ISU Historians on the Go: June Edition

This month we catch up with three Iowa State historians and learn something about what they have been doing since classes ended.

Doctoral candidate Jack Seitz is in Kazakhstan, where he presented his research to the history department at his host institution, Al Farabi Kazakh National University. The presentation was called "Сельскохозяйственная наука, агрономия, и возникаюшии техно-государство в Казакской степи, 1881-1917," which Jack assures us translates into English as "Agricultural Science, Agronomy, and the Nascent Technostate on the Kazakh Steppe, 1881-1917". He tells us the presentation was very well received, and he got lots of useful feedback from the members of the History Department who attended. Jack continues to work on his doctoral dissertation on the development of the agricultural sector on the Kazakh Steppe.

Next up, Jack’s advisor, Dr. James T. Andrews, has been busy comparing now with then. The “now” is how science is being positioned in the current administration and the “then” is the ways in which totalitarian regimes and liberal governments in times of crisis have tried to exert state control over scientists. Called “Warning Signs,” the essay is published by the Social Science Research Council in its “Items” series. Serving as a window on present tensions, it can be found here: Warning Signs: Authoritarian Constraints on Scientific Inquiry in the Recent Past

Finally, our colleague Kathleen Hilliard is in Boston, at the Massachusetts Historical Society conducting research for her next book, Bonds Burst Asunder: The Revolutionary Politics of “Getting By” in Civil War and Emancipation. She tells us that Boston is chaotic but the food is good and, more importantly, the research is proceeding well. For a taste of her research, see her article “Slave Consumption in the Old South: A Double-Edged Sword,” published in the May edition of The American Historian, published by the Organization of American Historians. It explains how slaves used their limited consumer power to alleviate hardship but also shows that masters exerted control by manipulating slave consumption. You can find it here: The American Historian