Matthew Bowser
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My Story

As a double major in history and classics, Matthew graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with the Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.), a degree with a thesis and a defense. He entered Northeastern University in 2015 to pursue his PhD in World History.

Here is Matthew’s Northeastern story…


My Path
Northeastern University/ Eric Winter
Why World History?

Matthew’s interest in history grew out of a desire to fundamentally understand how human societies work by studying the big trends, movements, connections, networks, and revolutions of the global past. This larger perspective on history grew out of his undergraduate experience with Professor Patrick Manning, who founded the World History program at Northeastern before taking a position at Pittsburgh.

Being one of only a few graduate programs in World History offered in the United States, Northeastern provided the ability for Matthew to explore his interests in globalization and the interconnected forces of global imperialism, capitalism, colonialism and postcolonialism, race, class, gender, and social structures.

Transformative Coursework

His three major academic fields for PhD Candidacy are: British empire & the world, Myanmar & Southeast Asia, and global Islam. Three key courses which cultivated his understanding of research methods and some of the various themes in the historiography were:

  • HIST 7314: Research Seminar in the British Empire
  • HIST 7323: Research Seminar in Modern Colonialism
  • HIST 7221: Race, Space, and Nature
Northeastern University / Mary Knox Merrill

Matthew found an advisor in Professor Heather Streets-Salter, a distinguished scholar of the British Empire as well as colonialism and imperialism.

Under her mentorship, he is currently working on refining his dissertation topic, which centers on discerning the origins of Muslim persecution and anti-immigrant nationalism in Burma, a humanitarian crisis that began during the British colonial period and continues to the present day.

Professional Development

At Northeastern, Matthew found an atmosphere committed to providing opportunities for gaining professional experience, including Teaching Assistant (TA) assignments every semester ranging from the colonial Americas to Russian Civilization.

The department and the faculty are very supportive in providing and finding grant funding to pursue his archival research from London to Rangoon.

Matt and colleagues at the Pomepii ruins
Matt outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Campus Involvement

He worked as a teacher for a study abroad program in Italy and Greece the summer of 2016, and he currently serves as an organizer in Northeastern’s graduate student history conference as well as Senator in the Graduate Student Government.

“Opportunities abound at Northeastern. One of the professors I served as TA for offered that I take his place on study abroad company Abbey Road’s Western Civilization program in July 2016. I and another teacher led twenty students across Europe, visiting Athens, Rome, Florence, and Paris in an immersive teaching and learning experience. I will certainly never forget the experience, and the professional development it offered was priceless.”

Next Steps

In the process of completing his dissertation, Matthew will be presenting his research at conferences, publishing journal articles, and teaching his own courses as a senior graduate lecturer. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a career in academia as a teacher and researcher of history.

Northeastern University
This was Matthew's Northeastern Pathway... Where will yours lead?

Learn more at:

Department of History