Graduate student Dennis McDonald was recently awarded a prestigious 2013–2014 doctoral fellowship by the Graduate School. Dennis’s project concerns nationalism and identity in Anglophone Cameroon in west central Africa. Specifically, he is looking at the relationship between pre-colonial identity and the legacy of colonialism in the formation of nationalist identity. Using an interdisciplinary approach based on his research tool in social and cultural anthropology he will explore how the development of national identity came to be presented in performance art and literature. Professor Getahun Benti is serving as director for the dissertation.
Mr. McDonald, who comes to the department from the greater St. Louis area, notes that the access he had to an interested faculty from his very first visit has been borne out by further experience. He describes the atmosphere in the department as open, inquisitive, and very supportive. Dennis, who has served as an assistant to undergraduate advisor Professor Natasha Zaretsky, appreciates not only the eminent faculty, all well-established in their respective fields, but also the energy of the incredibly active undergraduate historians.
What lies ahead for Dennis as he embraces the opportunity to delve fully into his dissertation research? The fellowship will afford him the opportunity to travel to London, to do research at the National Archives, for one thing. If there are heavens for historians, the British National Archives can be counted as one such, and Dennis is really looking forward to rolling up his sleeves there. Congratulations!