OAH and JAH Welcome 2023-24 Graduate Student Cohort

August 9, 2023

In July and August, the Organization of American Historians and the Journal of American History welcomed seven new and returning graduates students who will work with the OAH and the JAH through the 2023-24 academic year. Six students—Kasha Appleton, Elijah Beaton, Jessie Day-Lucore, Johnny Fulfer, Zoe Lawson, and Marina Mecham—will work as editorial assistants at the JAH. Macailin Rodriguez, OAH Diversity Fellow, will work in a variety of capacities with department directors at the OAH national office.

(Biographical statements courtesy of the IU History Department)

Kasha Appleton received her B.A in History and Classics from Monmouth College. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Indiana University in American History with a minor in Law. Before attending IU, she conducted research at the University of Nebraska Lincoln under Professor Katrina Jagodinsky where she transcribed and encoded 19th-century habeas corpus petitions and presented on childhood and habeas corpus. Her current research focuses on Black women in nineteenth century and the various methods they used to petition for custody of their children from abusive spouses and employers.  She positions her research at the intersections of race, gender, and class through the lens of legal history. The women that she researches sit at various levels of oppression and privilege yet each one found themselves at the mercy of the American court system. She is interested in uncovering the various experiences that women had while they navigated the court systems to negotiate the rights of themselves and their children.

Elijah Beaton is a PhD Student in American History specializing in the built environment, economics, and technology in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Their research examines the relationship between capital investment, art, architecture, and ideology that underlies the production of capitalist aesthetics. Their previous research during their MA in History and Material Culture at Mississippi State University explored the racial dynamics of erasure and consumption in the Beale Street redevelopment project in Memphis during the 1980s. Elijah became fascinated with architecture, art, and cultural history during their undergraduate degree at Colorado State University, where they majored in History and Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. They are originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, and they enjoy making small websites and fretting over their plants.

Jessie Day-Lucore studies modern U.S. foreign policy, with a particular interest in the foreign relations between Latin America and the United States in the 20th century. She is interested in history that examines U.S. foreign policy through an inter-American lens, centering both U.S. and Latin American actors, and approaching foreign relations as fundamentally omnidirectional and transnational. She believes that working for a more nuanced understanding of U.S.-Latin American relations can facilitate broader questions about how U.S. power has functioned in the world at large, while offering the necessary context to understand contemporary realities and inequalities in both Latin America and the United States. Jessie holds a B.A. from Whitman College, where she wrote a thesis about Ronald Reagan’s policy toward apartheid South Africa, and an M.A. from the University of Chicago, where she wrote a thesis about Mexico, Cuba, and the United States after the Cuban Revolution.

Johnny Fulfer is a Ph.D. student studying the history of economic ideas, political economy, money, and U.S. foreign relations during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Originally from La Grande, Oregon, Johnny earned dual bachelor’s degrees in History and Economics from Eastern Oregon University and an MA in History from the University of South Florida. His most recent work examines how American monetary experts connected language of economic ‘science’ with an internationally informed discourse of civilization in the first years of the twentieth century. In doing so, they helped establish the gold-exchange standard as a marker of civilization, which not only expanded the scope of the American civilizing mission, but also the range of imperial power. He is also interested in exploring how the elimination of a diverse range of global currencies to establish “civilized” monetary systems, rendered perceived ‘backward’ nations more transparent to US investors. Johnny is also the Editor of The Economic Historian, a blog he started in 2018, and the Assistant Editor of the Indiana Magazine of History.”

Zoe Lawson is a master’s student in United States history. Originally from St. Charles, MO, she completed her B.A. at Ball State University in philosophy, political science, and Spanish literature and culture. There, she completed a thesis studying the pre-cursors to fascist philosophies in Civil War-era Spain, especially as they relate to violence and cultural rebirth. She now focuses on the study of radical movements in the Gilded Age U.S. Her broader research interests focus on the intellectual histories of radical groups, especially labor movements and those on the radical right, through the lens of political theory.

Marina Mecham is a doctoral student in African history minoring in gender studies. She grew up in the mountains of the far north-west corner of Colorado. In 2016, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Colorado where her undergraduate honors thesis, “Murder on the Picket Line: Operation Rescue and the Legal Battle Against Abortion in the Denver-Metropolitan Area, 1989-1993,” won the Myra Rich Prize for Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis. Her graduate research focuses on reproductive rights in South Africa. Currently, her research questions center on the affective responses from differing race, class, and religious groups to the creation of abortion laws in South Africa from 1975 to 1996. She plans to further develop this work through oral histories in her dissertation. More broadly, Marina is interested in historical questions surrounding reproductive rights and health, gender, race, sexuality, emotion, medicine, and law.

Macailin Rodriguez graduated from Maryville University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a double minor in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a first-year Ph.D. student studying American history at Indiana University. Her research interests include studying the history of twentieth-century U.S. social movements concentrating on race, gender, and class. During Macailin’s undergraduate studies she created the History and Law Club at Maryville University and interned at the Missouri History Museum. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan.