Graduate Student Profiles
For a complete list of PhD students currently enrolled in the NYU Department of History that reflects the program's diversity and range of intellectual inquiry, please click here.
Our graduate student profiles are organized alphabetically by last name. Please use the alphabet below to navigate to the student you are looking for.
Dissertation: “Lagoon City: Lagos in the Nineteenth Century Bight of Benin."
Committee: Michael Gomez, Fred Cooper, Guy Ortolano, Abosede George.
Research Fields: Africa, African Diaspora, Urban History, Historical Cartography, Digital Humanities.
“Lagoon City: Lagos in the Nineteenth Century Bight of Benin” is a spatial history of Lagos between 1845 and 1868, one that takes into account Lagos’ role as the economic, political and cultural focal point of the region. My research is rooted in urban history, but offers an interdisciplinary response to analyzing the ways that coastal West Africans imagined, manipulated and represented their cities. By analyzing myths of origin, songs, missionary journals, newspapers, naval dispatches and reports, in tandem with the colonial maps, sketches and surveys that fix and plot their ideas and activities, I create maps paired with textual narratives to reconstruct their past in place.
“Colonial Cartographies and Pre-Colonial Africa,” presented at Measuring and Mapping Space: A Current Exhibit at The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), 2014.
“Cultural Geography and Graduate Scholarship in the Humanities: A Roundtable on Digital Methods,” NY Digital Humanities Symposium, 2014.
“Doing Diaspora: Reimagining Space in Colonial Lagos (1859-63)” presented at African Diasporas: Old and New, University of Texas-Austin, 2014.
“Risks in Representation: Looking at Lagos in the 1840s,” presented at the 8th Annual New York Africanist Historians Workshop, Princeton University, NJ, 2014.
“Lagoon Itineraries” presented at the African Studies Association (ASA) Conference, Baltimore, MD, 2013.
“‘Mo Ofi Illu Mi Fi Torreh’: Space and Diaspora in Colonial Lagos,” presented at the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2013.
“Precolonial Patterning: Re-imagining Spatial Practice in 1850s Lagos,” presented at the Colonial and Post-Colonial Planning in Africa Conference, hosted by the International Planning History Society (IPHS), University of Lisbon, Portugal, 2013.
Jeannette Estruth is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History at New York University and the Associate Editor of the Radical History Review. Her dissertation is entitled “A Political History of the Silicon Valley: Structural Change, Urban Transformation, and Local Social Movements, 1945 to 1984.” She is an Americanist, advised by Professors Thomas Bender, Linda Gordon, and Andrew Needham.
Advisor: Frederick Cooper
I am a specialist in the history of twentieth century Francophone West Africa, with thematic interests in international development, decolonization, religion, and education. My dissertation is entitled ‘“So That Tomorrow Would Be Better for Us:’ Developing French-Funded Catholic Schools in Dahomey and Senegal, 1946-1975.” I analyze the rapid expansion of Catholic schools in a largely Muslim and multi-religious West Africa from the post-World War II to the postcolonial period. I draw on never before used sources from over twenty official and unofficial archives in Benin, Senegal, Italy, and France, as well as interviews conducted with over 60 former students. The moral, civic vision of those affiliated with these schools influenced a key generation of schoolchildren, many of whom carried this into their professional lives as public servants and citizens of newly independent West African nations.
Roundtable: “Digital Tools: From the Archive to Publication.” American Historical Association. New York, NY. January 2015.
Chair. “Oral History: A Reflection on Interdisciplinary Methods” African Studies Association. Indianapolis, IN. November 2014.
“Exporting French Culture: Diplomacy Through French Institutions in Post-1945 Europe and African Colonies.” Society for French Historical Studies. Montreal, QC, Canada. April 2014. Panel sponsored by the Society for the Study of French History (UK) Postgraduate Panel Bursary.
Panelist on roundtable “Digital Tools: From the Archive to Publication.” American Historical Association. New York, NY. January 2015.
“Integrating Histories: Methodological Insights From Interviewing Students on Education in Post-1945 Senegal and Benin.” African Studies Association. Indianapolis, IN. November 2014.
“A French School in Every Village: Postwar French Cultural Politics in West Africa,” Society for French Historical Studies. Montreal, QC, Canada. April 2014.
“Reforming Empire: Promoting Mass Education in Postwar French West Africa,” Symposium: New Perspectives on Postwar Empires in Africa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI. April 2014.
“Developing Education: Goals and Outcomes of French-Funded Catholic Schools in Benin and Senegal, 1946-1975.” African Studies Association. Baltimore, MD. November 2013.
“‘Educating the French Citizens of Tomorrow’: France’s Post-War Efforts at Mass Education in West Africa.” French Colonial Historical Society. New Orleans, LA. May 2012.
“Transforming Empire: Education in Post-War French West Africa.” African Studies Association. Washington, DC. November 2011.
“Debating French Christian Education in West Africa After World War II.” French Colonial Historical Society. Toronto, ON, Canada. June 2011.
“Post-War Development and Social Politics in French West Africa: Reexamining Colonial-Metropolitan Relations.” Development Winter School of ETH Zurich, Ascona, Switzerland. January 2011
Fields: Modern Europe, Modern Jewish History
Advisor: Marion Kaplan, Mary Nolan
Expected date of graduation: May 2015
Anna Koch is a Ph.D. candidate in NYU’s Joint Program in History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies. Her dissertation titled “Home after Fascism? Italian and German Jews after the Holocaust, 1944-1952” compares the experiences of Jews who resettled in West Germany, East Germany and Italy after 1945, and explores how extreme state violence changed surviving Jews’ relation to the nation-states they once called home. Her work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, among others. Anna Koch has been a fellow at the Center for Jewish History, the German Historical Institute in Rome, and the NYU Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization.
Naoko Koda is a Ph.D. candidate in the final stage of completing her dissertation, entitled “The U.S. Cold War and the Japanese Student Movement, 1948-1968” under the supervision of Marilyn B. Young, Moss Roberts, and Robert Cohen. Her dissertation examines the Japanese student movement in the context of U.S.-Japan Cold War relations. Koda’s research and teaching interests lie in the Cold War, transnational social movements, and the history of modern Japan.
Koda’s publications include, “Guarding News for the Movement: The Guardian and the Vietnam War, 1954-70,” in Media and Revolt: Strategies and Performances from the 1960s to the Present, edited by Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Erling Sivertsen and Rolf Werenskjold, 2014. She taught “Modern History of Japan from 1600 to Present” at Hunter College in 2014.
Max Antonio Mishler
Dissertation: “The Atlantic Origins of Mass Incarceration: Punishment, Abolition, and Racial Inequality”
Committee: Martha Hodes, Jennifer Morgan, Thomas Bender, and Karen Kupperman
Research Fields: The Atlantic World, Early American History, Comparative Slavery and Abolition, Social Reform, History of Capitalism, Nineteenth Century U.S.
Max Mishler is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at New York University. His dissertation, “The Atlantic Origins of Mass Incarceration: Punishment, Abolition, and Racial Inequality,” explores the intertwined histories of prison and slave-emancipation in the Atlantic world during the long nineteenth century. His research has been supported by year-long fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as short-term fellowships from the New-York Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Newberry Library. Max is also academic advisor to a public history project on incarceration in America based at the Humanities Action Lab in New York City.
Jeppe Mulich holds an MA in European Studies from Yale University and a BSc in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen. His work lies in the disciplinary intersection between history, sociology, and international relations and focuses on theories of empire in global history, in particular the constitutive qualities of imperial practices; trans-imperial networks and regional integration; hierarchy and international orders; and globalization as a historical phenomenon. At New York University he works with Lauren Benton and his dissertation, examining inter-imperial relations in the colonial Caribbean, is entitled “In a Sea of Empires: Networks and Crossings in the Leeward Islands, 1783-1834.”
