History Scholars Offer New Perspectives

It is not uncommon for graduates of the Transatlantic History Ph.D. program to publish a book now and then. What is rare is to have several recent Department of History graduates and students with recently published works all at the same time.

“In recent years, our discipline has increasingly recognized transatlantic history as an important research field,” said Associate Professor John Garrigus, advisor for the doctoral program. “This, plus the expertise of our faculty and their own hard work has paid off for our graduate students and alumni.”

Lecturer David Watry (’14) said much of his research work and dissertation made up the bulk of Diplomacy at the Brink: Eisenhower, Churchill and Eden in the Cold War (LSU Press), an exploration of the “often-strained” relationships between United States and United Kingdom leaders following World War II. He credits Associate Professor Joyce Goldberg with helping him finish the project.

“Joyce was the chairman of my dissertation committee and went over my dissertation numerous times with her infamous purple pen,” Watry said. “She always gave me excellent advice and encouragement.”

Faculty members were also influential in motivating Julie Holcomb (’13) to complete her book on slave labor boycotts and free produce markets. Holcomb, an assistant professor at Baylor University, said classes with professors Stephanie Cole and Sam Haynes shaped her work into Moral Commerce: The Transatlantic Boycott of Slave Labor, a new book currently under contract with Cornell University Press. The guidance and perspective these professors offered enabled her to make stronger connections between the morals and ethics of American society 200 years ago and today.

“I hope readers [of Moral Commerce] will have a greater appreciation of the importance of resilience and persistence,” she said. “In the 18th and 19th centuries, boycotting slave-labor goods helped thousands of people take daily action against slavery and inspired their hope that consumer choice could undermine major economic oppression. The supporters of the boycott were never a majority and their boycott failed to undermine slavery. Still, they persisted because they had a greater vision of economic harmony that extended across classes and race and beyond capitalism.”

Transatlantic History Ph.D. graduates are tackling other subjects as well: Pawel Goral (‘12) published Cold War Rivalry and the Perception of the American West (Palgrave MacMillan Transnational History), a look at identity creations of East and West Germany after World War II, and Jeff Dillman (‘11) is expected to have his book, Colonizing Paradise: Landscape and Empire in British West Indies (University of Alabama Press), published this spring.

Even current Transatlantic students are getting in on the publishing boom: Doctoral candidate Robert Caldwell is expected to release Choctaw-Apache Food Ways, a book on Native American recipes, through Stephen F. Austin University Press in February.

“I think that one of the benefits of our doctoral program is that we encourage our students to publish early and widely,” said Associate Professor and Department Chair William M. Dulaney. “We want to prepare them for a very competitive job market by having them complete research projects in our program that our publishable and that make an impact on the field.”

For more information on the Transatlantic History Ph.D. program, visit the department’s website. UTA doctoral students also publish regularly in an online, peer-reviewed journal, Traversea.


(Story by James Dunning/COLA Communciations, jdunning@uta.edu)

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