Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities

Hall Center’s 2013-2014 Sias Graduate Fellows announced

Wed, 04/10/2013

LAWRENCE — Josh Nygren, a doctoral candidate in history from Marinette, Wis., and Stephanie Krehbiel, a doctoral candidate in American studies from Lawrence, have been selected as the recipients of the Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities for 2013-14. The two winners will each spend a semester in residence at the Hall Center.

The goal of the Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship is to provide the recipients with one intensive semester to make significant progress on the dissertation. The fellowship also seeks to expand the Fellows’ experience beyond a single disciplinary focus by providing the opportunity for interaction with the Hall Center’s interdisciplinary cohort of faculty and public fellows. The Fellowship is made possible through the gift of Richard and Jeannette Sias of Oklahoma City, for whom the award is named.

Nygren’s dissertation project, titled “Engineering Conservation: Soil, Water and Science in American Agriculture, 1930-2010,” will argue that industrialized agriculture and soil and water conservation co-evolved during the 20th century and neither can be understood independently. Historians place the beginning of conversation around the beginning of the Progressive Era, but Nygren believes that conservationists, politicians, agribusiness representatives and advertisers also engineered a form of utilitarian conservation in the 1930s.

Nygren received a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from the University of Wisconsin in 2006 and began his doctoral program at KU the same year. He has a strong track record of academic success and leadership, presenting numerous papers about agriculture, soil conservation and other aspects of environmental history. Nygren recently organized the panel “The Land Ethic: The Evolution and Application of Leopold’s Ideal” at the American Society for American History conference, and he has won several awards recognizing his scholarship and service. Most recently, Nygren received the Hall Center Jim Martin Travel Award in the Humanities to conduct dissertation research across the American South.

Krehbiel’s dissertation project, “Let Us Be Broken Together: Discourses of Community and LGBTQ Mennonites” focuses on the language that Mennonites in the United State used to talk about community, and how this talk of community plays out in their denominational conflicts about the acceptance or rejection of LGBTQ people. Mennonites, Krehbiel argues, are attempting to organize themselves bureaucratically while holding a wide range of views about sexuality and the centrality of the heterosexual family unit to Christian life.

Krehbiel received her Bachelor of Arts in music performance from Bethel College in 1998, an Master of Music in flute performance from Michigan State University in 2000 and a Master of Arts in musicology from Michigan State University in 2003. She has served as co-chair of the KU American Studies Association of Graduate Students for two years and has published and presented extensively on Mennonite music and LGBTQ issues in the Mennonite church. Krehbiel participated in a Hall Center Weekend Workshop on Oral History in 2010.

Nygren and Krehbiel will be the eighth and ninth recipients of the Sias Fellowship. Damon Talbott, a doctoral candidate in the American Studies department, is the current Sias Fellow.

Nygren, whose residence is in the fall, and Krehbiel, whose residence is in the spring, will be joining faculty resident fellows at the Hall Center during the 2013-2014 academic year.These faculty fellows are Bruce Hayes, French & Italian; Kij Johnson, English; Ani Kokobobo, Slavic languages and literatures; Laura Mielke, English; and Jorge Pérez, Spanish & Portuguese.

Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Best thing about Kansas? The sunsets. Always. #exploreKU shot by umbrellaphoto on insta.
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (, will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”

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