PhD Student Profiles



Ancient History


Wentian Fu

Wentian Fu is born in Manchuria, or Northeastern China. He began his doctoral study at McGill in 2015, under the co-supervision of Professor Hans Beck and Professor Griet Vankeerberghen. He studied English-Chinese bidirectional translation at Dalian University of Foreign Languages and got his BA in Literature in 2012. After studying ancient world history for three years, he received a MA in History from Nankai University, Tianjin, China in 2015. His current research is on the globalization and globalism in the ancient worlds of Rome and Qin-Han China with a specific exploration of the cultural diversity and its political and ideological representations. His personal interests also include contemporary politics, classical Chinese philology and literature, Chinese calligraphy, tennis and Chinese cuisine.
wentian.fu [at] (Email Wentian Fu)

Chandra Giroux

I started my doctoral program in Ancient History in 2016 under the supervision of Hans Beck. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History and Classical Studies from the University of Ottawa (2009), a Master’s in Greek and Roman Archaeology from Newcastle University (2010), and a Master’s in Classical Studies from the University of Ottawa (2016). In my Master’s in Greek and Roman Archaeology, I investigated the identification of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens in my dissertation The Erechtheion? A search for the Erechtheion of Pausanias, under the guidance of Antony Spawforth. To complement this, I completed a Master’s thesis at the University of Ottawa with a literary focus, namely, Morality in Plutarch’s “Life of Cimon”. These two Master’s degrees provided me with the archaeological and literary methodology required for my proposed PhD project.

My thesis, Plutarch’s Chaeronea: the local horizon of world empire, explores Plutarch’s everyday lived experience. Specifically, it seeks to understand the local, regional, and global aspects of Plutarch’s world and how these shine through his two great writings, The Parallel Lives and the Moralia. My project will enable Plutarch’s world to engage with the conversation between Hans Beck’s notion of localism and Irad Malkin’s theory of network connectivity.

chandra.giroux [at] (Email Chandra Giroux)

Esther Guillen

Esther Guillen began her doctoral studies at McGill University in 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Heidi Wendt. Esther holds a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Regina where she was supervised by Dr. William Arnal (2019, Jesus Christ Superscribe: Knowledge, Interpretation, and Teaching in the Gospel of Matthew) and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Religion, with minors in Greek and Roman Studies and Jewish Studies (2017). Her doctoral work focusses on scholastic religio-philosophical and textual communities of the Greco-Roman world, particularly the social milieu that surrounded the early Christian apologist Justin Martyr and may have resulted in the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew. She received a Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in support of her research. She has also received various other grants and scholarships that allowed her to study in Israel / Palestine and conduct in-depth independent research at both the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels.

esther.guillen [at] (Email Esther Guillen)



Ian Beattie

Ian Beattie is completing his PhD under the supervision of Brian Lewis, with a focus on the history of 19th-century Britain and the state. His dissertation work, a case study of Manchester, looks at the development of governance practices in Britain during the first wave of industrial urbanization, asking why the modern state and the industrial economy appeared together and seem to have always needed one another. Other interests include early policing, historical sociology, empire, gender and class in Britain. An upcoming article, to be published in the History Workshop Journal, examines the practice of neonaticide as a form of birth control in working-class communities in industrial Manchester. He holds a BA in English Literature and a Master’s in History, both from McGill, and his research has received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the History and Classical Studies Department at McGill.

Carleigh Nicholls

Carleigh Nicholls is a doctoral student at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Brian Cowan. She holds a Master’s degree in History from McGill, and a Bachelor’s degree in History (Honours) and Medieval Studies from the University of Victoria. Her doctoral work examines perceptions and applications of judicial violence in Restoration Scotland prior to the Glorious Revolution. She received a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in support of her research. She has also held various fellowships which have allowed her to spend extended periods in both Glasgow and London. For her previous graduate work, she examined the polemics surrounding religious toleration during the reign of King James II and VII. Her general research interests include politics, religion, and the law in Stuart Britain, with a particular focus on Restoration Scotland.

carleigh.nicholls [at] (Email Carleigh Nicholls)

