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State Historical Society of Iowa

Two Iowa State University students named Iowa History Dissertation Fellows

Aug 15, 2022

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has named Michael Belding and Jesse Chariton of Iowa State University as its inaugural Iowa History Dissertation Fellows.

Belding and Chariton are graduate students in Iowa State University’s department of history. Each will receive $1,500 and present their work during a workshop next May in Des Moines. The Iowa History Dissertation Fellowship program is administered by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

“I am so delighted to welcome Michael and Jesse as our inaugural dissertation fellows. They represent some of the best of the next generation of Iowa historians,” said Andrew Klumpp, editor of The Annals of Iowa, the historical society’s flagship history journal. “Iowa’s history is filled with rich and colorful stories, and their work will help Iowans learn more about the people, places and points of pride that make our state what it is today.”

The program is open to advanced graduate students working on dissertations that have a substantial focus on Iowa history in any time period, from pre-statehood through the recent past. Preference is given to proposals that focus on neglected topics or new approaches to topics that are more familiar.

Belding’s dissertation is tentatively titled “The Making of King Corn, 1848-1877,” and his research specializes in the 19th century United States, as well as environmental, rural and Midwest history.

Chariton’s dissertation is titled “German-Speaking Freemasons in Nineteenth-Century Davenport,” and his areas of interest include the American Midwest, the 19th century United States, German and Irish immigration, and race, ethnicity and religion.

More information about the Iowa History Dissertation Fellowship program is available at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.