For 2016-2017, three MSU History graduate students will be awarded Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) awards. These prestigious fellowships provide opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States. The awards are highly competitive; DDRA funds about 10% of the proposals it receives.
History’s DDRA winners were David Glovsky, Joseph Bradshaw and Sean McDaniel. They are joined by a fourth MSU graduate student awardee, Jessica Ott, who is an Africanist in Anthropology.
Glovsky’s research will take him to West Africa, where he was a Peace Corps Volunteer before enrolling in History’s graduate program. Glovsky has language proficiency in Fulbe, French and Portuguese. He is interested in how Africans exploited borders, which were created by European powers in Africa in the late nineteenth century, to create dynamic spaces of religious, social, and economic mobility and innovation. His focus is on how Fulbe of Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, used their location to create new Islamic communities, to avoid taxation, military conscription, and forced labor, and to smuggle produce, livestock, and guns across borders.
Bradshaw’s Fulbright is also for research in West Africa. Proficient in French and Arabic from his time in the US military during the first Gulf War and from his studies at Michigan State University, Bradshaw will examine the social and political history of Bandiagara, a state in present-day Mali, from about 1860-1940. He is particularly interested in the Futanke, who established a Muslim state and set themselves apart from local inhabitants by emphasizing religious and ethnic differences. After the French arrived, Futanke became “sub-colonials” or the group through whom the French ruled Bandiagara indirectly.
McDaniel conducts research in Russia and is fluent in the Russian language. His dissertation examines the history horses for Kazkhs. In the sixteenth century Kazakh leader Kasym Khan proclaimed, “We are residents of the steppe; our possessions and goods are not rare and they are not valuable. But our greatest riches are our horses.” Likewise, the horse holds a significant place in the history of the Russian people and by the early twentieth century, the Russian empire contained the highest number of horses in the world. It is within this sphere of political, social, and cultural contestation, McDaniel emphasizes, that the horse served as a central marker of power and identity.
Congratulations, Dave, Joey and Sean!