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Current PhD Students

Matt Egbert

Matt is a doctoral candidate in History with a specialization in North African Christianity, martyrdom, and sainthood from the 4th to 7th centuries. His dissertation emphasizes the North African Christian community’s unique perspective on death, which developed due to the region’s liminal position between the Mediterranean and Trans-Saharan trade networks.  He received his M.A. degree in Ancient History from King’s College London in 2013, with his thesis tracing the agonistici branch of the Donatist Church and its role as both a religious and socio-economic movement. Prior to his graduate work, Matt obtained his B.A. from Campbellsville University in History and English.


Brooks Hudson

Brooks is a studying American history, specializing in the transformation of law, culture, and medicine from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression.  His dissertation traces the evolution of America’s first opiate crisis and the reaction to it.  He highlights how this period was pivotal in solidifying a criminal justice approach regarding addiction and narcotic use, and more importantly, the ways it expanded law enforcements’ ability to surveil and police personal behavior.  He received his B.A. from Murray State University, winning the Beasley Award for outstanding undergraduate.  He completed his M.A. at MSU in 2017.


J. David Kemp

David graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. In 2001 Mr. Kemp received his Master of Arts in history from Lehigh University. His thesis entitled “‘Musk-Cats and Monkies:’ Africans and Domestic Slavery, the Judicial Process, and Somerset’s Case in Eighteenth-Century England” was cited in the 2002 edition of Slavery: Annual Bibliographical Supplement.  While residing in Pennsylvania Mr. Kemp was an instructor of record at Ryder University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where he taught world history. He later taught world history at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Mr. Kemp is currently in his second year as a PhD student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In addition to the black Atlantic, his academic areas of interest include colonial America and early modern Europe. Mr. Kemp plans on expanding his previous scholarship on Somerset’s case into his doctoral dissertation.


Liana Kirillova

Liana is a doctoral candidate in History, specializing on the Youth Movement in the Soviet Union in the context of the Cold War and Soviet Internationalism. Her dissertation focuses on the Soviet student construction brigade movement in the 1960s-1980s and the role of international students in these Soviet shock-work constructions. Liana received her M.A. degree in History from SIUC in 2016 and the Specialist degree in International Relations from Udmurt State University (Izhevsk, Russia) in 2014. She is a recipient of an Outstanding Thesis Award (2016) and Emma Smith Hough Library Research Scholarship (2016). Liana has published articles in Essays in History and Vestnik Udmurtskogo Universiteta.


Geoff Lybeck

Geoff Lybeck

Geoff Lybeck is a doctoral candidate in historical studies specializing in twentieth-century American environmental history. His dissertation focuses on the effects of the Clean Air Act and its amendments (1963--1990) on the politics, industries, and communities with interests in the Illinois Basin, one of America's largest fossil fuel energy reserves. (Title: "From the 'Coal Wars' to the 'War on Coal': The Struggle over Environment, Politics, Industry, and the Communities of the Illinois Basin, 1945--2016").Geoff received his MA in history from SIUC in 2017. The culmination of his master's and early-doctoral work, a study of the 1832 cholera epidemic, the subsequent discourses of disease, and their roles in American religious-community formation, received the Stanley Zucker Prize and will be published in Ohio History.


Antonio Salazar

Antonio Salazar

Antonio (He/him) is a Graduate Assistant and Instructor of Record pursuing his PhD in Historical Studies. He is the 2022 recipient of the David P. Werlich Scholarship for Latino Studies research. He is a Graduate Dean’s Fellow and the recipient of the 2020 History Department Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. His field examination topics focus on Modern Latin American History, Modern Middle Eastern History, and Modern American History, with research tools in Spanish and German language translation and Postcolonial Theory. He is also completing Graduate Certificates in Africana Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The aim of his dissertation research focuses on an analysis of the archives located at Mexican Consulates along the Mexican/American border, centering on the investigation of lives, underscoring the negotiated spaces of resistance which served as connections between gender and culture, breaking down obstacles to membership in the American family, who engaged in the court cases brought by American citizens of Mexican descent during the Mexican repatriation of the 1930’s. He earned an M.A. in History (2020) from Southern Illinois University, where his research, “Women’s Resistance and Consequence in the Struggle for Chimeric Space in Post-Revolutionary Iran,” illustrated the locative spaces created by women to counteract impositions from dual patriarchally prone nationalistic identities. In 2009, Antonio earned a B.S. in History and an Illinois Professional Educator’s License from Northern Illinois University. He has served in numerous elected positions in the community, at the Varsity Center for the Arts and the Jackson County Stage Company, and at the school, in Graduate Assistants United and the History Graduate Student Association. He is part of the editorial staff for Legacy, the journal of undergraduate student research, has assisted the Center for Teaching Excellence with the Presidential Election Research Project, and is the Coordinator for the annual Illinois Southern Regional History Day Contest."