3 Questions with Jesús G. Ruiz
Jesús G. Ruiz is a 2020-2021 ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University.
What excites you about your research?
I think that having the opportunity to provide a fresh approach to one of the most important events in world history - the Haitian Revolution - while frankly intimidating, is also extremely exciting. I'm also very enthused by the prospect of fashioning a political history of the Revolution that may upset conventional teleologies of nation-state history by questioning simple understandings of black revolutionary action that assume a straightforward trajectory toward modern citizenship.
Has the current pandemic impacted your research? If so, how, and what has been your workaround?
I've been very lucky that I'm in a transition phase in which my family and I just made the move down to Nashville from New York City after having finished my Ph.D. in May - so I've been very fortunate to having a couple of "quiet" (I'm a new father to a 15-month-old) months of no research. With that said, having no institutional affiliation over the summer made it difficult to get my hands on books that I've needed to catch up on, so my affiliations with both Duke and Vanderbilt are a very welcome development.
What advice would you give scholars who are interested in postdoctoral fellowships?
Take bold initiative. Some postdocs require nominations from your Dean, so I immediately emailed both my departmental graduate advisor and dissertation chair in order to get them to speak to the Dean on my behalf. Also, re-read and re-write your cover letter and teaching statements as much as possible, always making sure that you have various sets of eyes from colleagues taking a look at what you write. I personally like to have colleagues from a couple of different disciplines take a look at my documents since I find their varying perspectives helpful when thinking about the 'big picture' of my work.