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Three Historians Awarded WIU Summer Stipends for 2010

Oct 21, 2009

Three of the ten WIU faculty members receiving Summer Stipends from the WIU Foundation for Summer 2010 are members of the History Faculty. Dr. Peter Cole, Dr. Greg Hall, and Dr. Febe Pamonag will each receive a Summer Stipend in support of their research in 2010, Brad Bainter, Executive Officer of the WIU Foundation, and Beth Seaton,
Director of Sponsored Projects, announced.

Dr. Peter Cole, Associate Professor of History, will use his Summer Stipend to return to South Africa to continue his research comparing the history of dock workers in Durban, South Africa and Oakland, California. Both cities have large ports with a large marine transport workforce; many of these dockers are workers of color. Dr. Cole is especially interested in examining how working-class people and unions organize to promote their economic interests as well as to participate in social and political movements. In Durban, dock workers have been among the most well-organized and militant workers, fighting to get out of poverty but also fighting against apartheid. In the early 1970s, strikes in Durban helped re-ignite the nation's anti-apartheid movement. In July-August 2010, Dr. Cole will interview current and former dock workers, organizers, and activists in Durban. He will also spend time in Johannesburg and Pretoria, where important archival collections are housed. In the future, he will conduct research in the San Francisco Bay area to investigate the role that dock workers played in that region's labor and civil rights movements in the decades following World War II.

Dr. Greg Hall, Associate Professor of History, will use his Summer Stipend funding to research coal land reclamation efforts in Fulton County, Illinois. Dr. Hall will seek to place Fulton County's bituminous coal industry, the workforce, and the environmental fallout within the historical context of coal mining in Illinois. His work seeks to explain the nature of the coal resources in the county and how they were developed over time into an industry and to analyze the workforce and the communities involved in coal production in terms of their relationships with the natural environment. In his research, he will examine the process by which workers attempted to "heal" the land through their labor as reclamation projects took hold in the county towards the end of the twentieth century. Finally, his project will assess the changed relationship workers and their communities had with the land over time as the coal industry rose and fell and the land was reclaimed. This project is part of Dr. Hall's interest in further developing his expertise in the new field of environmental labor history.

Dr. Febe Pamonag, Assistant Professor of History, will use her Summer Stipend to conduct research on interactions between an interdenominational group of American women in Philadelphia who funded the American Scholarship for Japanese Women and the Japanese women who were the recipients of the american Scholarship during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The American Scholarship sent select women from Japan to study in colleges in the United States, including Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Funding from the WIU Foundation will enable Dr. Pamonag to conduct archival research in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, and data gathered from this funded research will serve as the basis for an article that she will submit to a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

In addition to the three Summer Stipends awarded in this Fall's competition to members of the History faculty, Dr. Roberto Mazza, Assistant Professor of History, was awarded a University Research Council (URC) Grant in this Fall's URC competition (see blue box to upper right).

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