Felicia Gabriele

Felicia Gabriele began her doctoral studies at McGill University in 2016, under the joint supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne and Dr. Jason Opal. She holds a Master of Arts in History from Queen’s University (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Literature from the University of Windsor (2012). Her doctoral work focuses on nineteenth century Anglo-American anti-slavery and abolition, with research interests in humanitarianism, philanthropy, the affective material cultures of abolition, and the history of emotions. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she worked in the non-profit and philanthropy world. At the Alliance Against Modern Slavery in Toronto, she was the lead Research Associate and Co-Author on the report, The Incidence of Human Trafficking in Ontario, which was the first of its kind to undertake a comprehensive investigation of human trafficking in the province. The report was later cited by the Department of Justice in Bill C-36, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (July 2014) and it continues to inform government officials and task forces across Canada. She also lived in San Francisco, where she worked as a Grants Fellow at Not For Sale, a non-profit organization working against human trafficking and modern slavery in Thailand, Peru, Romania, the Netherlands, and the Bay Area. Her research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and she holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship in Honour of Nelson Mandela.

felicia.gabriele [at] (Email Felicia Gabriele)

Stephan Pigeon

Stephan Pigeon started his doctoral studies at McGill University in 2013, under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne and Dr. Jason Opal. He holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Windsor (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts Honours in History & Women’s Studies (with distinction) (2011) also from the University of Windsor. Stephan’s research focuses on the history of the book and culture of the printed word in Britain, Ireland, and the United States with attention towards the 19th-century periodical press. His dissertation examines journalistic labour and the history of reading to understand how texts change in shape and meaning when editors redeploy old texts as new in different local, provincial, and national contexts. His research interests include the Victorian periodical press, new journalism, copyright law, piracy, and data aggregation in new media.  
stephan.pigeon [at] (Email Stephan Pigeon)

Philip Santos

Philip Santos is a PhD candidate under the supervision of professor Brian Cowan. He obtained his Master of Arts in History at Queen’s University, Kingston (2019) and his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History at Ryerson University (2017) where he also completed a Minor in Philosophy.

Philip’s research focus is the history of capitalism and the intellectual history of the Scottish Enlightenment. The work of Adam Smith is his principal focal point. Philip’s dissertation interests lie in understanding Smith’s political economy in historical context, and the impact of Smith’s ideas in transnational perspective. More generally he is interested in studying critiques of society in the era of Enlightenment and the genealogy of economic thought. Philip is the recipient of the Doug Webb Award in History (2016), the Chair in Canadian-Scottish Graduate Award (2019), and the Ian & Helgi Soutar Graduate Award in Canadian Scottish Studies (2019-2020).

philip.santos [at] (Email Philip Santos)


Canada/Quebec/French Atlantic

Michael Davis

Michael Davis is a Ph. D candidate studying the intersections of family, career and empire in the French Atlantic World. He began his doctoral studies at McGill in 2015 under the co-supervision of Professors Allan Greer and Catherine Desbarats. Michael also holds an MA in History from McGill (2015) and a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Bristol (2014).

Michael’s dissertation, entitled “Brothers in Arms: The Le Moyne Family and the Atlantic World, 1680-1745” charts the expansive circum-Atlantic careers of the first generation of the famed Le Moyne Family, which took them from Montreal to Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, Louisiana, Martinique, Saint-Domingue, Guyana and western France. More broadly, Michael is interested Indigenous history, early modern empire and comparative colonisation.

michael.davis7 [at] (Email Michael Davis)

Renée Girard

À la suite de sa Maîtrise en Histoire à l’université Brock, Tacitus' Germania and the Jesuit Relations: Intertextuality in the Transatlantic World of the Early Jesuits in New France, Renée s’intéresse toujours à la Nouvelle-France et plus particulièrement à la rencontre alimentaire franco-amérindienne à la période du contact. Elle travaille sous la direction de Dr. Allan Greer et bénéficie de la bourse Joseph-Armand Bombardier pour continuer sa recherche.

As a Phd student under the supervision of Dr. Allan Greer, Renée continues her research on New France at the time of contact looking at the interaction between French newcomers and the Indigenous people they encountered through the lens of food.

renee.girard [at] (Email Renée Girard)

Michael LaMonica

Michael LaMonica is a Ph.D candidate under the joint supervision of Catherine Desbarats and Allan Greer. Prior to obtaining his MA in History from McGill in 2016, he had worked as a lawyer in the Connecticut Attorney General's Office from 2008-2015. He is the author of the books French Revolutions for Beginners and First Amendment for Beginners.

