Erik Freeman

Congratulations to UCHI’s 2021–2022 Graduate Research Scholars

UCHI wishes to extend congratulations to this year’s graduate research scholars—Erik Freeman, Carol Gray, Drew Johnson, and Anna Ziering. All four of the 2021–2022 graduate fellows are headed off to postdoctoral fellowships or tenure-track jobs this fall.

Erik Freeman (History) will be assistant professor of American History at Snow College in Ephraim, UT. He will be defending his dissertation, “The Mormon International: Transnational Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1890,” this summmer. His committee members are Christopher Clark (advisor), Manisha Sinha, and Sylvia Schafer (Nina Dayton and Segio Luzzato are readers).

Carol Gray (Political Science) was awarded the Mary Miles Bibb Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellowship at Framingham State University (FSU) in Framingham, Massachusetts. The two-year fellowship, at the rank of Assistant Professor, begins in Fall 2022, and focuses on courses in American Politics and Pre-Law. The Fellowship is named for Mary Miles Bibb who was the first Black woman graduate of FSU in 1843 who went on to teach in Boston and Philadelphia. Gray will be defending her dissertation, “Law as a Site of Struggle for Human Rights,” a case study about Egypt and human rights NGOs, in June. Her committee members are Jeremy Pressman (advisor), Cyrus Zirakzadeh, Thomas Hayes (Jennifer Sterling-Folker and Bruce Rutherford are readers.)

Drew Johnson (Philosophy) will be starting a two-year research postdoc in August, associated with the ERC-funded GoodAttention project at the University of Oslo. He will be working on Subproject 1 of the Descriptive Strand of the project, on identifying natural norms for attention. Drew recently defended his dissertation, “A Hybrid Theory of Ethical Thought and Discourse.” His committee members are Dorit Bar-On (advisor), Michael Lynch, Paul Bloomfield, and William Lycan.

Anna Ziering (English) has accepted a position as assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies (affiliated with African American Studies) at Oglethorpe University. She recently defended her dissertation, “Dirty Forms: Masochism, Race, and World-Making in U.S. Literature and Culture,” and her committee members are Chris Vials (advisor), Greg Pierrot, and fellow 2021–22 UCHI fellow Micki McElya.

Please join us in congratulating Erik, Carol, Drew, and Anna!!

Fellow’s Talk: Erik Freeman on the Mormon International

2021-22 UCHI fellow's talk. “The Mormon International: Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1890.” PhD Candidate, History, Erik Freeman, with a response by Micki McElya. October 27, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge 4, 209.

The Mormon International: Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1890

Erik Freeman (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

with a response by Micki McElya (History, UConn)

Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 4:00pm. Homer Babbidge Library, 4-209.
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“The Mormon International: Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1890” examines early Mormon communitarianism within the context and development of transnational socialism by following the journey of four key European communitarian socialist figures who converted to Mormonism during the nineteenth century. Each of these converts’ story highlights a specific type of communitarian socialism from a different geographic region outside of the United States that influenced the growth and development of Mormonism. The experiences of these radical converts to Mormonism portray a political and cultural world that challenges the traditional understanding of Mormonism as a uniquely American religious tradition and international socialism as primarily a secular political ideology.

Erik Freeman is the Draper Dissertation Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute and a doctoral candidate in UConn’s Department of History. He earned a B.A. in French at Brigham Young University in 2008 and an M.A. in History at Brandeis University in 2013. Since 2013, he has served as an instructor of history at Choate Rosemary Hall, in Wallingford, Connecticut, where he has taught courses on environmental history, environmental policy, American history, European history, and the American West. Erik’s article “‘True Christianity’: The Flowering and Fading of Mormonism and Romantic Socialism in Nineteenth-Century France,” won the Best Article Award at the Communal Studies Association’s annual conference in 2018, and the Best International Article Award from the Mormon Historical Association in 2019.

Micki McElya received her B.A. in history from Bryn Mawr College in 1994 and a Ph.D. from New York University in 2003. Before joining the faculty of the University of Connecticut, she was an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama (2003–2008). McElya is currently an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Her recently published book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2017 and a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. It was a co-winner of the 2018 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies, winner of the inaugural Sharon Harris Book Prize from UConn’s Humanities Institute, and finalist for the 2016 Jefferson Davis Book Award from the American Civil War Museum. McElya’s first book, Clinging to Mammy, won a 2007 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. She was named a “Top Young Historian” by the History News Network in 2008.

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