Graduate student in history wins Fulbright Award

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Benjamin Pietrenka

Benjamin Pietrenka, a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of History, has been awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright IIE Research Fellowship.

He he will travel to Berlin, Halle, Herrnhut, and Göttingen, Germany for one year to conduct archival research for his dissertation project on a small group of early modern German Protestants called the Moravian Brethren.

Focusing on Moravian correspondence, personal diaries, spiritual memoirs, and poetic literature, Pietrenka will study how common Moravian believers facilitated a transatlantic sense of individual and collective identity, which consequently produced common understandings of race, gender, and sexuality that differed, often quite extensively, from both the religious and secular leaders of Moravian communities, Germans in Europe, and British colonists in North America and the Caribbean.

His critical engagement with the historical issues of social identity and religious radicalism will yield a deeper understanding of how marginalized ethnic and religious groups in America affect mainstream culture and adapt in spaces they consider foreign.