Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Anthony Chen - Sociology, University of California - Berkeley

Project: From Fair Employment to Equal Opportunity and Beyond: Race, Liberalism, and the Politics of the New Deal Order, 1941–1971

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Anthony S. Chen is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Northwestern University.

Previously, Chen was Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In addition to holding appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, he was also a Faculty Associate in the Program in American Cultures. From 2005 to 2007, he held the position of Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. Chen's book, The Fifth Freedom (Princeton, 2009), won the President's Book Award from the Social Science History Association. Chen received his B.A. from Rice University 1994 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002.

Selected Recent Publications

The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941-1972. (Princeton University Press, 2009)

Political Parties and the Sociological Imagination: Past, Present, and Future Directions.” with Stephanie L. Mudge. Annual Review of Sociology 40 (2014): 305-330.


Christopher Cimaglio - Communications, University of Pennsylvania

Project: "Contested Majority: The Representation of the White Working Class in US Politics from the 1930s to the 1990s"

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“Contested Majority” examines how American politicians, journalists, pollsters, academics, social movement groups, and others have studied, written about, and claimed to speak for white working class people and how this work has shaped American politics. While popular and scholarly accounts of the rise and decline of liberalism and the rise of conservatism in the twentieth century US have often given the white working class a very prominent role (for instance, as the New Deal’s popular base and the forefront of the white reaction that provided an electoral majority for conservatives), this work sometimes frames the white working class as a homogenous group with uniform political views—centered, since the late 1960s, on cultural and racial conservatism.  Placing primary emphasis on how white workers have been represented in national politics and media and those who have represented them, “Contested Majority” offers a different angle on a familiar story.  It traces how prominent understandings of white working class politics, identity, and culture—from a militant, progressive working class combating economic royalists to culturally conservative and racially anxious “Middle Americans” and “Reagan Democrats” opposed to liberal elites—emerged, circulated, impacted political contestation, and shaped elite decision-making.  In doing so, “Contested Majority” points to the power of the white working class majority as a political symbol, one that has consistently featured in debate around fundamental issues in American politics, including the legitimacy of capitalism, unions, challenges to prevailing understandings of race, gender, and class, and an activist state combating inequality.


Joseph Crespino - History, Stanford University

Project: Strategic Accommodation: Civil Rights Opponents in Mississippi and their Impact on American Racial Politics, 1953–1972

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Joseph Crespino is Professor of History at Emory University.

Crespino's Research considers white Southerners more directly in the context of the emerging conservative politics of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to reflect the complicated role that race has played in the emergence of modern conservatism.

Crespino's dissertation, "Strategic Accommodation: Civil Rights Opponents in Mississippi and their Impact on American Racial Politics, 1953–1972," won the 2003 Dissertation Award from the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond. It examined the impact of racial desegregation on political culture in the American South by providing a case study of resistance and accommodation to civil rights reform in Mississippi's white community. His project revealed how key policy makers along with local economic elites led an accommodation to racial change that accepted token forms of desegregation in ways that preserved racial and economic privilege and forestalled further civil rights reform.

Selected Recent Publications

Strom Thurmond's America (Hill and Wang, 2012)


Andrew Morris - History, University of Virginia

Project: Charity, Therapy, and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Era of Public Welfare

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Andrew Morris is Associate Professor of History at Union College.

Morris teaches 20th century American political history. 

Morris's dissertation examined how voluntary social welfare agencies came to terms with the expansion of the public welfare state from the 1930s through the 1960s. By examining a group of private family welfare agencies, Morris traced how these charities reinvented themselves from dispensers of material aid in the 1910s and 1920s to providers of therapeutic counseling services in the 1940s and 1950s. The Depression and World War II proved key turning points, demonstrating to private agencies the need for a relatively strong public welfare state to meet the basic needs of the poor, as well as the need for such agencies to clearly distinguish themselves both from their charitable past and from public welfare entities. By embracing a variety of counseling techniques rooted in the psychological training of their professional social workers, private family agencies helped build a therapeutic culture in the postwar United States, and decisively influenced the adoption of rehabilitative social work as an element of welfare reform in the early 1960s.


Stephanie Muravchik - History, University of Virginia

Project: New Creatures in Christ: American Faith in an Age of Psychology

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Fellowship year: 2006

Mentor: Gary Laderman, Emory University

Stephanie Muravchik is Associate Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Muravchik’s research has focused on twentieth-century American religion and the way self and community have been historically constituted in the United States. 
Her first book, American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology challenges the claim that psychology has been used to weaken American religion, virtue and community. It shows how major psychospiritual movements since World War II, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and The Salvation Army, innovated a practical religious psychology that nurtured participants’ faith, fellowship, and responsibility. And by fostering community and responsibility among some of America’s most disaffected citizens, psychospiritual movements helped cultivate the kind of society that bolsters our liberal democracy.