Michael's research focuses on the intersection of law, commerce, and empire in the eighteenth-century French Atlantic. His dissertation, entitled "Adjudicating Maritime Empire: The French Colonial Admiralty Courts of North America and the West Indies, 1717-1792," examines the records of these courts and their role in the construction of legal maritime space in the Americas. The dissertation focuses on the colonial admiralty courts as an institutional technology that were used to surveil and regulate distant populations, gather information for the burgeoning administrative state, facilitate the trans-Atlantic commercial flow of commodities, credit, insurance, and labour, and maintain the colonies as anomalous legal spaces subject to special rules in the areas of trade and slavery.

michael.lamonica [at] (Email Michael LaMonica)

Shawn McCutcheon

Shawn McCutcheon is a PhD Candidate in History at McGill University, working under the supervision of Dr Jarrett Rudy. His thesis studies the construction of masculine selfhoods and sexualities in Lower Canada between 1791 and 1840, by comparing the role of Franco-Catholic and Anglo-Protestant institutions of secondary education. Shawn explores the impact of the cultural transformations experienced during the period on Laurentian education and on the masculine ideals promoted in schools for boys, conceived as spaces of social control.

Shawn holds a B.A. and an M.A. in History from Université de Montréal, where he worked on the relations between Masculinity and Homoeroticism in Eighteenth-century Rome, under the supervision of Dr Dominique Deslandres. Since 2013, he also volunteers at the Archives Gaies du Québec / Quebec Gay Archives, located in Montreal and working to preserve the past of local LGBTQIA2S* communities. He also facilitated conferences on the History of Homosexuality in Twentieth-century Quebec. His research interests include the transatlantic history of education, gender, sexuality, social control, and marginality.

shawn.mccutcheon [at] (Email Shawn McCutcheon)

Angela Tozer

Angela began her doctoral studies in 2013 under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne, and holds an MA in history from McGill, and an honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. She has taught HIST 223: Indigenous Peoples and Empires, HIST 436: A cultural history of “the economy” in Europe, and HIST 354: Women in Europe, and she has worked as a teaching assistant for both Canadian and European history courses, and Indigenous Studies.

Angela’s dissertation “Universal nation: The colonial public debt over Mi'kma'ki, 1820-1873” looks at the first “Canadian” government debts. She argues that the early colonial government was able to secure massive public loans issued on the London Stock Exchange through the leveraging of Indigneous territories for credit. With a focus on Epekwitk (the British named Prince Edward Island), and with Mi’kmaw oral histories shared with her, Angela hopes to gain an understanding of the complex relationship between finance capitalism and settler colonialism. This research project has received generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill.

angela.tozer [at] (Email Angela Tozer)



Ka Ki Alan Ho

Born and brought up in a normal family in Hong Kong, Ka Ki Alan Ho mainly received Cantonese mother-tongue education until being admitted to the New Asia College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He picked up English, Putonghua and Japanese since then through a rocky and windy road. Alan holds a Bachelor of Arts with 1st class honor and a Master of Philosophy with history major from CUHK.

He is now a visiting scholar at Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. In the past years, he gave paper presentations on his research on the Silk Routes and the Eastern Han frontier history during the 1st century CE in several regional conferences in Canada, U.S., Japan and Hong Kong. He also participated in several graduate conferences in McGill as well as Harvard.

Outside academic, Alan holds several international credentials. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP®) of the Project Management Institute, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Associate™ of the U.S. Green Building Council, and a Financial Advisor’s International Qualification holder.

ka.k.ho [at] (Email Alan Ho)

Qian Zhang

I was born in Ningbo, China, one of the earliest treaty ports opened by the British after the First Opium War (1839-1942). In 2004, the British came again. This time they merely opened an overseas campus: the University of Nottingham at Ningbo. The university required all of its Chinese students to have an English name. Making the most of this Western attempt to modify my oriental identity, I selected Napoleon, once the archenemy of the British. In spite of my rebellious nature, I managed to earn my Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) in International Studies there in 2008, followed by a first-class Master’s Degree in International Relations and World History in 2011. 

