Congratulations to Katie Wilson, Senior Graduate Academic Degree Program Coordinator, on receiving the Laney Graduate School’s Outstanding Program Administrator in the Humanities Award. 2022 is the inaugural year for the award. The faculty, staff, and students of the History Department are delighted that Wilson has received this recognition for her 11 years of outstanding work in the Department.
Dr. Adriana Chira, Assistant Professor of History, has been awarded two external grants to support work on her new project, “In the Plantations’ Shadow: Black Peasants and Land Claims in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spanish Equatorial Guinea, 1850-1950.” Chira received an NEH Summer Stipend for this coming summer and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University for AY 2022-23 to work on the same project. Chira’s first book, Patchwork Freedoms: Law, Slavery, and Race Beyond Cuba’s Plantations, was published by Cambridge earlier this year. Congratulations, Professor Chira!
Congratulations to Emory History major Alex Levine, who has won the George P. Cuttino Prize in European history. The Prize is given to the graduating senior with the best record in European History. Levin will teach English in Greenland next year on a Fulbright.
Levine notes that Dr. Brian Vick has been an extremely important, intellectually stimulating, and caring mentor. Dr. Tonio Andrade and Dr. Teresa Davis have also been valuable mentors and role models. The encouragement of these three professors has been very meaningful to Alex. Among the most influential classes he took were Dr. Andrade’s “China & the World” colloquium, which has helped him better conceptualize the modern “West,” and Dr. Tehila Sasson’s graduate course, “After Empire.”
This prize was established in 1984 to honor Professor George P. Cuttino on the occasion of his retirement after thirty-two years’ service in the Department of History.
The award will be officially presented at the department’s Senior Celebration on Wednesday, April 27.
Four History majors were recently initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Emory. They are: Hannah Charak, Ayriel Coleman, Ben Levitt, and Channelle Russell. They were among just 35 Emory seniors inducted into the organization. Phi Beta Kappa’s Gamma Chapter of Georgia was established at Emory University on April 5th, 1929. Congratulations!
The Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia at Emory recently recognized four History Department faculty members for excellence in teaching. The faculty members are:
- Adriana Chira, Assistant Professor
- Judith Miller, Associate Professor
- Maria R. Montalvo, Assistant Professor
- Chris Suh, Assistant Professor
The faculty members were recognized at the spring initiation ceremony on April 14, 2022.
In February of this year the U.S. Congress confirmed Professor Hank Klibanoff to the Federal Civil Rights Cold Case Review Board. The board has been charged with processing records of racially-motivated crimes from 1940-’79 that remain unsolved. A recent article from the Courthouse News Service provides an overview of the board’s work and discusses the time crunch the four-member team is under. As the 2019 law that sanctioned the establishment of the board was written, the work must be completed within four years. Klibanoff and other board members have yet to be sworn in, however, a delay that will pose serious challenges for the commission’s efforts. Klibanoff is James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read more via this article: “Newly formed board to review Civil Rights-era cold cases faces time crunch.“
Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research, on receiving the 2022 Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor Award. Named for an extraordinary Emory faculty member, mentory, and leader, the Main award has the following aims: to recognize outstanding faculty who are engaged in the Emory/LGS community and academic or professional communities related to their discipline through mentorship; to legitimize the importance of mentoring of graduate students within the larger context of graduate education; and to foster mentoring of the highest quality. Lesser’s nomination was supported by faculty in multiple programs across campus as well as PhD program alumni, who cited him as an inspiring mentor of graduate students. The award will be presented at the 2022 commencement ceremony.
Congratulations to Dr. Matthew J. Payne, Associate Professor of History, on winning the 2022 Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. This award was established by Emory Williams, a 1932 Emory College alumnus and long-time trustee, and recognizes faculty who strive for excellence in teaching, curriculum development, pedagogy, and educational innovation. The award recognizes faculty members who teach undergraduate students at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta Business School, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Oxford College. Dr. Payne has excelled in fostering participation, inquiry, and creative expression in the classroom, exemplified the highest quality of teaching scholarship through teaching and mentoring students, retained a continual record of outstanding accomplishment and ongoing commitment to teaching, and made significant contributions that impact and advance Emory. Payne will be recognized at the 2022 Commencement ceremony.
