theology, social ethics, virtue ethics, and ecclesiology. As a Catholic theological ethicist, he works within the traditions of Catholic social teaching and the broader stream of Thomistic political thought from which it developed. His governing interest is in how the normative frameworks offered by the Thomistic tradition translate into effective democratic political praxis in contemporary societies, at both the individual and institutional levels. Conversely, his research also explores how specific, historically and institutionally embedded traditions of political praxis might inform and further develop the Thomistic tradition itself—in other words, how “theory” can learn from “praxis.” Though his primary questions are ethical and theological in nature, therefore, Nicholas’s work draws on a variety of empirical and practical disciplines, from which he is always eager to learn.
Within this larger vein, Nicholas’s dissertation project focuses on the historical and theological relationship between Thomistic political theology and the tradition of community organizing first developed by Saul Alinsky in the United States in the 1930s. More specifically, the project examines the way in which the Alinsky tradition of organizing offers a model for a “politics of the common good,” and provides resources for critically re-imagining and reconstructing this central concept of the Thomistic political tradition (and of Catholic social thought more broadly). The study proposes a shift from construing the common good in principally dialogical terms (as an object attained through rational dialogue) to interpreting it through a more complex and conflictual model of social action. It also draws on organizing to develop an account of how specific practices cultivate political virtues in individuals and institutions. Engaging with a variety of classic and contemporary theologians, organizers, and scholars of organizing, Nicholas’s research is also informed by his own experience in faith-based community organizing, through which he remains involved as a leader in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
Jared Highlen is a second year Ph.D. student in the Philosophy Department at Boston College, where his research focuses on hermeneutics and phenomenology. He received his B.A. in History and Philosophy at Wheaton College before completing an M.A. in Philosophy at Boston College. In addition to his teaching duties and research, Jared organizes the annual Northeastern Philosophy of Religion Colloquium (NEPRC) and serves on the advisory board of the Guestbook Project.
His current project brings together various thinkers in the phenomenological tradition – Hannah Arendt, Vladimir Jankélévitch, Paul Ricoeur – in order to understand the nature and role of forgiveness as a political phenomenon. Expressions of gratuitous forgiveness in response to staggering violence or injustice often enter the public imagination as inspirational stories. And yet there remains a curious tension between the transformative power of forgiveness and the demands of political justice. Despite gestures toward the incorporation of forgiveness into our political institutions – pardons, clemency, sentence commutation, and the like – it remains the case that forgiveness appears to be fundamentally at odds with the political requirements of a liberal society. If it is good to forgive, is it also just?
These kinds of questions mirror some of the debates within phenomenology on the nature of forgiveness, where it is understood either as a quasi-impossible ethical demand or, on the contrary, as a necessary condition for a functioning political community. Jared’s research seeks to navigate these disparate perspectives and, giving sufficient phenomenological attention to the concept itself, better articulate the role that forgiveness comes to play in our democratic community.
Alexey Khazanov is pursuing his PhD degree in Economics at Boston College. He graduated from Moscow State University with bachelor’s degree in economics, and received a master’s degree in the same subject from New Economic School — both in Moscow, Russia. Prior to joining the Boston College community, he spent two years working at policy institutions (the Central Bank of Russia and the IMF), as well as a research fellow at his alma mater.
Alexey is conducting research in the fields of Macroeconomics and International Finance focusing mostly on the issues related to sovereign and municipal debt markets. Namely, he considers the economic impact of governments’ borrowing policies on asset prices and economic dynamics. In one of his projects he demonstrates that the presence of the sovereign default risk allows investors to benefit from trading on the currency markets — just until the moment when the government actually defaults on its debt.
The incidents of sovereign defaults can tell a large part of modern world’s economic history. Considered previously a “curse” of developing economies, the possibility of sovereign default became a true test of the sustainability of the European Union in 2010s. Economists have developed a broad set of quantitative tools to address these issues and provide policy recommendations. However, the issue of local governments’ defaults — such as the one that happened in Detroit in 2013 — and its importance for the national economy have not been yet investigated in detail.
The part of dissertation Alexey is working on as a Clough Center fellow is devoted to the impact of local governments’ policies on national economy’s dynamics in the United States. As in many developed countries, the overall government spending in the US is mildly countercyclical. However, what does happen at the municipal level? How do institutional constraints in spending and taxation affect the policies that local governments conduct? And, most importantly, how is it reflected in economic dynamics at local and country levels? Alexey addresses these questions in his project, working both with the municipal-level data, and with complex economic models.
