A writer, professor, historian, and native New Yorker, professor Nora Slonimsky, Ph.D. has achieved national recognition for her impressive achievements in her respective field of early American studies. As a Gardiner assistant professor of history at Iona, she has chosen to focus her approach in a more interdisciplinary way. Nora has an exceptional and diverse academic background including an undergraduate degree in English literature and rhetoric, along with history from State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton; and a masters in American studies, and a Ph.D. in United States history from Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). As a fellow, she spent a year at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Broadly speaking, she studies the origins and development of intellectual property in America.
“Studying copyright specifically allows me to pursue a lot of different archival and theoretical approaches to my writing, and I especially enjoy using the digital humanities whenever possible. Studying copyright also allows me to time hop, so to speak, and think about the ways the foundation of what we now call intellectual property – copyrights, patents, trade secrets, trademarks – influences our political and commercial systems today. The history of media, and how we decide who owns what seems especially timely to me at this moment.”
Now the Director of the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies (ITPS) at Iona College, Nora recalls her excitement during the interview process at Iona, “I was drawn to the opportunity of being both in the classroom and in the public history sphere, and to be given the tools to expand the reputation and resources of the ITPS within an expansive community for students, around Iona College and New Rochelle, and across academic disciplines.” She feels a sense of pride in making a real contribution to the college and to the wider study of early American history by focusing on public-facing initiatives from launching archival fellowships and research projects with the Thomas Paine National Historical Association (TPNHA) collection to other outlets for the digital humanities.
Her manuscript, The Engine of Free Expression: Copyrighting Nation in Early America, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania press, thanks to Nora winning the ‘best book not yet publish’ award from The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). This honor offers her a prominent platform for people to learn about her work and a publishing contract with University of Pennsylvania Press. Additionally, she was a finalist for the Zuckerman Prize in American Studies, for the best dissertation connecting American history with literature and/or art. Nora just wrapped up leading a three-day ITPS conference that was hosted at Iona and is now looking forward to getting her book published.
“Now that I’m here, the support from my colleagues, especially those in the history department, the library, and the provost’s office, has been so inspiring and wonderful. I truly appreciate the support for both my development as a teacher and a writer and for the different initiatives I’ve been involved with at the ITPS.”