Two new history professors

August 9, 2011

The department announces the arrival of two excellent young historians, both of whom will join us this coming fall semester.

Robert Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Saint Louis University, a Master of Arts in Southern studies from the University of Mississippi, and a Bachelor of Arts from Westminster College. Specializing in 20th century African-American history, gender history, labor history, and sonic culture, his research explores the intersections of race, masculinity, music, and work during the Jim Crow era. His doctoral dissertation, “Natural Born Ease Man?: Work, Masculinity, and the Itinerant Black Musician,” is the basis for his current book-length research project.

Robert has published in the journals Callaloo and Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual and is contributing a chapter to a forthcoming anthology on the life and legacy of black activist A. Philip Randolph. His article “‘Industry Cannot Go On Without the Production of Some Noise’: New York City’s Street Music Ban and the Sound of Work in the New Deal-Era” won the 2011 Journal of Social History Award and will appear in that publication in the near future. A native of Missouri, he comes to Peoria along with his wife Lynn Fingerhut, their son Henry, and a small army of pets.

John Bragg will have a joint appointment in the departments of History and Western Civilization. He earned his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Middle Eastern history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Evansville. His scholarly research traces the tenuous relationship between state and local society in the Middle East from ancient times to present; and he is currently working on a book titled The Democratic Roots of the Middle East: Participatory Politics and Local Leadership in Ottoman Tokat. In it he examines the emergence of a new brand of participatory politics among small town merchants and notables of the region during the 19th century.

John’s other research interests include the integration of refugees into Middle Eastern societies, the use of folklore as a method of preserving community memory, and the deployment of mystical imagery in Turkish romance minstrel poetry. His master’s thesis examined urban bias and class conceits underlying the village novels of Great Depression-era Turkey, and he published a chapter in World Literature and Its Times about the medieval poet Fuzuli’s version of the Arab classic Leyla and Majnun. John has worked and studied in both Greece and Turkey and has traveled extensively throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. He grew up in the Northwoods town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

We welcome these inspiring historians to the Bradley history community!