SHEAR Elected Leadership Spotlights: Meet Your SHEAR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee consists of six elected voting members, all serving overlapping three-year terms, and two ex-officio members appointed by the President to serve a one-year term. One of the ex-officio members will be the graduate student representative. One third of the voting members are elected by ballot each year with nominations for the ballot determined by the Nominating Committee. During their final year, the two concurrently elected members will act as co-chairs. Members of the DEI committee may not serve concurrently on the Advisory Council or the Nominating Committee.

The duties of the DEI Committee currently include:

  • Maintaining regular communication with the Advisory Council, Nominating Committee, and Program Committee and assisting each with their efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Administering and maintaining organizational self-studies and report findings to the Advisory Council.
  • Advising and assisting the Executive Committee, the Advisory Council, and the Journal of the Early Republic Editors on issues and policies that ensure the ideas and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion within SHEAR.

Newly Elected Members

Mark Boonshoft, Virginia Military Institute

I am Associate Professor and the Conrad M. Hall ’65 Chair in American Constitutional History at Virginia Military Institute. My scholarship has focused on schooling, power, and civil rights; this includes my book Aristocratic Education and the Making of the American Republic (Chapel Hill, 2020) and an article published in the Fall 2020 issue of the JER. I am currently working on a second book project about slavery, violence, and constitution making in revolutionary New York. SHEAR has been my scholarly home since I first attended the conference in 2010. I joined the SHEAR DEI Committee because I think I have some useful experience to bring to bear. Prior to my current appointment, I was the Executive Director of another scholarly society. That know-how should allow me to help the Committee move its agenda through the SHEAR institutional structure, a structure that has marginalized colleagues and produced inequities the Society now aims to ameliorate. I have also spent much of my career at predominantly white institutions, where I have worked to diversify curricula and foster more inclusive cultures.

Headshot of Rebecca BrannonRebecca Brannon, James Madison University

Award winning scholar and accomplished public presenter on and off screen. Bubbly history enthusiast with a wicked sense of humor. Faculty at James Madison University. My academic research focuses on eighteenth-century American history and is concerned with broad questions about the American Revolution and its consequences.  I have a ‘strange predilection’ for history’s underdogs. I write about American Loyalists who lost, and were then forgotten in their own country despite making it a stronger nation. I write about people dealing with aging, even when it made them and those around them uncomfortable. Join me in considering questions often forgotten—yet revealing.

Headshot of Jerrad P. PacatteJerrad P. Pacatte, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Rutgers University-New Brunswick

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. My research and teaching interests examine African American women’s history, early America, and the history of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World. I am currently finishing my dissertation which is a social and economic history of enslaved and freed Black women’s lives and labors in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century New England. I live with my partner and four cats in Providence, Rhode Island.

My research has received financial support from a number of cultural institutions. In 2020, I was awarded a New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellowship by the Massachusetts Historical Society and a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Research Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society. In the summer of 2022, I was honored to be an inaugural African Americas Long Term Research Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

As a public historian and history educator, I am committed to democratizing access to the past. I also believe it is imperative that as historians we elevate the voices of individuals whose stories have been previously relegated to the margins of history. I am honored to serve as the Graduate Student Representative on SHEAR’s D/E/I Committee in 2022-2023. I look forward to collaborating with other members of the committee to ensure that our organization, and the larger history profession, continues the much needed work of creating and sustaining an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive intellectual community for all.

Second Year Members

Headshot of Erin BartramErin Bartram, Editor and President of Board of Directors for Contingent Magazine and School Programs Coordinator at The Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT

Erin (@erin_bartram) is an editor for Contingent and president of the magazine’s board of directors. She’s also School Programs Coordinator at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford. Erin earned a PhD in 2015 from the University of Connecticut, where she studied 19th-century US history with a focus on women, religion, and ideas. You can find links to her writing on history, pedagogy, and higher ed at her website,

Headshot of Julia LewandoskiJulia Lewandoski, Cal State University, San Marcos

I am an assistant professor of History at California State University San Marcos. My research explores how Indigenous nations used property ownership to survive colonization by multiple empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I was honored to receive the 2019 SHEAR Dissertation Prize this summer, and I am excited to serve on SHEAR’s D/E/I committee. I’m passionate about making early American history spaces more welcoming to Indigenous scholars and promoting deeper engagement with NAIS methodologies and research, and I’m excited to further that work at SHEAR.

Third Year Members/Co-Chairs

Headshot of Ron JohnsonRonald Angelo Johnson, Baylor University

I am Ronald Angelo Johnson (SHEARites call me Ron!). I hold the Ralph and Bessie Mae Lynn Chair of History at Baylor University. My research embraces a transnational approach to African American history in the early United States, with specializations in diplomacy, race, and religion. I wanted to serve our organization because I have found an intellectual and emotional home within the SHEAR community. From my first SHEAR conference as a graduate student, colleagues across SHEAR have welcomed, mentored, and championed my ideas and my career. I consider it a privilege to share with others the collegiality and friendship SHEARites have so freely given me. Also, as an African American male scholar, it’s important for me to encourage junior scholars and graduate students of color to study the early American republic. Their voices can help to tell new and enlarged stories of a period we all love so much!

Headshot of Ryan QuintanaRyan Quintana, Wellesley College

I’m an Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College and my current research examines the everyday governing practices of abolition in the greater Anglo-American world. My first book, Making a Slave State: Political Development in Early South Carolina, sought to understand the central role that enslaved people played in the production of the modern state. Many of the ideas for that project were nurtured in panel discussions and dinner conversations at various SHEAR conferences over the years. I was introduced to SHEAR by my mentor, Jeanne Boydston, and my first presentation at the conference was a memorial panel in her honor. Jeanne didn’t just teach me how to think about the early Republic, but also created an environment of inclusivity and openness at Wisconsin where my colleagues and I could feel at home, even as she challenged us to re-imagine how we studied the past. I have sought to follow Jeanne’s example at Wellesley, working closely with students to create space for curiosity and exploration, particularly amongst First Gen and Latinx students. I look forward to continuing that work on the D/E/I Committee in service to the next generation of historians

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