I am a graduate student in history at the University of Iowa. My research and teaching areas include modern Europe and Latin America. I am particularly interested in diasporas, migration, nationalism, and religion.
My dissertation, Now too much for us: Mennonite migrations between the World Wars, examines the fluidity of national and religious identifications. The project focuses on the migration of two groups of German-speaking Mennonites who inhabited Russia until the 1870s, fled separately to Canada and Germany, and were reunited in Paraguay in 1930. It demonstrates that religious diasporas—often considered conservative and inflexible—adopt and dismiss multiple national identifications to preserve their communal autonomy and avoid state persecution. Moreover, I argue that groups with the most sustained resistance to nationalist appeals are organized at the communal level and view migration as a viable course of action.
From 2012-2013, I was a visiting fellow at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Before that, I was a Crossing Borders Fellow at the University of Iowa and taught a number of self-designed courses on European and transatlantic history. From 2014-2015, I will hold a University of Iowa Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowship and finish writing my dissertation. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, I will also conduct research for an oral history project that investigates the cultural and environmental histories of seven Mennonite farming communities around the world. This project is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the principal investigator is Professor Royden Loewen at the University of Winnipeg.