Associate Professor of the History Laura Free and Associate Professor of English Nicola Minott-Ahl were recently granted tenure. Given the rank of associate professor, each was commended by the HWS Board of Trustees for their scholarly pursuits and dedication to the Colleges.
Free has been a member of HWS faculty since 2005, and has also taught as an instructor, tutor and teaching assistant at Cornell University. At the Colleges, Free offers such courses “History of Women in American, 1600-1980,” “Early American Republic, 1789-1846” and “Bugles, Belles, and Bloated Bodies: The Civil War in American Memory and Culture.”
Free graduated with a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College, and received her M.A. in women’s history from Binghamton University. Free earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University.
Much of Free’s work focuses on how race and gender shaped ideas in regards to voting rights in 19th century America. Currently, Free is working to complete a history on how gender-specific language became a part of the 14th Amendment, as well as a book manuscript, “Reconstructing Suffrage: Gender, Race, and the Fourteenth Amendment 1865-1868.”
The recipient of numerous grants, Free was awarded a HWS Faculty Research Grant and the Harry J. Brown and Ihlder Fellowships at Cornell University. She has presented her work at historical societies throughout the region, as well as national conferences including the American Studies Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Minott-Ahl has served as an HWS faculty member since 2004. Prior to joining the Colleges, she was a lecturer at Ithaca College and a teaching assistant at Cornell University. At HWS, Minott-Ahl teaches courses including “Victorian Poets,” “Gothic Novel,” “Jane Austen in Film” and “Dickens and His World.”
She earned a B.A. in English from the City College of New York, and went on to study at the City University of New York where she earned a M.A. in comparative literature, as well her certificate in medieval studies. She also holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the City University of New York.
In addition, Minott-Ahl’s current scholarly interests include Jane Austen studies, 19th century novel and gothic architecture. She is currently working on a book-length study, “The Architectural Novel: How William Ainsworth, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas Constructed the National Identities of 19th Century England and France.”
Minott-Ahl has presented papers at conferences around the world, including the Literary London Conference at the College of St. Mary in London, the Nineteenth Century Conference at the University of Leuven in Belgium, and the Conference of South Central MLA in Houston, Texas. She has also contributed to numerous publications and journals on the works of Jane Austen, Victor Hugo and William Harrison Ainsworth.