Erin A. Chávez, a doctoral student in the Department of History at Stony Brook University, has been chosen as a 2021-2022 Cold War Archives Research (CWAR) Institute Fellow. She is one of only 16 fellows selected from more than 100 applicants.
The fellowship, sponsored by the Wilson Center, includes bi-monthly Zoom lectures and panels on archival and primary source research methodologies and research workshops. Invited speakers may include archivists from the U.S. government, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations; historians working in the fields of Cold War history, diplomatic history, and international history; and experts on specialized topics such as the Freedom of Information Act, conducting oral history interviews, and digital research tools. The fellowship culminates in a fully funded 10-day trip to Budapest in May-June 2022 to visit two different archives and attend a Cold War History conference.
Chávez studies the transnational history of science in the early postwar period. Her work explores how the atomic bomb transformed the postwar relationships among scientists, society, and the government and turned science into a principal site of investment, national pride, and competition. Her current research examines the ways Cold War geopolitics affected transnational scientific communities’ production and communication of scientific knowledge, scientists’ ethics, and the formation of local biopolitical agendas that included eugenic and genetic programs for population ‘improvement’ and ‘control’ during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
“I am honored to have been chosen for this incredible opportunity to learn from, and collaborate with, other Cold War scholars,” said Chávez. “This program will help me to develop my archival research skills and also enables me to travel to Budapest to visit archives that are important for my current research. What I learn through the program, and the connections I will make, will surely aid in my continuing development as a scholar.”
“Erin Chávez’s fellowship from the Wilson Center attests not only to her tremendous potential as a scholar but also to the work of her advisors and the Department of History’s graduate program that so fosters ambitious interdisciplinary thinking,” said Paul Gootenberg, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of History.
“The Cold War Archives Research Institute Fellowship will allow Erin Chávez to develop her promising research by exchanging ideas and collaborating with established authorities and fellow upcoming scholars on topics of shared interest,” said Eric Beverley, associate professor and graduate program director, Department of History. “This kind of international intellectual engagement is critical to advancing scholarship in the Department of History and the University as a whole.”
The CWAR Institute uses innovative and collaborative approaches to train next-generation Cold War historians in archival research methodologies, with two goals: to stimulate original scholarship on the interplay between soft and hard power in the cold and hot wars between 1945 and 1991; and to demonstrate the power of cooperative scholarship through innovative archival practices.