John Higham Research Fellowship

Supporting graduate students writing doctoral dissertations for a PhD in American history.



The Higham Fellowship offers two annual awards ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 each to successful applicants, the amounts to be determined by the John Higham Research Fellowship Committee. The fellowships are given in memory of John Higham (1920-2003), past president of the OAH and an important figure in immigration, ethnic, and intellectual history.

The OAH is able to offer this fellowship thanks to the generosity of William L. and Carol B. Joyce in providing a leadership gift to initiate the award.


This fellowship is open to all graduate students writing doctoral dissertations for a PhD in American history. Applicants pursuing research in those fields most congenial to the research and writing interests of John Higham will receive special consideration. These topics include U.S. social and intellectual history broadly considered, with preference given to research projects on American immigration and ethnic history as well as American historiography and the cultural history of the 19th century United States.

Submission Process

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (PST) on November 1, 2024. Applications should include the following components:

1. Project proposal of no more than 1,000 words describing the applicant’s research project and detailing how the funds will be used.

2. An updated curriculum vitae with a list of the names and addresses of references.

3. Two signed letters of recommendation on official letterhead submitted independently by referees. Letters in the form of a signed PDF should be emailed to the chair of the John Higham Research Fellowship Committee at the address listed below. We ask that recommenders use the subject line “Recommendation for [APPLICANT’S NAME].”

Complete all application components (including project proposal, names and addresses of recommenders, and curriculum vitae), in a recent version of Microsoft Word or PDF (preferable), and email the entire electronic file to the committee chair at the address listed below. This application package and two supporting letters of recommendation must be received by 11:59 p.m. (PST) on November 1, 2024. Late or incomplete applications (including letters of reference) will not be considered.

Fellowship recipients are expected to submit a project report to the OAH office within one year of receiving the fellowship.

Submit applications to:
Joel Zapata, Chair
contact information to come

Past Winners


Kimberly Phuong Beaudreau, University of Illinois Chicago. “Economic Migrant or Refugee? Externalizing American Refugee and Asylum Policy, 1975–2000” 

Andrew Klein, University of California, Los Angeles. “Militant Capital: Race, Empire, and the Global History of Oakland, California, 1848–1980”


Willie J. Mack Jr., Stony Brook University, SUNY, “‘Triple Minority’: Haitian ‘Boat People,’ Policing, and Mass Incarceration in New York City and Miami”

Terrell James Orr, University of Georgia, “The Roots of Global Citrus in ‘Nuevo South’ Florida and Rural São Paulo”


Bobby Cervantes, University of Kansas, “Las Colonias: The Housing of Poverty in Modern Americas”

David Helps, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Securing the World City: Policing, Migration, and the Struggle for Global Los Angeles, 1973–94”


Mark Boxell, University of Oklahoma, “Red Soil, White Oil: Race, Environment, and the Birth of Petroleum Dependency, 1890–1940”

Mia Alexandra Michael, Boston College, “Caring for the Commonwealth: Domestic Work and Workers’ Organizing in Boston, Massachusetts, 1960–2015”


Alastair Su, Stanford University, “The Voyages of the Sea Witch: Opium and Coolies in the Age of Emancipation”


Katherine Carper, Boston College, “The Business of Migration, 1830–1880”


Eladio B. Bobadilla, Duke University, “‘One People without Borders’: The Lost Roots of the Immigrants’ Rights Movement, 1954–1994”

Jonathan Lande, Brown University, “Disciplining Freedom: Union Army Slave Rebels and Emancipation in the Civil War Courts-Martial”


Evan Taparata, University of Minnesota, “No Asylum for Mankind: The Creation of Refugee Law and Policy in the United States, 1787–1924”

OAH/IEHS John Higham Travel Grants


Preston S. McBride, University of California, Los Angeles, “‘We Were Always Sick’: Indian Health at Sherman Institute and Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1929”

Daniel Morales, Columbia University, “The Making of Mexican America: Industrialization, Revolution, and the Rise of Mass Migration 1900–1940”

Adrienne A. Winans, Ohio State University, “Chinese Students in the Midwest: Women and Transnational Mobility, 1916–1931”


