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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Current Fellows

Through its fellowship programs, the Starr Center supports innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to the American past – especially by fostering the art of written history.

Patrick Henry Writing Fellow

Benjamin H. Irvin will take residence in Chestertown as the 2015-16 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. Irwin’s work as a social and cultural historian focuses primarily on the Revolutionary period. During his yearlong fellowship at the Starr Center, he will work to complete his new book, tentatively entitled I Still Have an Independent Spirit, exploring the topics of masculinity, disability, class, and citizenship among veterans of the Revolutionary War.

Dr. Irvin comes to us from The University of Arizona, where his course offerings have included “The Era of the American Revolution,” and “Manhood and Masculinity in the United States.” He will teach a course in the spring semester of this year as part of his Washington College residency.  

His first book, Clothed in the Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors (Oxford University Press, 2011), was a finalist for the 2012 George Washington Book Prize. An examination of material culture and ceremonies of state used by Congress to promote armed resistance and independence among the populace, it was described by Jim Cullen of the History News Network as “a carefully researched and elegantly executed book.” Another of Irvin’s publications is a book for young people, Samuel Adams: Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2002),tracing the life of Samuel Adams.

To see Dr. Irvin’s presentation on Invalids and Independence at Charlottesville, VA City Council Chambers, please follow this link.

Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellow

Jeffrey Thomson has been awarded the 2014-2015 Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship. As professor of Creative Writing at the University of Maine Farmington, Thomson directs the Creative Writing Program and teaches poetry writing and contemporary literature.  Thomson’s fellowship project, “Self-Portrait in Nine Generations,” is a full-length poetry manuscript in the alternating voices of his ancestors who emigrated to the U.S. from Scotland and Ireland in the late 1700s.  His time at the John Carter Brown Library will build on his previous Fulbright research at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, in Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Thomson is the author of six collections of poems including “Birdwatching in Wartime,” winner of both the 2010 Maine Literary Award for Poetry and the 2011 ASLE Award in Environmental Creative Writing, a bilingual chapbook Disarmed / Inermes, and co-editor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great.  His translation of “The Complete Poems of Catullus” is coming out next year from Cambridge University Press.