Margaret Lenore Brennan
I am a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Illinois, studying religion, ethnicity, and migration in the early modern Atlantic world. Originally from a small town in northeastern Ohio, I received my B.A. from a liberal arts college in Lexington, Kentucky, and my Master's in Ireland.
My primary goal in pursuing a PhD is to research and teach the history of the early modern world, but I'm also invested in promoting humanities scholarship more broadly. Since 2017, I've worked on the Humanities Without Walls (HWW) grant funded by the Mellon Foundation. In my role as Grad Lab Practicum Coordinator, I coordinate the work of graduate student collaborators in fourteen interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research projects focused on the theme of “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.” In that role, I also collect ethnographic data to reflect on cultures of collaboration and career diversity training for students in the humanities.
More on HWW here: www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu
- Religion, migration, and ethnicity in early modern Europe and the Atlantic world
- Collaborative research, public engagement, and career diversity in the humanities
My dissertation project, "Refugees to Settlers: 'Palatines' in the Early Modern Atlantic World," looks at the German Palatine migrations of the early eighteenth century.
In 1709, some 13,000 refugees from war, famine, extreme climate events, and religious strife traveled down the Rhine and across the English Channel to London. The sudden appearance of so many "poor Protestant Palatines" completely overwhelmed the ability of the English to provide them with charity or employment, and threw into sharp relief questions of religious conformity, immigration, and labor in Britain.
Upon their arrival in London, Palatine refugees were initially viewed as poor, lazy, and diseased strangers who as dissenting Protestants also threatened the stability of religious life in England. Over a short period of time and in the context of empire, however, they came to be seen as industrious, respectable Protestant settlers who were capable of reforming the reprobate populations among whom they were settled (i.e. Irish Catholics, native Americans, and Caribbean pirates). In closely examining the experience of Palatines in the British Isles, North America, and the Caribbean in the early eighteenth century, this project seeks to trace the changing significance of such categories of difference as religion, race, and ethnicity in the early modern era.
- M.Phil in Early Modern British Isles History - Trinity College Dublin, 2011
- B.A. in History, Spanish - Transylvania University, 2009
Distinctions / Awards
- William C. Widenor Teaching Award
- University of Illinois Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grant
- Instructor Ranked as Excellent, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
- Quadrangle Historical Research Foundation German Script Course Award, 2014
- INTERSECT “Cultures of Law in Global Contexts” Fellowship
- HIST 352: Europe in the World: (Instructor of Record)
- HIST 100: Global History (Teaching Assistant, Prof. Antoinette Burton)
- HIST 141: Western Civilization I (Teaching Assistant, Prof. Clare Crowston)