Elise Largesse is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the Sociology department at Boston College, focusing on the sociology of place and environmental sociology. She received her MA in Sociology at Boston College, and her BA in Comparative Science and Religion at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Elise’s research interests also include media discourse and visual culture, inequality, risk, community sociology, human and critical geography, the sociology of development, and research methods.
Elise’s MA thesis, “Anthropogenic Coverage Change: Emergent Vocabularies within the Boston Globe’s Climate Change Coverage,” addressed the diversifying representations of climate change in mass media by altering a method of text analysis typically used in the disciplines of computer and information science and not yet used in sociological studies. By analyzing 35 years (3,786 articles) of climate change coverage in the Boston Globe, she addressed the nature and framing of coverage as it changed over time. These findings, showing movement from ecological framing into technological, public health and economic/activist frames, were presented at the 2016 annual conferences of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and at Boston College’s Big Data Research Day in 2016.
Her ongoing dissertation work examines the relationships between place, community, environment and economy on Nantucket Island, MA, through a multi-method study involving ethnography, participant observation, document analysis and spatial analysis using GIS data. Interviews with year-round island residents from the first phase of research revealed sentiments of conflict regarding the actions required for long-term and short-term viability of the year-round community, due to the co-amplifying pressures of climate change and tourism. The second research phase, supported by the Clough Center, will engage with island property owners that primarily live elsewhere. Preliminary findings were presented at the annual conferences of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems in 2017, 2019 and 2020 (canceled due to COVID-19) as well as the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society in 2019 and 2020.
In addition to her research, Elise is passionate about teaching, and has taught Introductory Sociology and Introduction to Sociological Thinking for Healthcare Professions at Boston College. She redesigned and has been teaching the Environmental Justice course at Boston College from Fall 2019-Spring 2021. For this work, she was awarded the 2020 Donald J. White Excellence in Teaching Award.
Alex Moskowitz is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. He holds an M.A. in English from Boston College and a B.A. in Literature from SUNY Purchase. He is interested in American literature through the nineteenth century, African American literature, political economy, radical democracy, and critical theory.
Alex’s research project takes as its starting point the notion that sensory perception was fundamental to how American writers imagined the relation between literature and political possibility in the nineteenth century. His dissertation, “American Imperception: Literary Form, Sensory Perception, and Political Economy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature,” argues that American writers of the nineteenth century were deeply interested in how literature and literary form could be mobilized as an extrasensory apparatus that would make legible what in his project he terms “structures of imperception”: how sensory perception is structured by the otherwise imperceptible influence of political economy. These structures of imperception show up across works in the nineteenth century, as writers investigate how otherwise physically and sensuously perceptible objects, events, and social realities nevertheless fail to register with and become cognizable to characters in the texts under consideration. By tracing such moments of imperception, Alex’s dissertation explores how—in a number of texts by Henry David Thoreau, Martin Delany, Herman Melville, David Walker, and Nathaniel Hawthorne—American writers saw literature as site of potential political and social change, where literary form could be used not only to chronicle how and why the world appears as it does, but also to begin the work of retraining the senses to become sensitive to that which the structures of imperception have made it impossible to perceive. Central to his project is the notion that American writers were interested in the possibility of a type of democracy beyond what can be contained within the liberal framework into which they have traditionally been read. Part of what his project seeks to do is to bring to the study of literary aesthetics a sense of political urgency: while the study of aesthetics in literary criticism has been thought to be markedly apolitical, Alex’s dissertation argues that a properly political understanding of literature requires an engagement with it primarily as an aesthetic object.
Alex’s work has appeared in American Literary History and in Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture & Politics. He also serves as Associate Editor of The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies.
Hilary Ogonna Nwainya
Hilary Ogonna Nwainya is a doctoral student in the theology department of Boston College with a specialization in ethics. He has a background in communication, philosophy and theology in Nigeria and Ireland. His research interests revolve around the common good, African ethics, peacebuilding, environmental ethics, vulnerability, identity, systemic racism, implicit bias and the ethics of recognition. He has published works in the proceedings of the Catholic Theological Association of Nigeria (CATHAN). His most recent conference presentations include: “Twenty Five Years after the Genocide: Can Rwanda Embrace an Ethics of Recognition?” (Kigali-Rwanda, June 20-22, 2019), "Bias, Conversion and Recognition: Contextualizing Lonergan’s Theology of Conversion in Post–genocide Rwanda" (Marquette University, September 20-21, 2019), and “Improving Patients’ Access to Healthcare: From Implicit Bias to Impartial Treatment” (World Congress on Bioethics, Philadelphia, June 19-21, 2020).