Brandon Kyle Gauthier, Fordham University, “‘Bring All the Troops Home Now!’: The American-Korean Friendship and Information Center and North Korean Public Diplomacy, 1971–1976”

Israel Pastrana, University of California, San Diego, “The Ninth Proviso and the Origins of Bracerismo”

Kristina K. Shull, University of California, Irvine, “‘The Emergency Nature of the Problem’: Ronald Reagan’s Latin American Immigration Crisis and the Birth of America’s Private Prison Industry”


Kritika Agarwal, University at Buffalo (SUNY), “Uncertain Citizenship: Denaturalization and Expatriation in Twentieth-Century America, 1906–1967”

Adam Goodman, University of Pennsylvania, “What Kind of Nation?: The Deportation of Mexican Migrants since 1942”

Gráinne McEvoy, Boston College, “American Catholic Social Thought and the Immigration Question in the Restriction Era, 1917–1965”


Aaron Bryant, University of Maryland, College Park, “A Different Lens: Alternative Views of the Civil Rights Movement and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign”

Cynthia Greenlee–Donnell, Duke University, “Daughters of the Nadir: Black Girls and Childhood on Trial in Jim Crow South Carolina”


Mimi Cowan, Boston College, “Immigrants, Nativists, and the Making of Nineteenth Century Chicago”

Joseph S. Moore, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, “Irish Radicals, Southern Conservatives: Slavery, Religious Liberty and the Presbyterian Fringe in the Atlantic World, 1637–1877”

William Sturkey, Ohio State University, “Freedom’s Journals: Freedom School Student Activism and Leadership through Newspaper Production”


Aaron Cavin, University of Michigan, “Challenging the Second Barrio: Federal Housing Policy, Racial Formation, and Mexican American Activisim”

Shira Miriam Kohn, New York University, “‘We Should Take a Stand:’ Jewish Sororities and the Campaign against California Bill #758”

Julian Lim, Cornell University, “‘The ‘Future Immense’: Multiracial Intersections in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”


Hidetaka Hirota, Boston College, “Countering Nativism: Irish Immigrants’ Fight with the Threat of Deportation in Massachusetts, 1840–1860”

Donald W. Maxwell, Indiana University, Bloomington, “‘These are the things you gain if you make our country your country’: American Military Deserters and the Meaning of Citizenship in 1970s North America”

Elaine M. Nelson, University of New Mexico, “Posing for Profits: Tourism and Indigenous Communities in the Twentieth–Century Black Hills”


Stacy Lowe Bondurant, The George Washington University (paper not presented at 2008 meeting)

Mayumi Hoshino, Indiana University Bloomington (paper not presented at 2008 meeting)

Gustavo Licón, University of Southern California, “Immigration, Conservative Backlash, and Chicano Student Response: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán, 1970–2000”


Stephen Seng–hua Mak, Northwestern University, “The Other Internment: The United States, Latin America and ‘Enemy Aliens’ During the Second World War”

Maddalena Marinari, University of Kansas, “Toward a New Era: World War II and the Fight Against Immigration Restriction”

Eric R. Schlereth, Brandeis University, “Creating a Disenchanted Republic: American Political Independence and the Problem of Religion”


Brian D. Behnken, University of California, Davis, “The Triracial Struggle for Civil Rights in Texas: Blacks, Mexican Americans, and the Limits of Interethnic Unity”

Evan Matthew Daniel, New School for Social Research, “Rolling for the Revolution: A Transnational History of Cuban Cigar Markers in Havana, South Florida, and New York City, 1850s–1890s”

Robert McGreevey, Brandeis University, “Organizing the Atlantic: New York, San Juan and the Making of a Global Economy, 1898–1920”


Victoria Cain, Columbia University, “Nationalizing Nature in American Natural History Museums, 1880–1930”

Christopher McKnight Nichols, University of Virginia, “Towards a ‘Trans–National America’: Randolph Bourne on Internationalism, Isolation, War, and the Risks of Integrating Intellectuals into the State, 1914–1918”

Nicolas G. Rosenthal, University of California, Los Angeles, “Taking it to the Streets: The Practices of History with Urban American Indian Communities”