Jeppe has published in The Journal of Global History, co-authored a piece in a forthcoming anthology on spatial history, and presented ongoing research at a number of conferences, including the International Studies Association, the Society of Early Americanists, and the Millennium Conference at the LSE. Before embarking upon his doctoral studies, he worked on political affairs at the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations in New York.
Alison K. Okuda
Alison K. Okuda entered the doctoral program in African Diaspora History in 2009 and, along the way, she was awarded a M.Phil. in History. Under the guidance of Michael Gomez, she is currently writing her dissertation, entitled “Caribbean and African Exchanges: The Post-Colonial Transformation of Ghanaian Music, Identity, and Social Structure.” It questions the meaning of pan-Africanism for individuals in Ghana and the Caribbean through a look at inter-community relations in the music scenes of London and Accra during the mid-twentieth century. Focusing on how these people experienced a variety of music and cultures demonstrates that popular conceptions of pan-Africanism in Ghana were expansive and included the African diaspora. Such an inclusive attitude subsequently influenced Ghanaian policies and institutions during the process of nation building. In addition to her research fields in African Diaspora, West African, and cultural history, Alison has research and teaching interests in Caribbean, African American, and migration studies.
Ms. Okuda has been an active member of the history department through such activities as the African/Diaspora Student Workshop, which she co-created, the Graduate History Teaching Collaborative, which she also co-created and has continued to serve on its organizing committee, and the Africa-Diaspora Forum, a faculty-led program for which she is the current assistant. Recently, she has taught such courses as “Africa: History and Culture” at Concordia University-Wisconsin and “Narratives of Cultural Exchange in African Diaspora History” at NYU, as well as led discussions as a Teaching Assistant for “Cultures and Contexts: Global Asia.” Her commitment to teaching is further supported by her publications in the history department-funded Graduate Teaching Handbook and the journal Metropolitan Archivist under the title, “Dual Uses of the Archives: Critical Moments in Researching and Teaching” (Summer 2013). Alison has also presented her work in range of spaces, from the African/Diaspora Student Workshop to international conferences convened by the Ghana Studies Association, the Association of Caribbean Historians, and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora.
Gabriel de Avilez Rocha
Advisor: Lauren Benton
I am a PhD Candidate specializing in the social, legal, and environmental history of the early modern Iberian Atlantic. My research investigates how inhabitants of the Atlantic world built colonial societies, local economies, and institutions of governance through a politics of collective stewardship over subsistence and commercial resources. I argue in my dissertation that a diverse cast of migrants, mariners, merchants, and officials on archipelagos across the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Atlantic built empire most prominently through popular practices organized under the rubric of the "commons": sets of resources or property identified as belonging to more than one person. How people found, benefitted, and fought over the commons – in initiatives as varied as fishing, pastoralism, and slaving – structured the Portuguese and Spanish empires from their earliest years.
My teaching and research interests include the colonial Americas, ethnohistory of the contact period, late medieval and early modern Iberia, slavery and marronage in the Atlantic world, and empires in world history. Other areas of interest include political ecology, actor-network theory, and the history of human-animal relations.
Selected Publications and Presentations:
“Birds’ Eye Views of Terceira: Convergences on the Azores in the Sixteenth Century”: Presentation at Port Cities in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800. McNeil Center for Early American Studies, November 2015.
“Institutionalizing Plunder: French and Iberian Triangulations in the Atlantic Commons”: Presentation at Emerging Histories of the Early Modern French Atlantic. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, October 2015.
“Tordesillas Revisited: Conquest and the ‘Little Fishes of the Sea’ in the Ibero-African Atlantic, 1480-1509.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. Johns Hopkins University, March 2015.
Co-editor, with Kenneth Maxwell, Bruno Carvalho, and John Huffman, O Livro de Tiradentes: Transmissão Atlântica de Idéias Políticas no Século XVIII (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2013).
“Long Island, New York and the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century: Archival Leads at NYU”: Presentation for the Sylvester Manor Working Group, Fales Library, April 2012.