Hilary is delighted to join outstanding doctoral candidates in History, Philosophy, English, Economics, Theology, Sociology, Political Science and Law as a Clough Graduate Fellow for the year 2020/2021. His doctoral research focuses on re-modeling constitutional democracy in Africa using insights from the African palaver ethics. It seeks to address the critical question of whether or not constitutional democracy can flourish in Africa. It answers this question affirmatively and proposes the model of recognition practiced in traditional African palaver institution as an ethical framework for a homegrown constitutional democracy that could flourish in Africa. Essentially, his research aims to debunk the idea that democracy is alien to Africa by arguing that its purest form could be found in the African palaver prior to foreign influences on the continent. It, however, acknowledges the need for a homegrown model of constitutional democracy on the historical fact that various “inherited” democracies have not flourished in most African states. It, thus, proposes the ethics of recognition based on the African Palaver model as a way forward in this direction.
Hilary’s ethics of recognition highlights the significance of recognition as a basic human need, rather than a favor that can be granted or withdrawn. It differentiates the need for recognition from the demand for recognition and the struggle for recognition in democratic societies. It argues that inherited models of democracy in Africa lack a practical model for addressing recognition as a genuine human need. It notes that, this lack escalates the need for recognition to the level of demand thereby causing tensions within democratic states. It further argues that, since recognition is not usually addressed as a need or tackled promptly at the level of demand, it usually degenerates into a struggle at which point most democratic institutions fail. Hilary’s research, therefore, insists that an ethical framework that approaches recognition as a genuine human need, in the spirit of ubuntu, is necessary for re-modeling, improving and sustaining a homegrown constitutional democracy that works in Africa. Hilary is also a Catholic priest, a chartered mediator and a learning technology consultant. He has interest in foreign languages, country music, travelling and watching detective movies.
Jocelyn Rice is an English Ph.D. student at Boston College, where she studies twentieth-century American literature and culture with a focus on material culture and the built environment. She is interested in American culture during periods of social and political reform. In 2012, Jocelyn graduated from Bates College with a degree in American history, and in 2015, she received her master’s degree in English literature from Boston College.
Jocelyn’s research considers institutional change through the methodological insights of material culture studies. By examining the social history of college architecture, Jocelyn studies how campus design serves as historical evidence that can help us to understand higher education’s relationship to reform movements and institutional development. She is also interested in campuses' "consumption," or how they were used and understood by later generations of students, faculty, and the public. By examining how campus design and architecture was discussed, used, and transformed, she investigates how they relate to or deviate from the ideology of its creators and what this expresses about the shifting cultures of their institutions. Jocelyn’s mode of inquiry allows her to place detailed research and analysis within the broader context of material culture by reading an artifact’s style as evidence of a culture’s ideologies and values.
Jocelyn is the co-director of the English Graduate Conference and the English Pedagogy Seminar. She has taught literature core and first-year writing at Boston College. In the fall, she will teach an elective entitled “Imagining New England.” In addition, Jocelyn serves as a Proctor and First-Year Advisor at Harvard University.
Priyanka Sarda is a Ph.D. student in Economics at Boston College specializing in development economics. She holds a BSc in Economics from Presidency University, Kolkata, India; an MSc in Economics from the University of College, London and an MSc in Management and Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Prior to joining Boston College, she worked as a research assistant at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.
Her research focuses on issues related to gender inequality, early life health and intra-household decision making in low income countries. In her doctoral research she aims to analyze different dimensions of socioeconomic inequality.
In her dissertation research, she sheds light on the sources and consequences of unequal treatment among children in the household to gauge their relative salience. She proposes a compelling structural model framework that combines insights from the theoretical literature on intrahousehold resource allocation and fetal origins literature. She investigates how parents respond to children’s initial birth endowments, and whether these responses come at the cost or to the benefit of other siblings. Furthermore, she attempts to calculate the degree to which parents have an aversion to inequality among their children.
In other co-authored research, she is a part of the team conducting large-scale randomized controlled trial in south India. The trial evaluates a program that provides subsidies to firms for training and placing rural women workers in formal sector jobs in urban areas. Using the randomized access to training and job placement opportunities induced by this trial, she aims to evaluate impacts of the program on three categories of outcomes: women’s social and economic wellbeing; resource and time investments in children; and child health and socioeconomic development. Additionally, she examines the social, structural, and economic processes that shape women’s bargaining power within these households. This research will provide timely relevant knowledge and help policymakers to accurately assess the costs and benefits of female employment-related interventions, as well as predict characteristics of successful rural to urban migration over the short and long run.