Dr. Danielle Lee Wiggins, Assistant Professor at the California Institute of Technology and a 2018 graduate of the PhD program, has won a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Wiggins is one of sixty scholars nationwide selected for the prestigious ACLS Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The fellowship will support Wiggins’s work on her current manuscript project, titled “The Politics of Black Excellence: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Black Politics.” Jimmy Carter Professor of History Dr. Joseph Crespino served as Wiggins’s advisor at Emory. Read the abstract of Wiggins’s project below.
“This project examines how black political leaders in Atlanta in the 1970s and 1980s managed three challenges associated with the postindustrial urban crisis—crime, family instability, and joblessness— with what this project calls the ‘politics of black excellence.’ This approach entailed the expansion of existing practices of racial uplift into the realm of policy. Adherents sought to discipline black people with policies purported to fortify black communities against the internal threat of ‘black-on-black’ crime, restore the black nuclear family, and cultivate diligent black workers. This study argues that in proposing reform of the self, the family, and black communities as solutions to structural crises, Atlanta’s black political class innovated new modes of black politics and Democratic governance.“
Dr. Andrew G. Britt, Assistant Professor at the UNC School of the Arts and a 2018 alumnus of the graduate program, served as a dramaturg over the 2021-’22 academic year for a UNCSA play focused on Brazilian waste pickers (catadores). Titled Mother Tongue, the production was conceived of and directed by Marina Zurita, a fourth-year student in UNCSA’s top-ranked drama program. That play was a devised piece, meaning that Zurita and the cast collectively produced the play’s central narrative together. Interviews that Zurita conducted with catadores in her native city of São Paulo served as the raw material for the devising process. Britt provided support to Zurita throughout the research process and to the director and cast while they devised the narrative, including by offering short courses on Brazilian history and culture and organizing virtual conversations with other Brazilian scholars. Check out the dramaturg’s note that Britt composed below for the show’s program and read more about Mother Tongue here: “‘Mother Tongue’ is first devised theater production at UNCSA by a student.”
Every day throughout Brazil, hundreds of thousands of pickers, or catadores in Portuguese, comb through the solid materials either discarded by the country’s more than 210 million residents or exported to Brazil from other nations. Pickers collect paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and other metals, frequently amid
hazardous environmental conditions. They transport these materials to processing facilities, sort and organize them and resell them to companies who utilize them to produce new goods.
Without the informal labor of this fleet of green-collar workers, millions of tons of recyclable materials would end up in landfills. Though not formally employed by Brazilian public institutions like municipal governments, pickers perform an essential public service. Some estimates hold that pickers contribute to the processing of 90% of Brazil’s recycled materials. Other countries throughout the world, especially those in the Global South, similarly depend on pickers for recycling streams and waste management. Even New York City has its own cadre of between 8,000-10,000 pickers, known locally as canners, who scour
city streets for reusable material.
While pickers perform essential labor worldwide, their work has long been unrecognized by government officials and stigmatized by society at large. This dynamic has begun to shift in recent years, however. Over the last three decades, coalitions of pickers in countries like Brazil and Colombia have led effective movements for greater rights and recognition. Brazilian federal law now grants pickers some protections and benefits as laborers, and Brazilian cities are now officially incentivized to coordinate with pickers in their waste management programs. The inclusion of pickers in state-coordinated recycling streams in Brazil has influenced public policy in other countries. The grassroots movement that brought about these changes has deep roots in the city of São Paulo at a local picker-led recycling cooperative where materials are sorted and sold. Some of the stories in “Mother Tongue” were inspired by the workers at this cooperative.
Even as the labor of pickers has become more recognized, the lives of pickers themselves remains shrouded in stigma and prejudice. With “Mother Tongue,” we invite audiences to cross these barriers of misunderstanding and connect with the inner and outer lives of these essential workers.