Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Predoctoral Fellowship Program

Predoctoral Fellowship Program

Predoctoral Fellows, History of the Civil War Era

To apply, click here

In acknowledgement of the unprecedented challenges experienced by graduate students as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Richards Civil War Era Center invites applications for two predoctoral dissertation fellowships in the history of the Civil War Era, beginning July 1, 2023.

The Richards Center conceives of the Civil War Era broadly. We especially welcome projects related to the history of slavery, emancipation, and their legacies and the history of struggles for freedom and democracy in the United States. This is a one-year fellowship for advanced graduate students who are in the writing stage of their dissertation. During their residency, the fellows will have no teaching or administrative responsibilities. The fellows will be expected to make progress on their dissertation and to take an active part in the Richards Center and Penn State’s community of researchers.

Application Process and Submission Process

To be considered for this position, submit a complete application packet including a cover letter describing your dissertation project and goals for the year, a curriculum vita, and a list of three references. In the cover letter, applicants may discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their dissertation progress. Successful candidates must either have demonstrated a commitment to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community, or describe one or more ways they would envision doing so, given the opportunity.

We will request additional materials and letters of recommendation from candidates who advance in the search process. Review of materials will begin February 15, 2023 and continue until the position has been filled. Please direct questions about the process via e-mail to

2022-2023 Pre-Doctoral Fellows

Michael Haggerty is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Davis. His scholarship has been supported by fellowships from the Bilinksi Educational Foundation, the New York Historical Society, and the New York Public Library. His current dissertation project is entitled “Bars to Freedom: Emancipation, Incarceration, and Slavery in Nineteenth-Century America.” His work centers the experiences of incarcerated peoples within the political debates that surrounded slavery and gradual emancipation in New York City during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Lauren Feldman is a Ph.D. student in History at Johns Hopkins University. Her work centers on intersectional histories of intimacy and investigating the broad intellectual question about how norms surrounding relationships in the U.S. have been created and reproduced over time. She is particularly committed to demonstrating how matters surrounding intimacy shed new light on conventional “big-picture” questions of U.S. history and historiography. In this vein, Lauren’s dissertation focuses on the contingent process by which marriage and state became intertwined in the U.S., from the period of the American Revolution to the Civil War. Through an examination of debates over early American marriage laws, she historicizes marriage’s centrality to the formation of United States governance, as well as the implications thereof surrounding the creation and maintenance of a U.S. privatized social structure. As part of this project, she also works on the history of slave marriage in the United States. Lauren’s work has been supported by multiple institutions, including the American Historical Association, the New York Historical Society, and New York State Archives. At Johns Hopkins, she serves as the Project Coordinator for Hard Histories, a public history initiative that examines the histories of racism and discrimination at the university.