Under the supervision of Professor Lorenz Luthi, I am currently engaging in three fields of study at McGill: 20th Century International Relations with emphasis on the post-1945 period, 20th Century Chinese History, and the Political/Intellectual History of the Global South. I have a general interest in China’s interactions with its neighboring countries, particularly those it has confronted on the battlefield. My research for my doctoral dissertation will center on the 1962 Sino-Indian Border Conflict, with reference to its origins, development, and consequences. That short war is fascinating because it constitutes a historical wedge that divided China and India, two of the continent’s largest countries, leading once close friends to construct one of the most militarized borders in the world. I hope an inquiry into this shared past can shed light on the way ahead for the two countries.
qian.zhang [at] (Email Qian Zhang)


Continental Europe

Eleanor Coulter

Eleanor Coulter began her doctoral studies at McGill in 2014, under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Dew. She received a Master’s degree in History from McGill University (2014) and a Bachelor’s degree in French and Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Saskatchewan (2013). Her current research focuses on cartography and empire in early modern France, although her broader interests include the French Atlantic World, Digital Humanities, Public History and the Theory and History of Cartography.




History of Science

Céline Stantina

Céline Stantina is a History PhD candidate interested in History of science and zoology. Her master’s thesis, at l’Université de Montréal (2016-2018) focused on the work of Lacépède Histoire Naturelle des Cétacées (1804) and vernacular maritime knowledge. This research work principally mobilized sources in Europe, especially in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris, equally for the naturalists’ thick correspondence than for the physical contemporary collections.

Her current research, supervised by Dr. Nicholas Dew, aims to examine the trajectories of cetacean natural objects and of vernacular maritime knowledge to help exemplify the way powerful scientific institutions tried to mobilize different strata of individuals (and particularly whalers) in order to build systemic networks of exchange. The goal of this research is to take a step back from sources generated in these institutions, and to analyze further how knowledge is “produced” on the field, in that case: the ocean. Logbooks, notebooks and correspondence are the prime sources of this analysis.

She is also a research assistant for the SSHRC founded Taylor White project at McGill Rare Books library, working on zoological illustrations.

celine.stantina [at] (Email Céline Stantina)


Latin America

Martin Giraldo

Martin Giraldo began his doctoral studies at McGill University in 2019 under the supervision of professor Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert. He holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Saskatchewan (2018, Owning Land, Appropriating Nature. The Configuration of an Agricultural Landscape in the Cauca River Valley, Southwestern Colombia, 1864 – 1901), and a bachelor’s degree in History from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá (2013). Located in the interdisciplinary crossroads between social, agrarian, and environmental histories, his doctoral research explores the agro-ecologies of freedom created by afro-Colombian communities in the Cauca River Valley, covering the period between the abolition of slavery and the take-off of a sugarcane agro-industry. The recovering of this environmental history is intended to acknowledge the agency of afro-Colombians in the shaping of agricultural landscapes, and to resource contemporary discussions over how to rebuild the ecological foundations of farming communities in the aftermath of Colombia’s internal armed conflict. Giraldo holds McGill’s Tomlinson fellowship.

juan.giraldo2 [at] (Email Martin Giraldo)



Dimitris Machlouta

I am a Ph.D. student at McGill University -under the supervision of Professor Tassos Anastassiadis- with an interest in global and transnational history and the history of mobilities. Being born in Greece, I initially studied history and archaeology at the University of Ioannina before continuing my studies in history at York University in Toronto. Through the lens of connected history and by using a multiscale approach, my research examines interactions between political actors and intellectuals during the global long sixties. I map and analyze their diverse trajectories which connected cities on many continents as well as their multiple modalities of engagement. I take as a case study the Greek anti-junta activism as this unfolded in Western Europe and North America. I am particularly focused on Montréal where a substantial number of French-educated Greek intellectual exiles arrived and established transnational anti-junta networks whose impact reached far beyond Canada. I have worked as an archivist at the National Bank of Greece’s Historical Archive in Athens and I was a Library Research Fellow at California State University in Sacramento. In Montréal -besides working as a teaching assistant at McGill- I am engaged with Immigrec, a digital humanities interdisciplinary project which created a digital archive and a Virtual Museum of the Greek immigration to Canada and I receive training on questions of 1) state formation and violence; 2) international relations and the Cold War; 3) political exile and intellectual migration. My research has been supported with the HHF International Graduate Fellowship in Modern Greek History (York), a Library Research Fellowship at the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection (CSUS), the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal Scholarship (HSF), the Cotsen Traveling Fellowship for Research in Greece (ASCSA), the Robert Vogel Award in History (McGill), a Graduate Excellence Award (McGill), and the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation Fellowship for Excellence in Graduate Education (McGill).

