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Jared Asser

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Graduate Student

Jared is a PhD student who has worked on the music produced by the 1920s Ku Klux Klan and is transitioning into the history of emotion. While at the University of Georgia he is interested in using the conceptual tools of emotions history to re-interpret the Reconstruction period. Believing that emotions are both culturally conditioned and central to politics, his research focuses on moments of political crisis and how emotion influenced the outcome of those crises. At present his dissertation is framed around four inter-related crises spanning the period. This research interest includes the state-level problems that shaped the period, but also the quotidian issues influencing the lives of ordinary people. Originally focused on the states with the longest-lasting Reconstruction governments (Louisiana and South Carolina), he has recently expanded his focus to include Virginia and Georgia, in an effort to present a comprehensive regional picture.

Prior to arriving at UGA, he studied at Carleton University and Trent University (both in Canada). As a Canadian he apologizes in advance for constantly saying "sorry."

He has presented research at the University of London SOAS, University of Michigan, the University of Mississippi, LSU, and Trent University. He was scheduled to present a sound studies paper at McGill University, but this event was cancelled due to Covid-19. He is currently reviewing books for Labour/Le Travail and H-Socialisms and he has also reviewed for Sound Studies, American Nineteenth Century HistoryThe West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, Emotions: History, Culture, Society, and H-Net.

Jared passed his comprehensive exams (fields in Southern U.S. History, Cultural History, and Public History) on 5/18/23 and at present he is writing his dissertation prospectus, revising a Sound Studies book chatper, and preparing a conference paper on the process by which white Southerners chose to embrace the feeling of hatred (and its politics) in the years leading up to the election of 1872. This paper will function as a test-draft of a dissertation chapter.

Research Interests:

As stated above, Jared works in several overlapping areas of study. During his M.A. his research combined an interest in the development of far-right politics (in 2020 he led a reading group on a related topic for H-Nationalism) and an interest in Sound Studies, producing his Masters thesis "Hearing the Invisible Empire: Music and Hatred in Progressive Era Indiana," one of the first studies of the music produced by the 1920s Ku Klux Klan. This work argued that music was fundamental to Klansmen's ability to appropriate and transform religious practises, using these to recruit new members and effect wider social/political change.

More recently, his dissertation research uses the tools of emotions history to re-interpret the Reconstruction period. Part of this research is an attempt to understand the role that emotion plays in several levels of the political process. It is his hope that this research will contribute to our collective understanding of politics and political polarization in the present.

But another aspect of this research contributes to his broader intellectual project. Building on the work of Michel Foucault, he is interested in understanding the deepest parts of an individual's being, the "esprit" as Foucault calls it, and to what extent institutions of power may (or may not) hold sway over these intimate spaces of emotions and self.


MA, Trent University, History, 2020

BA Honours, Carleton University, History & Music, 2016

Major Professor

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