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The James P. Danky Fellowship

2010 Danky Fellow: Willaim Sturkey

The winner of the 2010 Danky Fellowship is William Sturkey. William is a PhD candidate in History at Ohio State University where he studies modern African American History with a focus on the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. William’s research concentrates on the famous 1964 Freedom Summer campaign. His project, tentatively titled, “Just Give Us a Light,” is an extension of his Master’s thesis, which won the 2008 Glover Moore Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society. This dissertation will examine the Freedom Schools that were designed to supplement the inferior education previously available to black Mississippi youths.

Freedom Summer is the most widely documented campaign of the modern African American Civil Rights Movement. Freedom Schools themselves have received widespread attention and are currently duplicated by various organizations across the country. But most of this scholarship and interest focuses on the pedagogy and curriculum of Freedom Schools. However widely recognized, scholars have paid scant attention to the impact of the 1964 Freedom Schools on their actual students. Ironically, black Mississippians have often been left out of the Freedom Summer narrative. William Sturkey’s project will tell the stories of the young people who attended those 1964 Freedom Schools. It seeks to provide a long term analysis of the impact of Freedom Schools. Rather than gauge Freedom Summer within a Civil Rights-era vacuum, William’s dissertation will consider the entirety of the Freedom School project from execution to the present day.

William Sturkey will use the 2010 Danky Fellowship to travel to Madison to view the Wisconsin Historical Society’s massive Mississippi Civil Rights document collection. In 1966, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin began soliciting the papers of workers in civil rights and related projects to enhance its collection of social justice documents. Two University of Wisconsin alumni who had volunteered during Freedom Summer specifically sought papers from individuals involved in the Mississippi movement. Because of this effort, the Wisconsin Historical Society now houses one of the largest collections of Mississippi Civil Rights documents. These collections will prove invaluable to William’s research as they include numerous documents donated by former Freedom School teachers and activists. While in Madison, William will also participate in the Center for the History of Print Culture’s Colloquia series.

2009 Danky Fellow: Julia Guarneri

The winner of the 2009 Danky Fellowship is Julia Guarneri, for her project, “Urban Culture and Print Community in U.S. Newspapers, 1880-1930.” Julia is a doctoral candidate in history at Yale University, writing about mainstream daily newspapers between 1880 and 1930. Historians of journalism primarily have studied the political news of the day; Julia is instead studying the contents of the newspaper beyond the front page, such as the Sunday magazine, the women’s pages, sports articles, and advice columns. Her work looks at how newspapers created and then taught a new kind of urban culture to the millions of people moving to cities in this era.

At the Wisconsin Historical Society, Julia will research the newspaper industry of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and its impact on Wisconsin residents’ daily lives. She is especially interested in the way that syndicated content and chain newspapers brought nationally standardized content to Wisconsin readers. This kind of content often edged out locally-written articles in newspapers, homogenizing regional journalism and regional culture. But syndicated and chain news also expanded the type of material a small paper could afford to print. Syndicated science columns, opera reviews, or cricket match reports all likely broadened Milwaukee residents’ horizons and offered them a new level of connection to a culture beyond their own region. Milwaukee will make a valuable case study because it both imported news from Chicago and New York and exported news to smaller surrounding towns. The collection of daily newspapers, publishers’ manuscripts, and Wisconsin small-town papers at the WHS will help Julia to reconstruct this history.

Julia was raised in Oakland, California, and moved to the east coast to dance and study cultural history at Cornell University. She spent three years in the work world—at an Oakland deli, teaching English in South Korea, and working for the oral history project Storycorps in New York City. Her fields of study in graduate school are US social and cultural history since the Civil War, and East Asian history since 1750. She initiated and now runs an urban history working group for graduate students at Yale.

2008 Danky Fellow: Derek Seidman

Congratulations to Derek Seidman on being awarded the first Danky Fellowship! Derek received his Ph.D. from Brown University in May 2010. His dissertation was entitled: "The Unquiet Americans: GI Dissent during the Vietnam War."  He is currently teaching at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. While at Brown he learned about the then-recently formed Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). With his exposure to IVAW and his longstanding interest in the protest movements of the 1960s, he became fascinated with the antecedent to current troop antiwar activism: the Vietnam era GI and veterans' movement. 

Derek Seidman's project, "The Unquiet Americans", examines the history of Vietnam era GI dissent. Using a variety of original sources and oral histories, he looks at the issues that dissident troops rallied around, how they organized and articulated their grievances, the success and failures of their efforts, and the impact that troop dissent had on the military. From organizing around issues of civil liberties, anti-racism and protesting the military hierarchy and war policies, to forming GI coffeehouses and newspapers, Vietnam era soldiers and their allies built a widespread but decentralized movement that challenged conventional military policies and decorum and gave strategic leverage to the broader antiwar movement. Other forms of GI unrest and revolt-- less overtly political, less organized, but more frequent-- also took their toll on military morale and effectiveness. Derek's project aims to illuminate this significant yet largely understudied story, to understand it on its own terms while also placing it in the larger context of postwar American history.

The Danky Fellowship will help Derek use the vast array of resources at the Wisconsin Historical Society relating to the topic of Vietnam era GI dissent. These include scores of underground antiwar newspapers published by GIs and their allies, collections of troop, civilian and legal organizations connected to the GI movement, and oral history collections. These sources, says Derek, are indispensable to his research and will allow him to tell the history of GI dissent during the Vietnam War with much greater detail, clarity and richness.

About the Fellowship

In honor of James P. Danky's long service to print culture scholarship, the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Historical Society, is offering an annual short-term research fellowship.

The Danky Fellowship provides $1000 in funds for one individual planning a trip to carry out research using the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society (please see details of the collections at Grant money may be used for travel to the WHS, costs of copying pertinent archival resources, and living expenses while pursuing research here. If in residence during the semester, the recipient will be expected to give a presentation as part of the colloquium series of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture (

Preference will be given to:

We strongly encourage applicants to speak with the  Reference Archivist at the WHS (phone: 608-264-6460; email: before applying for a grant. We are happy to help identify potential collections of which you may not otherwise be aware.

There is no application form.  Applicants must submit:

1)  A cover sheet with name, telephone, permanent address and e-mail, current employer/affiliation, title of project, and proposed dates of residency.

2)  A letter of two single-spaced pages maximum describing the project and its relation to specifically cited collections at the society and to  previous work on the same theme, and describing the projected outcome of the work, including publication plans. If residents of the Madison area are applying, they must explain their financial need for the stipend.

3)  Curriculum vitae.

4) Two confidential letters of reference. Graduate students must include their thesis advisor.

Applications are due by May 1st.  The recipient will be notified by May 31st.

Please mail applications to: 

Christine Pawley Ph.D.
Director, Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture
University of Wisconsin-Madison
4234 Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park St .
Madison , WI 53706

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the fund for the Danky Fellowship (a donation that would be restricted for this use), please make your check (marked "Danky Fellowship") payable to the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, and mail it to: Wisconsin Historical Foundation, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706-1482 (phone: 608-261-9364).


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