Previous IPAC Academic Fellows

The Institute for Peace and Conflict is proud to recognize the following scholars as previous recipients of our Academic Fellowship Program. IPAC strives to attract faculty and graduate student scholars from a wide variety of university disciplines whose work touches on the themes of peace and conflict and the numerous ways in which societies respond to war, diplomacy, and the pursuit of peace. IPAC Fellows receive support to present and publish their most recent research at academic conferences and other venues. Please join us in congratulating these scholars for their many accomplishments and for their important contributions to the study of peace and conflict.

Pablo Hernandez Borges

Pablo Hernandez Borges is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University. His research interests include democratization, legislatures, gender representation, and social media, especially within Latin America. In International Relations, his focus is on Refugee and Humanitarian Crises where is research has used the Venezuelan Diaspora as main case of study. Moreover, under the umbrella of conflict and peace, topics related to human security, fund collection and refugees effect in receiving countries are part of his research agenda.

Lance Lomax

Lance Lomax is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. His research focuses primarily on histories of Japanese film and media within East Asian and Transpacific contexts. His dissertation reframes histories of film and media in Japan from the late Meiji period onward and grapples with problems of approaching distant systems of film, media, and society by proposing new theorizations of transnationalism and cultural trauma as intersecting critical lenses.

Daniella McCahey

Daniella McCahey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Her research on the history of British science and geopolitics in Antarctica and she has published on a variety of topics in this area, including masculinity on Antarctic research stations, science and whaling, the role of the Royal Navy in Antarctic imperialism, and material culture in Antarctica. Her book manuscript, Laboratories at the Bottom of the World, which analyzes British and New Zealand Antarctic stations in the context of British imperialism, is under contract at Harvard University Press.

Rebecca McGee

Rebecca McGee is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. My study of peace and conflict looks at innate human behaviour in both violent and non-violent settings. While wartime and combat reflect the purpose of this study most prominently, it is important to include incidents outside of these parameters. My work on sexual assault in the United States military attempts to script the other, less talked about side of the study of peace and conflict. Beginning with the Vietnam War, I look to explain why and how, with a parallel socio-political movement erupting in the streets of the United States, sexual violence in the military was not addressed following the end of the war even though there were details of such violence and harassment from women who served. This socio-political movement, namely, the Anti-Rape Movement, exposed how tolerant the laws were of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment and looked to drastically change them. With much success, new state and federal laws were implemented in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a result. In addition, reporting incidents of sexual violence became easier, and victim-blaming was strongly discouraged. Though the system was not perfect, it was clear that the advocates of the Anti-Rape Movement encouraged true progress. However, military attitudes and protocols did not change. When in 2018, it was recorded that 20,000 servicemembers had experienced some form of sexual violence in that fiscal year, it was made clear that the crisis that had so long plagued the U.S. military could not be eliminated without drastic changes within the Chain of Command. My hope is to bring awareness to this long, complex history of sexual violence in the United States military and to spark change where necessary.

John Nelson

John Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. I specialize in the history of early America, with an emphasis on the borderlands of Indigenous North America and the colonial Atlantic World. My research examines the ways ecology and geography shaped the terms of cross-cultural interaction between Native peoples and European colonizers from first contact through the early republican era of the United States. My current book project, provisionally titled Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Europeans, and the Transformation of a Continent, explores how a particular local landscape along Chicago’s continental divide shaped power dynamics between various Indigenous groups, French, British, Spanish, and American empires from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. My next project, in its early stages, traces the lives of a number of Indigenous, white, and mixed-race individuals in the Great Lakes borderlands who defied expected allegiances during and after the American Revolution. The project will follow their changing loyalties through a series of frontier conflicts, examining the varying motivations that led individuals to challenge the growing racial schisms in the early United States.

Catharine Franklin

Assistant Professor, Department of History

My work deals indigenous peoples and the United States Army in the American West after the Civil War. I seek to move the story of native-white relations past the familiar narrative of the “Indian Wars,” a flawed concept that distorts our understanding of the past. Contrary to popular belief, soldiers and Indians did more than fight one another. Pulled into the indigenous world, army officers on the Great Plains became part of native systems of reciprocity, complemented and fueled native violence and supported native sovereignty in surprising ways. Indigenous communities remained dynamic and powerful even when under attack; as a result, the army’s success in the West was often local, contingent, and limited.

