Michael J. Albani is a PhD student at Michigan State University who holds an MA in History from Loyola University Chicago and a BA in History and English from Albion College. Albani’s studies primarily focus on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century United States with a geographic emphasis on the Great Lakes region. He is particularly interested in interactions between Euro-Americans and Native Americans on the Great Lakes borderlands. As part of his pre-dissertation research, he is currently investigating Elizabeth Mitchell (née Bertrand) and Sally Ainse (alias Montour). These two women of aboriginal ancestry were prominent transnational fur traders, and Albani hopes to determine how factors such as kinship influenced their success and on what sides of the border they ultimately settled.
Before pursuing a PhD, Albani coordinated the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, a digital humanities project dedicated to uncovering more about the intellectual history of Jesuits in the American Midwest after the Society of Jesus was restored in 1814. He also worked on the interpretive staff of Colonial Michilimackinac, an open-air living history museum in Northern Michigan. He is a member of the American Historical Association, American Catholic Historical Association, American Society for Ethnohistory, Midwestern History Association, and Historical Society of Michigan.