Author Archives: aprilmerleaux

About aprilmerleaux

I am an Assistant Professor of History at Florida International University. My research and teaching focuses on the 20th century United States in international context. My book, Sugar and Civilization: American Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness was published by UNC Press in 2015.

Why I Never Ask for a Draft Thesis Statement

This post is mostly for undergraduates, but also relevant for graduate students and those who teach writing & historical research. Others, read at your own risk! I enjoy teaching history research and writing and, over the years, I’ve developed a … Continue reading

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Why you should think twice before you read a book that’s more than 25 years old…

This is unsolicited advice for Ph.D. and M.A. students. Others can read at their own risk. Also note that this advice is fight-picking advice. My senior colleagues–especially the self-described curmudgeon who thinks that all historical scholarship has gone downhill since … Continue reading

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Dissertation Hobbies

During graduate school and dissertation writing I knitted something around 15 baby sweaters, 6 adult sweaters, 5 scarves, a dozen hats, 4 shrugs, at least 30 woolen slippers, and a captain underpants doll and a goldbug doll (from Richard Scarry). … Continue reading

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Dissertation Soundtrack

Right now I’m procrastinating. I am supposed to be writing a blog post on a different topic. I’m trying to procrastinate productively, which is why I’m writing this. Productive procrastination is a crucial technique for accomplishing things in the long … Continue reading

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Done with Sugar, Now for Weed!

My first rule of living in Florida: If Governor Rick Scott thinks it’s a good idea, I better take a second look. The Miami Herald yesterday reported that a judge has cleared the way for medical marijuana in Florida. The state will … Continue reading

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Considering a Comps Field with Me?

Here’s my approach to comps: I am happy to work with Ph.D. students doing comps fields in modern U.S. history, U.S. foreign relations, U.S. empire, U.S.-Latin American Relations, U.S./Latin American/European comparative, comparative race and ethnicity, immigration, environment, food, cultural studies, … Continue reading

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Tips on locating PRIMARY SOURCES

My Top Ten Library Subscription Databases New York Times Historical (1851-2008) Access World News: The World [good for recent Latin American newspapers (1990s onward), including titles from Mexico, Colombia, etc.,] Congressional (Lexis-Nexis Proquest) [Most Congressional publications are indexed here; a … Continue reading

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