Brittney Golden

Doctoral Student, Department of Psychological Sciences

My current research focuses on the etiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specifically how this disorder impacts the life of military personnel. PTSD is highly comorbid with other psychological disorders, such as depression, and is commonly associated with suicidality and physiological health concerns. Moreover, PTSD is complex in nature and there are multiple variations in clinical presentations. Given that, part of my research is also understanding the complexity of this diagnosis and how these variations can be captured using psychological assessments. In addition, I conduct research on various psychological assessments (e.g., MMPI-2-RF) to improve the validity and accuracy of mental health diagnoses. Assessment interpretations often directly impact diagnosis and treatment; thus, it is imperative to ensure these assessments are adequately validated and utilized within the military population. Lastly, I am interested in examining and understanding service members willingness to seek treatment for mental health concerns, along with issues associated with mental health stigma. Ultimately, as a psychologist in training and researcher, I am concerned with the physical and mental health of our country’s service members. I hope that the work I am doing, and continue to do, will ensure they are capable and prepared to fulfill their duties, as well as live healthy lives. It is my hope this type of research will improve, and supplement, available psychotherapy treatments and psychological assessments for the military population.

Uyen H. “Carie” Nguyen

Doctoral Student, Department of History

As the field of military history has expanded beyond traditional battle narratives to examine diverse social and cultural perspectives, my doctoral research is using the bottom-up micro-history approach to explore an understudied aspect of human experiences in the Vietnam War: the U.S. Army’s Mobile Advisory Team (MAT) advisors and their counterparts. Waging war amidst a fierce counterinsurgency, these small units of American advisors operated in a highly complex environment where they lived and fought alongside the Vietnamese local soldiers, indigenous forces, and civilians in remote areas. Serving in this prolonged conflict which historian George Herring once called “America’s longest war,” these soldiers not only served as military advisors to train the territorial forces, but also carried ambassadorial duties to provide the host country’s people a clearer sense of peace, no matter how fragile it might be. A lasting peace would not be possible until the war ended, yet everyday fighting went on to defend the ordinary lives. Many conundrums and intersections of waging war and waging peace through MAT teams’ unique lens shaped the experiences of these veterans from both sides and their families, revealing insightful voices of those human beings on the ground who bore and have silently continued to bear direct impacts of America’s engagement in overseas missions, and illuminating interconnections between peace and conflict.

NaRi Shin

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management

The overall focus of my research agenda lies in the field of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP). The field has been emerging during the last decade as the United Nations engaged in using sport as a tool to initiate peace and achieve conflict resolution. I have been involved with research projects examining Sport for Development and Peace practitioners’ motivation and managerial challenges, practitioners’ experiences of building and maintaining partnerships, their challenges of organizational management in the context of non-profit and voluntary sector. My research work is important to the area of peace and conflict as Sport for Development and Peace has continued to be a significant global movement both at the global and the local level. Institutions such as the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee endeavor to deliver the value of sport in achieving peace, particularly in the regions where people suffer from severe religious or ethnic conflicts. As my academic work will continue to focus on the ways in which the field of Sport for Development and Peace can be advanced in managerial, organizational, and philosophical sides, I believe that I will contribute to not only the mission of the Institute of Peace and Conflict but also greater academic area of peace and conflict.

Lamia Zia

Instructor, College of Media and Communication

Lamia is a full-time instructor at the College of Media and Communication, Texas Tech University. Born in Pakistan, she has worked in print and broadcast media for over 10 years. During her journalism years, Lamia worked with renowned award-winning journalists, media scholars, and diplomats. Lamia holds three cross-disciplinary Masters (International Communications, Multimedia, Politics and Government), and diverse experience in international communication. Her research interests include the use of technology in countering violent extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition, her work has focused on the critical role women should play in all aspects of peacebuilding. In this capacity, Lamia co-authored a study “Does a link exist between increasing Women's Participation in Parliament and the Introduction and Passage of Laws to Protect Women in Pakistan?” published in the Journal of Political Studies. Apart of extensive writing on peacebuilding issues, she has also worked at national TV channel, GEO as a senior correspondent in Pakistan. In 2004, she was also awarded British Council fellowship.

