Corban, Robert

Field: Modern Europe; Advisor: de Grazia; Year: 2015

Robert Corban is a doctoral student in the Department of History at Columbia. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Robert received his Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Sociology from the University of Mississippi in 2013. There he was awarded distinction for the honors thesis that he wrote about Sicilian agriculture and the political economy of Italian unification.

Robert conducted research on similar topics as a graduate student in modern European history at Syracuse University, where he completed a Master of Arts degree in 2015. With support from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Robert worked in several state, city and private archives around the Po Valley, reading and writing about Benito Mussolini’s ‘Battle for Grain’ and the broad range of agricultural programs introduced by the dictatorship in that particular region of the Italian peninsula.

Robert aims to develop his dissertation along these lines as he continues forward at Columbia, with an eye toward the ways that the ‘Battle for Grain’ and other efforts to influence the international market for wheat figured in the political economy of the Axis Alliance in the period between the Great Depression and the Second World War.


During his tenure at Columbia, Robert has also worked as a AHA-Mellon Research Associate at the New York Botanical Garden and a member of the Environmental Sciences and Humanities Research Cluster in the Center for Science and Society at Columbia. Robert also serves as the Rapporteur of the University Seminar in Economic History. His contact information and curriculum vitae can be found in full on