Matthew J Harshman

Profile picture for Matthew J Harshman

Contact Information

309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

U.S. History (19th & 20th century)
Caribbean History (19th & 20th century)
Histories of Tourism
Histories of Mobility & Transport
Maritime History

Research Description

I am currently working on my dissertation, tentatively titled “Somewhere Between Land and Sea: Tourism, Empire and the Maritime World of the Caribbean, 1860-1933” which focuses on the greater Caribbean from the U.S. Civil War through the 1920’s. My project looks at the relationship between tourism, maritime labor, naval action, and inter/intra-imperial travel, uncovering how these relationships were manifested and mobilized on the ground – or better yet, on the water. I focus on naval and commercial ship crews, soldiers, commercial agents and self-identifying tourists, and their interactions with consuls, colonial representatives and local populations, especially in the maritime space of harbors, ports, and the open sea. In doing so, my project works to broaden both who we consider to be actors in the formation of U.S. tourism and empire in the region, and how we understand consistent interaction and overlap between these various groups manifested a particular set of assumptions, expectations, and interest in/of a definable and desirable “American” Caribbean space.


BA, Humboldt State University, 2013

Courses Taught

HIST 164 (History of the Automobile), Fall 2017
HIST 258 (20th c. Global Histories of Mobility and Movement), Fall 2015, Spring 2016
(TA) HIST 171 (U.S. History to 1877), Spring 2015
(TA) HIST 274 (U.S. and the World Since 1917), Fall 2014