dimitrios.machlouta [at] (Email Dimitris Machlouta)


Middle East


Medical History

Kelvin Chan

Kelvin is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor David Wright. He received a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Hong Kong Baptist University (2017) and a Master’s degree in History from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2018). Kelvin is interested in the history of medicine and mental health. His master thesis focuses on the repatriation of mentally ill and destitute between the metropole and colony in the early 20th century Hong Kong. Built upon his previous research, his doctoral dissertation will explore the history of mental health in China and Hong Kong from the late 19th century. His broader research interests include the history of disability and the history of suicide.

chun.k.chan [at] (Email Kelvin Chan)

Courtney Krolikoski

Courtney Krolikoski began her PhD studies at the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec in 2014. She is supervised by Dr. Faith Wallis. She is interested in the history of medieval medicine, particularly issues surrounding mental health, social perceptions of illness and disease, and the intersection of medicine and religion. Her current research explores the status of lepers in Bologna, Italy in the High Middle Ages with attention to the interaction between contemporary social, political, religious, and medical understandings of the disease.

She received her undergraduate degree in 2007 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Psychology and a minor in History. She then received her Master's Degree in 2011 from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary in Comparative History: Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies. In her non-academic life she volunteers with military veterans, is an advocate for mental health awareness and support, and tries to find time for fencing, ballroom dance, and yoga. 

Rebecca Stieva

Rebecca Stieva is a PhD candidate in History at McGill, specializing in the history of medicine under Professor David Wright. Her research focuses on the intersection between epidemic diseases, public health intervention, and urban environments. Specifically, her thesis maps cholera mortality across three epidemics in London, England (1848, 1854, and 1866) and analyzes the influence of public health initiatives in relation to the progression of the epidemic. Though her research is historic in nature, the conclusions it draws offer the possibility of informing current public health practices surrounding epidemic cholera in urban centres. Rebecca’s research aims to contribute to building a stronger network between the history of medicine and its place in modern-day public health policy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick (2014) and a Master of Science in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the University of Oxford (2016).

Email rebecca.stieva [at] (Rebecca Stieva)

Cynthia Tang

Cynthia Tang is a PhD Candidate in the History of Medicine in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine and History and Classical Studies. She has an interest in understanding the social and political mechanisms that facilitate the spread and acceptance of medical knowledge and technologies. Her doctoral research, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Schlich, examines the development and rise of minimally invasive gallbladder removal (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Cynthia is also interested in the history of vaccination as a technology and the history of anti-vaccination movements. Her broader interests include Science and Technology Studies, and Public History. Cynthia has a background in molecular biology and immunology, but now confines her inclination towards experimentation to the kitchen.

cynthia.tang2 [at] (Email Cynthia Tang)


South Asia

Sukhjit Chohan

Sukhjit entered the Ph.D program in 2015 under the co-supervision of Dr. Subho Basu and Dr. Lorenz Lüthi and is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship. He was previously awarded a B.A and M.A in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University.

Sukhjit's dissertation considers India's annexation of Goa in 1961 as a convergence of decolonization and the Cold War. He hopes to contribute to understanding the Cold War as a truly global conflict involving sovereign state actors in the developing world. He seeks to reveal how these actors complicated the Cold War balance of power as they advanced multi-faceted domestic and foreign policies motivated by a variety of factors both pragmatic and ideological. More broadly, Sukhjit's research interests include globalization, the history of Christianity, and the spread of non-violent resistance.

sukhjit.chohan [at] (Email Sukhjit Chohan)

Urvi Desai

Urvi is a doctoral student at McGill University under the guidance of Professor Subho Basu and funded by the Cundill Fellowship in History.

She completed her BA at the University of Mumbai, India, where she lived and worked. She completed her MA in international history from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva, and studied public policy at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.

