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Antwain Hunter

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Antwain Hunter

I was incredibly fortunate to do my graduate study in the Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State.  The Center has great financial support from people like Steven and Janice Brose, who were very supportive and interested in my work.  I also had a great deal of support from the Richards Center’s affiliated faculty, both in coursework and on my dissertation project— Tony Kaye, Bill Blair, Lori Ginzberg, Amy Greenberg, and Nan Woodruff were all incredibly helpful for me personally.  The Richards Civil War Era Center is also home to a great group of graduate students who I was privileged to work alongside.  These intelligent and motivated scholars, both grad students and faculty, created a solid community that sustained me through the challenges of graduate school and helped to shape me into the historian that I am today.  This community continues to sustain me— I keep regular contact with some of my former colleagues and always look forward to meeting up with folks at conferences. 

Beyond fostering a solid intellectual environment Bill Blair ensured that the Richards Center students are prepared for life beyond graduate school.  The Center brought top-notch scholars to augment our community via the Brose Distinguished Lecture Series, the Emerging Scholars Workshop, and the Richards Civil War Era Center Postdoctoral Fellowship.  In addition to this valuable networking Bill ensured that Center’s graduate students could get some funding for summer research, assistantships, conference travel, etc.  I also had the opportunity to work for Matt Isham on the People’s Contest digital archive project, which gave me some exposure to digital humanities projects.

I am currently in my third year of a tenure track job in Butler University’s Department of History and Anthropology and working hard on my book manuscript.  My project, which is based off of my dissertation, examines free and enslaved black North Carolinians firearm use, and what that gun use meant within the context of a slave society.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in pursing graduate study in the long Civil War Era to consider the Richards Center at Penn State.  The Center provides competitive financial support for its students but of equal importance the Center offers a community of motivated, supportive, and really sharp scholars.

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