Alan Barenberg

How do societies mobilized for total war make the transition to peace? How do such transitions affect populations connected to forced labor? I am currently working on a project that examines the ex-prisoner Georgii Demidov, whose remarkable life touches on many of the most important themes in Soviet history. An up-and-coming experimental physicist in the 1930s, he was arrested during the Great Terror of 1937-1938. He subsequently spent over 15 years in northern prison camps. After release he did not return to his family, instead remaining in the north to work as an engineer, while also beginning to write short fiction about his life in the camps. Although he was hounded by the authorities, he refused to stop writing. His works were first published only in 1990, some three years after his death. The study of the Gulag, and of Demidov in particular, touches on important themes in the study of peace and conflict. First, it examines the nature of repression and forced labor in a society that was perpetually mobilized for war under Stalin. Second, it analyzes the nature of the forced labor system during the Second World War and the early Cold War. Finally, this project examines a society's transition from perpetual mobilization for war to peacetime by following the story of a single ex-prisoner and his social milieu.

Paul Bjerk

My work broadly looks at postcolonial politics in Tanzania, with Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere as a constant reference point. While Nyerere was a committed socialist, he avoided the label of communism, and in fact defined his own theory of “African Socialism” which eschewed Marx’s presumption of class conflict. As Nyerere navigated the Cold War he generally avoided interaction with the Soviet Union, and cultivated his closest relationship in the Eastern Bloc with the outlier Yugoslavia and its independent-minded leader Josip Broz Tito. Observers have often portrayed Nyerere as successfully “playing” East against West in his pursuit of Tanzania’s interest, but that portrayal is more of a hunch than a thesis. In addition to robust engagement of the African scene, Nyerere was continually engaged with Western powers, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, in frank conversations and thoughtful correspondence. But less is known about the nature of his engagement of Eastern powers.

Catharine Franklin

My work deals indigenous peoples and the United States Army in the American West after the Civil War. I seek to move the story of native-white relations past the familiar narrative of the “Indian Wars,” a flawed concept that distorts our understanding of the past. Contrary to popular belief, soldiers and Indians did more than fight one another. Pulled into the indigenous world, army officers on the Great Plains became part of native systems of reciprocity, complemented and fueled native violence, and supported native sovereignty in surprising ways. Indigenous communities remained dynamic and powerful even when under attack; as a result, the army’s success in the West was often local, contingent, and limited.

Randy McBee

My new book project is a collaborative history of humor and the Vietnam War that explores the period of direct U. S. involvement through the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without question, the Vietnam War is not generally associated with humor but rather unprecedented conflict during what can only be described as one of the most turbulent periods in U.S. history. But scholars have increasingly recognized the value of humor for studying social relationships and power. The postwar years in particular have been viewed as the exact moment when the political and comic stages began to intersect and just as the war in Vietnam was expanding. During this period humor was becoming a sign of flexibility and compromise and was linked specifically to liberal democracies. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, this understanding of humor and politics not only led politicians to highlight their own sense of humor but also cast our communist adversaries in Europe and in the East as humorless.

Narissra Punyanunt-Carter

My research deals with Interpersonal Communication and satisfaction. I am interested in understanding how people can communicate in order to achieve peace and resolve conflict. I am interested in studying how conflict affects our bodies physiologically, particularly in terms of cortisol levels, which is a new area in my discipline.

Rick Rosen

Professor Rosen joined the faculty after completing a distinguished career as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U. S. Army. He was a litigator for a Miami law firm for several years before joining the Army as a judge advocate. Before retiring from the military, Professor Rosen was Commandant of the Judge Advocate General's School, U.S. Army in Charlottesville, VA, where he commanded the Army's ABA-recognized law school. Other military positions held by Professor Rosen include Staff Judge Advocate of the III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, TX; Chief of Personnel, Plans and Training, The Pentagon, Washington, DC; Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC; Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Pentagon, Washington, DC; and Staff Judge Advocate of the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX

Julie Willett

My work aims to uncover a hidden history of humor in the context of peace and conflict that begins most visibly in 1960s and 70s, a moment when the comic and political stage began to overlap in the American popular imagination. I argue that historians have read the public archives with too straight of a lens and missed the ways in which humor and power are inextricably bound to unexamined narratives. For example, comedy became so important for political leaders and movements surrounding the Vietnam War that even the least funny political figures attempted to show a measure of self-deprecation. Scholars have argued that in the 20th century a sense of humor increasingly was attached to a democratic ethos and political flexibility. Regardless of whether you were on the left or the right, those who have failed at humor often appear flat or one-dimensional, a moralizing trope and the butt of the joke. This struggle over the comic/political stage has become even more visible in the post 9/11 era. We live in an age of fear and anxiety but also an age of satire in which humor is not simply a measure of relief that reaffirms the status quo, but a tool for social justice and re-imagination.