Lowery Helps to Forge Relationships of Learning and Healing with Muscogee Nation

Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, Cahoon Family Professor of American History and a member of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, was one of fifteen Emory community members to travel earlier this year to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, to meet with members of the Muscogee Nation. Before the founding of Emory, Michelle Hiskey of the Emory News Center writes, the Muscogee “lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located.” The journey to Oklahoma was part of a broader Emory initiative, commissioned by President Fenves and co-led by Lowery, to memorialize Indigenous peoples who previously lived on land now owned by Emory, including through the development of “physical reminders and remembrance rituals on campus, such as a Muscogee (Creek) Language Path that highlights Muscogee language and knowledge.” Learn more about this endeavor, the Indigenous Language Path Working Group, on their website here. Also see the Emory News Center’s piece “In Oklahoma, Emory builds relationships with the Muscogee Nation,” which includes the quote from Lowery below.

“At Emory, we want to embrace a spirit of accountability,” said Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee), Emory College of Arts and Science’s Cahoon Family Professor of American History and co-chair of the Indigenous Language Path Working Group. “But frankly, we’re not sure how to do that without the direction of the Muscogee Nation.”

“Who was Atticus Finch?”: Crespino Offers Insights

Dr. Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of History, was featured in an Emory News Center piece centered on the question “Who was Atticus Finch?” In 2018, coinciding with the publication of Crespino’s most recent book, Atticus Finch: A Biography (Basic Books), Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library acquired a collection of correspondence and memorabilia from author Harper Lee. The correspondence within that collection shed light on the perceived discrepancies between Atticus Finch as represented in Lee’s famous novel To Kill and Mockingbird and the more recently-published Go Set a Watchman. Learn more about how Crespino’s research contributes to our understanding of this seminal character in U.S. literary history through the Emory News Center article as well as the video below.

Crespino discusses his research on Harper Lee and Atticus Finch.

Anderson Cited in ‘Salon’ Article on Links between Abortion, Racism, and Guns

Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African-American Studies, was cited in a Salon article examining the links between abortion, racism, and guns. The piece, “Abortion, racism and guns: How white supremacy unites the right,” was written by Tamara Kay and Susan L. Ostermann. Kay and Ostermann offer historical context for the Supreme Court’s overturning of the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, particularly how white supremacy shaped early abortion criminalization. They draw a direct parallel to the anti-Black dimensions of the Second Amendment, the topic of Anderson’s most recent book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America (Bloomsbury, 2021). Read an excerpt from the Salon piece citing Anderson below along with the full article here.

The Second Amendment also has white supremacist roots. When it was ratified in 1791, many states had laws to prevent enslaved and free Black people from possessing or bearing arms. Prior to the Civil War, Black people were targeted by armed slave patrols, and after the war and the failure of Reconstruction, Black Codes enacted across the Jim Crow South prohibited formerly enslaved people from possessing guns.  Carol Anderson, chair of African American Studies at Emory University and author of “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” argues that long after the abolition of slavery, the Second Amendment has been used against Black people: “(P)ervasive anti-Blackness, even after the civil rights movement, turned the Second Amendment’s law for protection — the castle doctrine, stand your ground and open carry — against African Americans.” She concludes that the Second Amendment “is lethal; steeped in anti-Blackness, it is the loaded weapon laying around just waiting for the hand of some authority to put it to use.”

Dudziak Weighs in on Potential Reverberations of Dobbs v. Jackson for GPB

Dr. Mary L. Dudziak, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law and Associated Faculty in the History Department, recently weighed in on the possible implications of the Supreme Court’s summer 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. A leading scholar of civil rights and constitutional law history, Dudziak spoke about the reverberations of Dobbs in a Georgia Public Broadcasting article titled, “LGBTQ Georgians are staring down an uncertain future in a post-Roe America.” Read an excerpt from the article below along with the full piece here.

Emory professor Mary Dudziak said we are now in a perilous era of the Supreme Court — and their decisions will largely effect the legal landscape across states with conservative-leaning state governments.

“What would happen depends on two different kinds of things: one is what the federal courts are going to do and the other is what’s happening in state legislatures,” she said. “The boundaries of what state legislators can do is set by constitutional law. What happens on the ground is driven by state law in Georgia. A legal change has an effect on setting the terrain on what kinds of state laws would be unconstitutional. Anti-gay marriage laws are invalid under Obergefell. If that’s overruled, Georgia doesn’t have to pass a gay marriage law.”

Chira Wins Agricultural History Society Prize for ‘AHR’ Article

Dr. Adriana Chira, Assistant Professor of Atlantic World History, has won the Agricultural History Society’s Wayne D. Rasmussen Award for the best article on agricultural history not published in the journal Agricultural History. Chira’s article, “Freedom with Local Bonds: Custom and Manumission in the Age of Emancipation,” was published in the American Historical Review in September of 2021. Read the abstract of Chira’s piece below and learn more about the awards offered by the Agricultural History Society here.

“Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, across Latin America, expansive rural communities of African descent forged freedom from below in the shadows of highly exploitative extractive economies. Their efforts push us to reconsider established genealogies of the age of emancipation. Freedom through conditional manumission and enslaved people’s reliance on social networks to obtain it opened the door to custom inside first-instance district courts in such areas. Judges turned to vernacular understandings of rights and obligations as they clarified the ambiguous statuses of the conditionally freed for which written law offered few provisions. Through manumission and legal actions to defend freedom, peasants of African descent on the margins of the global economic system grounded their rights in state structures as local custom. Black freedom within such territories represents a mode of community governance that remains invisible if studied by focusing on mobility or nation building. Seen from a place such as Santiago de Cuba, the nineteenth century was not just a time when Africans and Afro-descendants pursued social inclusion through ideologies of national citizenship and diasporic connections. It was also a time of freedom through membership in local communities, which women and families were especially instrumental in forging.

