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Jay Carroll


Jay Carroll is currently completing his Ph.D. in Modern European History at Northwestern University. His specialization field is in Modern Transatlantic Cultural History and his minor field is in Modern Russian History. He entered Northwestern with graduate degrees in Modern European History, American Cultural History, and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Cincinnati and Middle Tennessee State University. As noted by his broad geographic training, Jay is deeply interested in transnational and comparative history, cultural history, and interdisciplinary methods including feminist and queer theory.

His dissertation entitled “Cosmopolitanism Transformed: State intervention and the Legacy of the Ballets Russes from the Fin-de-Siecle to the Cold War” uses transnational and comparative methods and operates at the nexus of diplomatic history, international relations, cultural history, and dance studies to elucidate the relationship between politics and culture in reference to state funding of the arts. In particular, Jay examines and seeks to historicize a shift he notes in the aesthetic trajectory of twentieth-century ballet. His dissertation juxtaposes Serge Diaghilev’s cosmopolitan and market-based ballet company with state-representative companies from Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union to interrogate the effects that state funding and the instrumentalization of culture for political reasons via cultural diplomacy had upon the art form. From his research, Jay posits that there was an implicit international standard in dance diplomacy, the use of Russian ballet in cultural exchanges, and asserts that this suggests the presence of an “interstate taste community” that found this particular type of ballet to be politically expedient, relatively uncontroversial, and a much safer presentation of gender roles and sexual expression than the avant-garde productions of the Ballets Russes decades earlier. His dissertation committee is chaired by Professor Tessie Liu, and he is pleased to have the guidance of Professors John Bushnell, Michael Sherry, Susan Manning, and Nina Gurianova on the committee too.

In addition to his project on ballet, which is the culmination of nearly a decade of research, his other research interests include Cold War science fiction films, rugby and its intersections with the history of masculinity and class consciousness, the history of mental illness and its relationship to the study of masculinity, and the development of diasporas and their effects on urban and national culture.

Jay enjoys being in the classroom and being able to interacts with students. He has taught courses on the history of masculinity before, and looks forward to teaching a course on the Cultural Cold War in Summer 2017 and potentially implementing a 3 quarter sequence covering the cultural history of Russia from Peter the Great to the fall of the Soviet Union very soon. He has been a teaching assistant for many popular courses at Northwestern University, including Professor Peter Hayes’ History of the Holocaust, Professor Lane Fenrich’s US Gay and Lesbian History, and Professor Scott Sowerby’s Sex and Scandal in Early Modern England. He has also been an instructor or teaching assistant at his previous graduate institutions too. Furthermore, Jay has served as the coordinator for Northwestern’s History Writing Center and is continually invested in finding ways to help students in his courses adjust to the demands of humanities style writing.

Away from his academic life, Jay is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club in England and Real Madrid on the continent, which if you know their records demonstrates his patience and sense of loyalty!