Graduate Research Highlights

Below are just a few examples of the breadth of research conducted by History graduate students. Consider making a donation to the Annual History Fund to support future summer research grants for our graduate students today. Click here to read undergraduate student research reflections. 

Photo of three smiling people, two of whom are in firefighting uniforms.

Jameson Karns 

"Referred to as the “time immemorial institution,” my research delves into one of our greatest environmental phenomena – wildfires. A natural ecological process, communities around the world have developed rich and diverse methodologies of fire management based upon traditional bodies of knowledge. As such, I employ sources that are omitted from the purview of archives. Land custodial agencies, tribal communities, as well as land managers inform my work which has taken place across the United States, Europe, as well as South and Southeast Asia. As a former firefighter, I often connect with such groups through shared understandings and mutual cogent experiences. My work would not have been possible without the continual and unwavering support of the support of the History Department."

Image of a person smiling in the forefront, standing before a sunny, landscape in the background.

Christin Zurbach

Thessaloniki, Greece and Instanbul, Turkey

"Since September I have been doing research for my dissertation tentatively titled "Doctoring Society: The Socio-Political History of the Late Ottoman Medical Profession," where I am exploring how transformations in medical education and practice in the nineteenth century elevated the status of doctors who then participated in society and politics in different ways than before. I am currently on a Joint Greece-Turkey Fulbright grant, so I was based in Thessaloniki from September to January, where I consulted many types of archives and sources, including Ottoman administrative records, literary archives holding physicians’ private papers, and journals and statistical reports held at university and city archives."

Image of a person sitting and smiling in a multicolored structure.

Sean Cronan

East Asian Library|UC Berkeley

"I am currently a first year PhD student in the History Department. My work focuses primarily on Sino–Southeast Asian trade, diplomacy, and cultural interactions in the second millennium. This academic year I have been working on a project that traces the shift in customs policy in coastal South China in the 17th and 18th centuries — my core question is how the Qing (1644–1912) court instituted a customs bureaucracy that could manage the influx of foreign silver, as well as how this bureaucratic regimen led to new challenges and opportunities for merchants from Southeast Asia. In addition to Berkeley's East Asia collections that I have been using this year, I hope in the near future to visit Taiwan's National Palace Museum in order to access secret communications between customs administrators and Qing Emperors."