Welcoming New Faculty: Q&A with Yami Rodriguez

In the fall of 2022 the Emory History Department welcomes Dr. Iliana Yamileth (“Yami”) Rodriguez, a historian of Latinx communities in the United States, as Assistant Professor. In the latest installment of our Welcoming New Faculty series, Dr. Rodriguez offers a glimpse into her research and teaching along with what drew her to Emory.

Tell us about the focus of your research and principal current project.

My research focuses on Latinx 20th – 21st century history, with a regional focus on Latinx communities in the southern United States. I’m especially interested in questions of culture, race, ethnicity, labor, and migration as they relate to Latinx histories and experiences. My current book project, “Mexican Atlanta: Migrant Place-Making in the Latinx South,”  traces the history of Metro Atlanta’s ethnic Mexican community formation and the region’s broader Latinx histories beginning in the mid-twentieth century. The book draws on diverse archival and personal collections, as well as original English- and Spanish-language oral histories with community members. 

Was there a particularly memorable moment from archival or field research that has had a lasting impact on your work or career?

When I started research for the dissertation-turned-book-project, it quickly became apparent how limited the Latinx historical presence was in Georgia archives. While there were some scattered collections that held primary sources related to Georgia’s Latinx communities, I primarily had to curate my own archive as I attempted to narrate this community history from a “bottom-up” perspective. Thankfully, I had the privilege of meeting and working with community members and archivists who were interested in developing archival collections on Latinx Georgia history. These kinds of collaborations have resulted in the donation of materials to UGA related to Mundo Hispánico and the Latinx (primarily Mexican) music scene in the Southeast, as well as the ongoing Latinx Georgia Oral History Project for which I conduct oral history interviews. It has been fulfilling to assist in preserving Latinx Georgia histories, and I look forward to continuing the work of archive-building at Emory. 

What sort of courses – undergraduate or graduate – are you most excited to offer at Emory?

I’m looking forward to teaching courses that center issues of ethnicity, race, and migration in US history. Furthermore, I’m looking forward to teaching courses that focus on southern and local histories. For Fall 2022 I’m teaching “Race and Labor in the US,” which is an advanced seminar for students writing original research papers. In Spring 2023 I’ll be teaching courses on Latinx and southern history. 

What drew you to Emory?

I first stepped foot on Emory’s campus as an undergraduate attending the annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference hosted by the Latin American Association. As a first-generation Latina raised in Metro Atlanta, the prospect of teaching Latinx history at Emory was academically and personally exciting. Today I’m glad to join an incredibly supportive history department that is home to wonderful students, staff, and faculty. En pocas palabras, estoy feliz que de nuevo radicó en Atlanta

Sharon Strocchia Awarded Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study

Emory Professor of History Sharon Strocchia has been named a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, NJ for the Fall 2022 term. One of the world’s foremost centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry, IAS brings together over 200 scholars from around the world every year. Fellows are selected through a highly competitive process for their bold ideas, innovative methods, and deep research questions.

Research at IAS is conducted across four Schools – Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science – to push the boundaries of human knowledge. Past IAS members include 35 Nobel Laureates, and the site has hosted scholars ranging from Albert Einstein to Clifford Geertz.

During the fellowship, Strocchia will have the opportunity to pursue uninterrupted scholarly work, share her research, and receive feedback from other participants in an intellectually stimulating and generative environment. She will use the time to work on her next book project, tentatively titled Health for Sale: Marketing Medical Trust in Late Renaissance Italy.

“My book examines how trust in new pharmaceutical remedies was built in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italy,” said Strocchia. “It asks how Renaissance markets balanced concerns about safety and efficacy with the need for medical innovation, given the changing disease environments caused by early globalization. Many of the questions I explore – the award of patent privileges, the use of human subjects in drug trials, the development of trademarks and brand names – have important implications for understanding the long-term development of Western pharmaceutical markets.”

Smith to Deliver NIH History of Medicine Lecture on ‘Jim Crow in the Asylum’

On Thursday, September 15, Dr. Kylie M. Smith will deliver the National Institutes of Health’s James H. Cassedy Lecture in the History of Medicine. An expert in the history of race in health care and the history of psychiatry, Smith will deliver a presentation titled, “Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South.” Smith is Associate Professor and Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing & the Humanities in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. She is also Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read coverage of the event in The Washington Post, view the talk description below, and tune in to the live video stream feed on Thursday, September 15 at 2pm.

In 1969, after a protracted legal battle, Judge Frank M. Johnson of Alabama ordered that segregation of that state’s psychiatric hospitals was illegal and unconstitutional. In his judgement, Johnson drew on government inspections and grass roots legal activism to critique the terrible conditions that prevailed for Black patients. In this lecture Dr. Smith will give a preview of her forthcoming book Jim Crow in the Asylum in which she will demonstrate that racial segregation in psychiatric hospitals in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi was supported by underlying racist ideologies and has had long term consequences for psychiatric care in the South. This research draws on extensive records from the NLM, national and state archives, and the papers of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and is supported by the G13 Grant from the National Library of Medicine.