Welcome New Faculty

The Department of History is excited to welcome three new faculty members – Khaled Esseissah, Michael Martoccio, and Jorell Meléndez-Badillo!

Khlaed EsseissahKhaled Esseissah joins us as a historian of Islam, colonialism, slavery, race, and gender, with a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century West Africa. Professor Esseissah is currently working on his book manuscript, Emancipation, Authority, and Global Muslim Citizenship: Harāṭīn Reformist Intermediaries in Colonial Mauritania, 1902-1960, which considers the important religious and civic contributions of the Harāṭīn peoples of Mauritania under French colonial rule, a group that has historically been assumed to be oppressed and structurally limited in their abilities to alter their circumstances.

“As a research scholar who is also a member of this community, I reconstruct the biographies of Harāṭīn men and women who went from being oppressed by the local Muslim elites to playing a decisive role in the making of the French colony in Mauritania. They became Muslim authorities, demanding social and religious equality with the Bīẓān or Moors (a mix of Arab and Berber communities who define themselves as “white”) during the colonial period (1902 through 1960).”

Michael MartoccioMichael Martoccio joins us as an economic and military historian of the early modern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on Italy. Professor Martoccio’s monograph, Leviathan for Sale, which is under contract with Oxford University Press, examines for the first time the market for city-states: the practice of Renaissance Italian cities buying and selling neighboring towns within Italy and across the Mediterranean.

“I am currently at the beginning stages of my second book titled Theater of Mars: Building the Business of War in Genoa, 1684-1797. Merging urban history with military history, this book shows how the Genoese altered the city’s docks, walls, gates, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, stables, and the Jewish ghetto to better structure, formalize, and routinize the business of war in the city. In this way, Theater of Mars offers a new urban military history that reveals the multi-dimensional effects of war on built environments.”

Jorell Meléndez-Badillo Jorell Meléndez-Badillo joins us as a historian of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Latin America, with his work focusing on the global circulation for radical ideas from the standpoint of working-class intellectual communities. Professor Meléndez-Badillo’s most recent book, The Lettered Barriada: Workers, Archival Power, and the Politics of Knowledge in Puerto Rico (Duke University Press, Nov. 2021), tells the story of how a cluster of self-educated workingmen were able to go from producing knowledge within their workshops and labor unions in the margins of Puerto Rico’s cultural and intellectual elite, to becoming highly respected politicians and statesmen.

“I have published book chapters, as well as journal and newspaper articles on the histories of anarchism, labor, and radical politics in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. My work has appeared in Hispanic American Historical ReviewCaribbean StudiesLatin American PerspectivesNACLAInternational Labor and Working Class HistorySociety and Space, and The Abusable Past, among others.”