Ahmad Shokr is a doctoral candidate in NYU’s Joint Program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. His areas of research include the history of the modern Middle East, the political economy of empire and decolonization, the history of economic thought, the global history of development, environmental history, and postcolonial state formation. He is currently completing his dissertation, entitled “Beyond the Fields: Cotton and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1919-1956,” under the supervision of Zachary Lockman. “Beyond the Fields” is a study of the relationship between state power and economic management in the era of decolonization. Set in Egypt during the interwar and early postwar years, it looks at transformations in the world of infrastructure around cotton—how it was financed, transported, marketed, and exported—as a lens to understand changing forms and technologies of the state and geographies of state power, the politics of postcolonial economic nationalism, and the unmaking of imperial globalization during this period.
Shokr holds an MA in Near Eastern Studies from NYU. He is a book review editor for the Arab Studies Journal and a former senior editor at Egypt Independent, the English-language edition of one of the largest circulating dailies in Egypt. His writings on historical and contemporary political issues have appeared in Arab Studies Journal, Middle East Report, Jadaliyya, and Economic and Political Weekly. He is also a contributor to several volumes, including Dispatches from the Arab Spring: Understanding the New Middle East (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) and The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest, and Social Change in Egypt (Verso, 2012).
Book review of Nancy Y. Reynolds, A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012) inInternational Journal of Middle East Studies, 46, No. 4 (November 2014) (forthcoming)
“Libya.” Co-authored with Anjali Kamat. Dispatches from the Arab Spring: Understanding the New Middle East. Paul Amar and Vijay Prashad, eds. (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), 157-203.
“Reflections on Two Revolutions.” Middle East Report, No. 265 (Winter 2012), 2-12
“The 18 days of Tahrir.” Middle East Report, No. 258 (Spring 2011). Republished in The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest, and Social Change in Egypt. Jeannie Sowers and Chris Toensing, eds. (London: Verso, 2012), 41-46
“Libya’s Reformist Revolutionaries.” Co-authored with Anjali Kamat. Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI, No. 12 (March 19, 2011), 13-14
“The Price of Stability: Egypt’s Democratic Uprising.” Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI, No.7 (February17, 2011), 10-12
Economy, and the Aswan High Dam in Mid-Century Egypt.” Arab Studies
Journal XVII, No. 1 (Spring 2009), 9-31
Jonathan Square is an advanced PhD candidate in history at New York University in the Latin America and African Diaspora programs, completing his dissertation with the aid of the John Hope Franklin Dissertation Fellowship as well as a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. His dissertation “Double Jeopardy: Slavery, Imprisonment, and the Fragility of Freedom in Imperial Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1888 uses prison records as a lens through which to examine the meanings of freedom and enslavement in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. The dissertation is being written under the supervision of Barbara Weinstein. His dissertation committee also includes Ada Ferrer, Herman Bennett, Michael Gomez, and Sinclair Thomson. In addition to his doctoral work at NYU, Square holds a MA in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in history and comparative literature from Cornell University.
Dissertation Title: "Marvelous and Monstrous: The Problem of Control in Atlantic Colonial Botany"
Advisor: Karen Kupperman
Main Field: Atlantic History
Fields of Interest: Environmental History; History of Science and Technology
Advisors: David Engel and Larry Wolff
Sarah Zarrow concentrates on modern European Jewish history, with a particular focus on Jews in Eastern and Central Europe and on cultural and linguistic practices. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "Collecting Themselves: Jewish Documentation and Display in Interwar Poland," examines the social role of ethnographic practice for Jews in interwar Poland. Sarah is on the editorial board of the new online Yiddish Studies journal in geveb, and is the Lead Archival Consultant for the Adrienne Cooper Project at YIVO. She has worked at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Sarah currently has a chapter under review for the forthcoming volume Going to the People, titled “‘Holy Collection Work’: YIVO’s Relationship with its Zamlers.” Going to the People is edited by Jeffrey Veidlinger, and will be published by Indiana University Press. Her article on the development of, and collection for, the Jewish museum in Lwów, “Object Lessons: Art Collection and Display as Historical Practice in Interwar Lwów,” will appear in Polin volume 26 (November 2016). www.sarahellenzarrow.com