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May Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Sherry, '09

May Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Sherry, '09

Our final Alumni Spotlight for 2015-16 features Jonathan Sherry, a magna cum laude Honors Scholar from the class of 2009.  A history major with an emphasis on the Spanish Civil War, his Honors thesis was titled “The Power of Propaganda: Representations of Anarchism in the Spanish Revolution, 1936-1939.”  After leaving EKU, Jonathan earned an MA in European History at the University of Pittsburgh in April 2011.  He is expected to earn his Ph.D. in European History, also from the University of Pittsburgh, this summer.

Currently, Jonathan is a Visiting Fulbright Research Fellow with the “Grupo de Estudios sobre República y Democracia” (GERD) at the Unversitat Autònoma de Barcelona for the Fulbright Student Program, Institute for International Education (IIE).  He spent the first half of his Fulbright Fellowship in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands where he conducted archival research in the archive of Juan Negrín, the last Prime Minister of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War.  He is finishing his Ph.D. dissertation, which examines judicial politics, political trials, and Soviet intervention in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Some of Jonathan’s most outstanding professional achievements include: the George Watt Prize for Essays on the Spanish Civil War (2015), Andrew Mellon Dissertation Fellowship (2014-2015), Fulbright Research Fellowship (2015-2016), Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies Dissertation Fellowship (2013), and Council for European Studies Pre-Dissertation Fellowship (2012).  He was recently awarded the Council for European Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2016-17.  In addition, he has published several short scholarly pieces, as well as the full-length article, “Exporting Stalin’s Show Trial? Performing Justice in the Spanish Civil War” in Studies in Slavic Cultures, and the forthcoming book chapter in an edited volume entitled, “The Claws of Stalinism in Spain: Totalitarianism and the Spanish Civil War”.

Since his time at EKU, Jonathan has been a committed political activist everywhere he goes.  He enjoys traveling during his free time, including backpacking excursions in the Alps, the Carpathians, and several mountain ranges in Spain.  He also competes in endurance races, most recently finishing a triathlon on the Black Sea in Romania near Constanza.  He writes fictional short stories, plays guitar, piano and banjo, as well as writes, records, and produces his own music.

Favorite Honors Memory: “My favorite Honors memory is actually a collection of memories.  Basically anytime I was in the classroom with Dr. Bruce MacLaren.  Dr. MacLaren inspired me to be an engaged thinker and a driven researcher; above all else though, he encouraged in me a keen skepticism towards power and authority and a devotion to social justice, direct action, and activism.  These things have shaped my personal and professional life in profound ways.  Dr. Jennifer Spock was also instrumental in my development.  Finally, I also must say that without Dr. Robert “Bob” Topmiller, I would have never stayed with history and taken it as far as I have.  He will always be a model and an inspiration for me.  May he rest in peace.”

Advice for Current Honors Students: “Do not accept the neoliberal attack on your education.  Do not succumb to apathy or feelings of powerlessness before the seemingly endless cuts in education, the attacks on the study of liberal arts, and the growing educational gap between the rich and the poor.  Do not accept higher education as anything less than a fundamental human right.  Stand your ground and fight back!  Organize!  If the study of history shows anything, it is that real political and social change happens only when we recognize our differences as complementary strengths rather than weaknesses, only when we come together and collectively fight for a more egalitarian society.”

Our Alumni Spotlights will take their annual summer hiatus during June and July and will return in August.  Do you know someone we should spotlight?  Send suggestions, including contact information, to

Interested in reading about more of our featured alumni?  Visit the Alumni Spotlight Archive!

Are you an Honors Program alum?  Be sure to visit our Alumni page to stay connected with EKU Honors.

Published on April 27, 2016

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