In another chapter of her doctoral thesis, she studies the political economy of health provisions. Specifically, she looks at the impact of gender-based quotas in village councils in India on individual and village-level health outcomes, with a focus on infant and maternal health.
To answer the different questions posed in these projects, she has embraced a variety of techniques- ranging from estimation of rigorous econometric models, developing theoretical models, and supervising primary data collection exercises. As a social scientist, she aims to pursue research that can help answer policy relevant questions and bring objective evidence into discussions.
Priyanka is also the recipient of several awards: Dissertation Fellowship Award (2018), the Donald White Teaching Award (2019,2018) and the Dean of Summer Session Teaching Fellowship, Boston College (2019) given for excellence in teaching. She is also co-PI on a grant awarded by the IPA Intimate Partner Violence Initiative (2019).
Isaiah Sterrett is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department of Boston College, where he concentrates on the cultural, intellectual, and political history of the United States. Of particular interest to him is the nexus between public affairs and private life. In his present research, Isaiah deals with one of the crucial conflicts of nineteenth-century American culture. Soon after the Revolution, young New Englanders began leaving their homes—sometimes for the city, sometimes for the burgeoning West—as never before. On the one hand, in leaving their homes and forging their own paths, young Northerners helped build a nation, fulfilling their own aspirations and, in many cases, those of their forbears. On the other, however, contemporaries continued to regard the home as the central training ground for balanced, patriotic, upstanding men and women. How, many wondered, would such virtues be transmitted from one generation to the next if not by parents in the home? Who, if not mothers and fathers, would stand between young people and the many perils of the world? These and similar questions are starting points of Isaiah’s culminating doctoral project, which spans the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods and is based upon childrearing texts, popular periodicals, as well as contemporary fiction.
Isaiah Sterrett holds a B.A. (2010), cum laude, and an M.A. (2012) in Political Science, both from Boston College. The 2020-2021 academic year will mark his third consecutive year as a Clough Graduate Fellow.
Will Stratford is a Ph.D. candidate in modern European history in his second year at Boston college. After receiving his B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy at Davidson College, he worked in Chicago for five years as a high school tutor for the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab, a library assistant for the University of Chicago Library, a volunteer projectionist for the Doc Films cinema, and a bartender. During the 2018/2019 academic year, he taught middle school English for the JET Program in Japan.
In his first year at Boston College, Will spearheaded the introduction of several critical dialogues to BC’s campus. As a member of the Platypus Affiliated Society and a former copy-editor for the Platypus Review, Will began the process of founding Platypus BC as a new student organization at Boston College. Along with its weekly reading group on the history of the Left that he led, Platypus BC hosted its first on-campus public forum, Freedom in the Anthropocene, in February 2020. The panel he organized and mediated included representatives of the DSA, the Green Party, Platypus, and the BC graduate student body. Starting in the 2020/2021 academic year, Will will serve as a teaching assistant for courses on early modern European history and modern global intellectual history.
Will’s main interests concern the history of ideas in the modern era, especially radical political thought and social theory in Europe and America and its concomitant labor history. In his first year at BC, he wrote a research paper on Victor Berger, America’s first Socialist congressman, which has recently been submitted for publication. The paper, “A ‘Student of History’: The Marxism of Victor Berger in the Heyday of American Socialism,” aims to recover the lost history of socialist thought from the obscuring lenses of Progressivism, Populism, anarchism, scientism, and official Communism. As he argues, recent talk of a Second Gilded Age today overlooks the vastly different roles “socialism” played in the contemporary dialogues: in the first Gilded Age, Marxist theory linked the formation of massive socialist parties like the Socialist Party of America to a totalizing philosophy of history and international political change. Rather than fighting for a stronger welfare state like socialists today, even the most conservative Socialists like Wisconsin Representative Victor Berger remarkably campaigned for the abolition of wage labor and the complete overthrow of capitalism.
Will’s current research addresses a little-studied movement in contemporary history, the Antideutsche (anti-Germans), a far-Left political current that emerged during German reunification in 1990. Though it never formed a mass political organization of its own, Antideutsche thought developed into an influential critical tendency on the far Left in German-speaking Europe. As virtually no English scholarship exists on the Antideutsche, Will seeks to make a significant contribution to English-language contemporary intellectual and political history by analyzing and contextualizing this significant new movement. His research looks to intersect three major interdisciplinary conversations: disruptions of familiar left–right political distinctions, revisions of late twentieth-century historical periodization, and reformulations of the power of ideology in politics.