In her dissertation, Muravchik explores how after World War II, though they did not realize it, Christians began a successful project of redeeming millions of alienated Americans by fortifying pastoral care, fellowships, and evangelism with secular ideas and techniques adapted from psychology. They thereby shepherded millions of the nation's most disaffected citizens – especially the homeless, addicts, the sick, and the dying – into faith's fold. Muravchik traced their efforts and its effects in three contexts: the psychiatric training of ministers, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and The Salvation Army rehabilitation centers. She ultimately argued that the model of selfhood developed in these settings, by merging individual happiness and self-determination with transcendent and communal relationships, could support an American democratic culture in the latter half of the 20th century.

Selected Recent Publications

American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

The Cultural Contours of Parenthood: A Bibliographic Review.Hedgehog Review 15(3) 2013: 54-61.

“‘Be the Love of God Rather than Talk About It’: Pastors Study Psychology.History of Psychology 15(2) 2012: 145-160. 


Katie Otis - History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Project: Everything Old is New Again: What Policymakers and Baby Boomers Can Learn from the History of Aging and Retirement

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Katie Otis is a visiting Lecturer in the History Department at the University of North Carolina.

Otis's dissertation explored the history of aging in mid-to-late 20th-century America through the lens of retirement life in Florida, a state long synonymous with shuffleboard and park benches. She explained that Social security and private pensions sparked the growth of mass retirement among the working and middle classes. On the whole, seniors are healthier and wealthier than ever before. Their growing numbers, moreover, captured the attention of politicians, policymakers, and advocacy groups who worked to improve the quality of later life. The need for dignified, cost-effective elder care remained woefully unfulfilled. Drawing on government documents, gerontological studies, popular retirement literature, and oral histories, Otis's work melded institutional and political history with the cultural and social experiences of aging in the postwar world to give voice to older Americans as they negotiated the promises and pitfalls of old age and retirement.


Stephen Porter - History, University of Chicago

Project: Defining Public Responsibility in a Global Age: Refugee Resettlement in the U.S., 1933 to 1980

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Stephen Porter is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati.

Steve Porter explores the intersection of humanitarianism and extensions of U.S. power over the long twentieth century. He has considered these issues in his book, Benevolent Empire? U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World’s Dispossessed(University of Pennsylvania Press, Oct. 2016), as well as through shorter publications and professional presentations. Central to his research interests are changing conceptions of ethical responsibilities and rights as well as the ways in which a panoply of state and non-state actors have collaborated – productively and otherwise – in innovative strategies to managing refugee crises and other humanitarian dilemmas wrought by war, persecution, upheaval, and other disruptive phenomena so emblematic of the modern world order. These efforts include both international aid initiatives on behalf of vulnerable populations abroad and domestic programs to systematically resettle select groups of political refugees admitted to the U.S.
 
His current research agenda includes pursuing these themes through the past several decades. He is additionally examining how Cold-War era U.S.-Americans, operating outside of government, engaged with counterparts in communist countries in efforts at nongovernmental diplomacy when their respective states largely maintained adversarial postures toward one another.
 
At the University of Cincinnati, he has served as director of the International Human Rights Certificate, chair of the Tolley Scholarship in International Human Rights, and chair of the Taft Center’s Human Rights Research Group. He is a former fellow of the Institute for Historical Studies. He has a PhD in History from the University of Chicago.

Selected Recent Publications

Benevolent Empire: U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World's Dispossessed. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

Humanitarian Diplomacy after World War II: The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.” in Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy. (Oxford University Press, 2015).


Damion Thomas - History, University of California, Los Angeles

Project: "The Good Negroes": African-American Athletes and the Cultural Cold War, 1945–68

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Jeffrey Sammons, University of North Carolina

Damion Thomas is Assistant Professor of Physical Cultural Studies and affiliate faculty in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland.

Thomas's research interests include:  Sport and United States race relations, Black internationalism, African American popular culture, U.S. foreign relations, and Black masculinity. His book, Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics, provides a transnational perspective to the study of domestic American racial affairs by examining U.S. government attempts to manipulate international perceptions of U.S. race relations during the early days of the Cold War.  As nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin American gained their independence, the State Department began to send prosperous African Americans overseas to showcase African Americans as the preeminent citizens of the African Diaspora, rather than as victims of racial oppression. Athletes were prominently featured in the State Department goodwill tours, designed to undermine anti-Americanism. However, as African-American athletes began to provide counter narratives to State Department claims about American exceptionalism—most notably during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic protest—the transatlantic relationships these tours fostered were co-opted as a means to foster African Diasporic cultural and political agendas.

Thomas's dissertation, "'The Good Negroes': African-American Athletes and the Cultural Cold War, 1945–1968," examined State Department attempts to manipulate international perceptions of United States race relations by sending African-American athletes abroad as cultural ambassadors. This project argued that the politics of symbolism associated with the African-American athletes and integrated teams were designed to give legitimacy to existing racial inequalities in American society during the Cold War/Civil Rights Era. The symbol of the integrated athlete allowed the government to argue that the racial order was not an impediment to the advancement of individual African Americans.

Selected Recent Publications

Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2012).


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