Chris Rominger is in his second year of the Ph.D. History Program. A graduate of Middlebury College and native of Brooklyn, NY, he served as associate director of the Arab American Association of New York for three years before beginning at the CUNY Graduate Center. Chris’s interests include religious and social aspects of national and reform movements in the Arab world, particularly at the turn of the twentieth century. He is currently in Tunisia (2012–2013), building his Arabic language skills and conducting research on the experience of Tunisian veterans of World War One.
My experience as a recipient of the Mellon Doctoral Student Fellowship has been eye-opening and inspiring. Through the fellowship, I have had the opportunity to engage with a diverse and dynamic group of scholars in the Graduate Center’s Committee for the Study of Religion. Between our weekly seminars and numerous lectures and conferences each semester, I have been exposed to the benefits of thinking beyond the scope of traditional history. The committee’s interdisciplinary approach has encouraged me to think about my academic interests and research in completely new ways, through lectures and conferences as well as through less formal but equally enlightening gatherings with scholars I may not have otherwise been introduced to. The funding provided by the Mellon Fellowship has also made it easier for me to dedicate time to my own research, which can be so difficult to pursue at such an early stage in a doctoral program. The group of scholars I’ve been introduced to through the Committee for the Study of Religion act as an honest and supportive feedback network that I can trust to provide thorough and novel ideas – and they always keep me on my toes. The Mellon Fellowship has given me the extra boost I need to stay on the cutting edge of my field, while giving me access to an intimate circle of scholars with whom I can work most comfortably and honestly.