Historians Mahoney and Horrocks on American Girl Dolls

History Ph.D.’s Mary Mahoney ’18 and Allison Horrocks ’16 explore American Girl dolls through Allison Horrocks, 2016 History Ph.Dlenses of history and pop culture in their podcast “The Dolls of Our Lives,” and their recent book, The Dolls of Our Lives: Why We Can’t Quit American Girl.

Their work has garnered significant attention and interest.  It has been featured in UConn Today, “In New BooMary Margaret Mahoney, History Department, UConnk, History Ph.D.s Explore ‘Why We Can’t Quit American Girl,’” where they discuss their podcast, their book, and weigh-in on which American Girl’s they think would earn history Ph.D.’s.

Phil Goduti Dissertation Defense, “The Durability of a Kennedy”

On February 7. 2024 Phil Goduti successfully defended his dissertation, “’The Durability of a Kennedy’: How Emotional Communities Contributed to John F. Kennedy’s Core Beliefs, 1930-1963″ which examines how emotions shaped decision-making of U.S. foreign policy.

From the abstract:

“This dissertation examines the evolution of John F. Kennedy’s core beliefs as he inhabited four emotional communities throughout his life and analyzes whether those beliefs played a role in shaping foreign policy when he served in public office. Barbara Rosenwein posits the notion of emotional communities in her examination of the Middle Ages.


Those communities consisted of his family, education (boarding school and Harvard), military service (the Navy in WWII), and time in public office (from Congress to the presidency). The study analyzes the experiences and relationships within those communities and how they contributed to an evolution of his core beliefs such as masculine toughness, loyalty, sacrifice, and duty to one’s nation. The dissertation also considers how pain and suffering may have played a role in shaping John F. Kennedy’s core beliefs through an examination of the many illnesses that he endured throughout his lifetime.

This dissertation consists of three parts that examine three distinct phases in his life and how these emotional communities were present within those each phase. Part One examines his family history and his education at boarding school and Harvard. The two emotional communities examined within this part are the foundation for his core beliefs that followed him through life. However, his time in war, which is examined in Part Two, led to a re-examination of those beliefs and had an impact on him for the rest of his life. In addition, the death of his brother, Joseph Kennedy, Jr., left an indelible mark that never faded. This dissertation contends that these years were the most important in his short life. The study ends with an examination of his experiences and relationships while in public office, the final emotional community. Each of the three chapters in Part Three focus on his time in the House of Representatives, Senate, and the presidency.”


A hearty congratulations to Phil and his family on this remarkable achievement and important historical contribution!

Prof. Sinha Signs Brief in Colorado Ballot Case

Manisha Sinha, professor of history

Prof. Manisha Sinha is one of twenty-five Civil War and Reconstruction historians who signed an amicus brief in support of Colorado’s attempt to remove Donald Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment, which bars insurrection participants from running for office. A summary of the brief’s main arguments is featured in the Guardian article, “US historians sign brief to support Colorado’s removal of Trump from ballot.”

Find the whole brief here.

A second brief from historians regarding the case cites Prof. Sinha’s upcoming book, The Rise and Fall of the Second American, 1860-1920

Frank Costigliola on George Kennan, with Kai Bird November 9th

University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Frank Costigliola will discuss his most recent book, Kennan: A Life between Worlds, with the Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center Kai Bird. The hybrid event will occur Thursday, November 9th, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. in-person at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Segal Theatre and online via Zoom.

Register here.

Prof. Manisha Sinha, new president-elect of SHEAR

Manisha Sinha, professor of historyAfter a recent election, Professor Manisha Sinha is now the president-elect of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR).

Established in 1977, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) is an association of scholars dedicated to exploring the events and the meaning of United States history between 1776 and 1861. SHEAR’s mission is to foster the study of the early republican period among professional historians, students, and the general public. It upholds the highest intellectual standards of the historical profession and encourages the broad diffusion of historical insights through all appropriate channels, including schools, museums, libraries, electronic media, public programming, archives, and publications. SHEAR cherishes a democratic ethos in scholarship and cultivates close, respectful, and productive exchanges between serious scholars at every level of experience and recognition. SHEAR membership is open to all; most members are professional historians employed in colleges, universities, museums, and historical parks and agencies, as well as independent scholars and graduate students.

Elected to the Nominating Committee for 2024-2026 were two department alumni: Antwain K. Hunter, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MA ‘09) and Jessica C. Linker, Northeastern University (PhD ’17).

Congratulations to everyone!