Her research focuses on the histories of birth control in colonial and post-colonial Bombay; and her archival work includes sources in Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi. She believes in the criticality of an interaction between the past and the present and hopes her historical and political questions bear a meaningfulness in the contemporary nation.

urvi.desai [at] (Email Urvi Desai)

Joseph Howard

Joseph completed his BA in History with a minor in English Literature at Seattle Pacific University in 2007. In 2010, he was awarded an MA in History from the University at Buffalo, where he wrote an MA project entitled “Half-Brothers in Christ: Catholicism and Native Clergy in China.” Continuing the study of Christianity in Asia, he then completed an MA thesis at Simon Fraser University in 2014, “Half-Brothers in Christ: The Church Missionary Society and the Christians of Kerala, 1813-1840,” which examined the CMS mission to the St. Thomas Christians in Kottayam, south India.

In 2016, Joseph joined the doctoral program in History at McGill, studying in the Indian Ocean World Centre under the supervision of Gwyn Campbell. His PhD dissertation will build on his MA research, investigating interactions between conversionist British Protestant Christianity and established Oriental Orthodox churches in the Indian Ocean region, especially the Malankara Church in southern India, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. His research interests include the history of Christianity, religion & empire, and comparative imperialism.

Outside of academia, Joseph spends as much time as he can with his daughter.

Rebekah McCallum

Rebekah McCallum is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Gwyn Campbell. Her current research, as part of an interdisciplinary grant held at the Indian Ocean World Centre, intends to provide understanding of contemporary bondage networks and labour structures across the Indian Ocean World by exploring the historical contexts that gave rise to their development and maintenance. She also participates in collaborative research projects associated with understanding environmental risk, human migration and labour in the Indian Ocean region.

Her dissertation centres on the influence of international (mainly Scottish) companies on labor policies associated with tea plantations in India and Sri Lanka, in an attempt to explore trajectories in labour management and development throughout the 20th century. Her research includes discourses of human-environment interaction, human rights, and humanitarianism, engaging with 21st century sustainability and labor concerns in the industry under study.

Rebekah received her bachelor's degree in Anthropology, with a certificate in South Asian Studies, from Princeton University in 2010. She then studied for a certificate in theology from the University of Oxford, before completing her master’s degree in the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Virginia. She has volunteered internationally with organizations involved in child advocacy, anti-trafficking, and peace-building.

rebekah.mccallum [at] (Email Rebekah McCallum)

Jessica Rose

I am a doctoral student studying the history of modern India under the direction of Professor Subho Basu. My dissertation will focus on the social texts of dockworkers and lascars moving through the port of colonial Bombay. I am tracing labour migration from the interior of Maharashtra, through the cosmopolitan space of the city, and along the shipping routes to cities in the Indian Ocean and my research questions centre around conceptions of space and territoriality that challenge colonial and nationalist boundaries of modern India. My comprehensive exams include modern India, history of the Indian Ocean, and postcolonial theory and Marxism. More broadly, I am interested in labour and economic history, linguistics, geography, gender and queer theory, and finally figuring out what a rhizome is. 

Prior to graduate study, I was a labour organiser in New York City. I received my MA in South Asian Studies from Columbia University and my BA in History from New College of Florida.  When not in Montreal, I can usually be found at one of the American Institute of Indian Studies centres trying to learn a new language. 


United States

Sam Derksen

Sam Derksen is a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Allan Greer. Prior to his arrival at McGill, Sam obtained a Masters of Arts in History from the University of Saskatchewan (2017) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History (2015) also from the University of Saskatchewan.

Sam’s research focuses on the history of trade and consumption in colonial North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His Master’s thesis used the liquor trade as a lens to examine the social dynamics that shaped exchange in the Illinois Country during the second half of the eighteenth century. His dissertation re-examines the history of the North West Company focusing on how the company was structured internally and how the company’s vast North American, Atlantic, and global trade networks functioned. This project will also explore what this study of the North West Company reveals about the history of companies, capitalism, credit, and the fur trade in colonial North America.

Felicia Gabriele (see under Britain)

James Volmensky

Originally from California, James completed an MA in History at McGill in 2016 and began his PhD in 2017, under the supervision of John Zucchi. His research interests include immigration and citizenship, diaspora studies, 20th century US history, and the history of the Cold War.

James’ dissertation focuses on the diaspora established by Russian émigrés and Displaced Persons, looking at how religious, political, and cultural associational life recreated Russian culture in 20th century North America. In addition to his academic pursuits, James has experience as an archivist, having worked at the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California, and the Foundation of Russian History in Jordanville, New York. When he is not buried in books and research, James spends as much time as he can with his wife and daughter.

james.volmensky [at] (Email James Volmensky)

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