Congratulations to Doctor Kari Boyd, on winning the 2021 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Department of History nominated Boyd for the award based on the strength of her dissertation, entitled “Diseased, Disuse, and Disappointment: The Volunteer Experience During the Spanish-American War and the Modernization of the American Army (1898-1902).” She was selected from among the approximately fourteen doctoral-granting departments in the college.
Her dissertation, which was directed by Associate Dean and Professor Lisa Lindquist Dorr, explores the lives of these volunteers—their reasons for signing up, the trials they faced once they had joined, and the complicated stories of their war experience—to explain how the United States military was modernized after the war ended.
Boyd draws from detailed correspondence from these volunteers, portraying the daily life of soldiers whose experiences were far from the front lines. She found new and exciting narratives: a man whose family (coincidentally) founded her hometown, or a family whose correspondence from three different sons survived in separate archives that she had to painstakingly piece back together. In doing so, she immersed herself in the complex and very human lives of these soldiers, bringing to light their vital roles in shaping our military and our country more broadly.