Lesser Contextualizes Brazil’s Warm Welcome for Venezuelan Migrants

Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History, was recently quoted in a Bloomberg article about the Brazilian government’s acceptance of scores of migrants from Venezuela. The piece outlines why officials in Brazil, contrary to their peers in other countries around the world, are welcoming migrants into the nation. Lesser is an expert on public health, ethnicity, immigration, and race, especially in Brazil. His newest book, Living and Dying in São Paulo, will be published with Duke University Press in 2024. Read an excerpt from the Bloomberg piece below, along with the full article: “Brazil Is Embracing the Migrant Crisis That Everyone Else Wants to Avoid.”

“‘We notice in Brazil that immigrant integration seems to occur at a relatively more consistent and rapid level than in the United States,’ said Jeffrey Lesser, a historian at Emory University.

“Lesser says Brazil began to rely more on immigrants to fill jobs in the ‘corporate arena’ after slavery was abolished in 1888. Immigration rules are also far less strict than in the US. In recent decades, Brazilian officials have given amnesty several times to groups of undocumented foreigners or those who overstayed visas, allowing them to obtain legal status.”

Alumni Update: Bronwen Boyd (C22), from Atlanta to Tunisia, the US Senate, and Sciences Po

Bronwen Boyd, a History Honors student and French Studies major, graduated from Emory College in May 2022. Boyd took a gap year following graduation, during which she worked for the Carter Center as a nonpartisan elections observer on the 2022 Tunisian Parliamentary Elections and for US Senator Jon Ossoff and the Congressional Commission on Emerging Biotechnology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Political Science as a Shepard Scholar from Emory at Sciences Po’s Paris School of Research. Her thematic interests include violence against women, LGBTQIA+ rights, human rights, law, and global history and politics. In 2022 Boyd was named a Graduating Woman of Excellence by the Center for Women at Emory. Boyd writes that she is a “Proud Emory History alumna— now and always!”

Are you an Emory History alumnus? Please send us updates on your life and work!

Arts and Social Justice Fellow Collaborates with Mortimer’s ‘Intro. to Native American History’

Atlanta-based painter and social practice artist Bird Harris, a 2023-24 Arts & Social Justice (ASJ) fellow at Emory, has worked this past semester with Dr. Loren Michael Mortimer‘s class “HIST 285: Introduction to Native American History.” Now in its fourth year, the ASJ program pairs artists in Atlanta with faculty across schools at Emory to “reimagine an existing course, injecting a creative approach to addressing the social justice issues that surfaced within class conversations.”

Harris led students in the course on a Radical Noticing Walk through the sacred Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park during their historic trip to the 31st Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration in September of this year. That walk formed part of a broader project she has developed with students in Mortimer’s class, titled “Land as Living Memory.” Mortimer is Provost Postdoctoral Fellow in Native American history in the History Department. His book manuscript, Kaniatarowanenneh Crossings: Indigenous Power and Presence in the St. Lawrence River Watershed, 1534-1842, is under advance contract with University of Nebraska Press.

“I believe the earth has a long memory and that we, often intentionally, do not. I view my roles as an artist, mother, historian, and citizen as deeply intertwined and linked to the same core responsibilities: interrogate imbalances, reckon with hard histories, create beauty, and work towards a future of natural equilibrium. Having just moved my family from our home in New Orleans, one of the fastest disappearing land masses in the world, my work is a meditation on land loss, the multiple histories of American land, and mothering in the face of ecological collapse.”

Bird Harris, Artist Statement

Candido’s ‘Wealth, Property, and Land in Angola’ Wins ASA Book Prize

Congratulations to Dr. Mariana P. Candido, Winship Distinguished Professor of History, 2023-2026, and Professor of History, on receiving one of the most significant book prizes in African studies. The African Studies Association (ASA) awarded Candido’s most recent monograph, Wealth, Land, and Property in Angola: A History of Dispossession, Slavery, and Inequality (Cambridge UP), with the ASA Best Book Prize for 2022. The prize is given “to the author of the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year.” Cátia Antunes (Leiden University) writes that “Candido’s approach, insights and poignant arguments will ignite profuse discussions and challenge common views regarding Africa and Africans. Candido is a unique historian and perhaps the most accomplished Africanist of the 21st century.” Earlier in 2023, Candido was one of 26 scholars based in the U.S. to receive the prestigious Berlin Prize, which supports a research fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. Read more about Wealth, Property, and Land in Angola below and browse past winners of the ASA Book Prize.

Exploring the multifaceted history of dispossession, consumption, and inequality in West Central Africa, Mariana P. Candido presents a bold revisionist history of Angola from the sixteenth century until the Berlin Conference of 1884–5. Synthesising disparate strands of scholarship, including the histories of slavery, land tenure, and gender in West Central Africa, Candido makes a significant contribution to ongoing historical debates. She demonstrates how ideas about dominion and land rights eventually came to inform the appropriation and enslavement of free people and their labour. By centring the experiences of West Central Africans, and especially African women, this book challenges dominant historical narratives, and shows that securing property was a gendered process. Drawing attention to how archives obscure African forms of knowledge and normalize conquest, Candido interrogates simplistic interpretations of ownership and pushes for the decolonization of African history.

“Candido is a unique historian and perhaps the most accomplished Africanist of the 21st century.”

Cátia Antunes (Leiden University)

Goldstein to Lead TJIS Poland Study Abroad in Summer 2024

Students and faculty, including Dr. Ellie R. Schainker, in the inaugural TJIS Poland study abroad in 2023.

The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies launched a study abroad program to Poland in the summer of 2023 titled “Jews of Poland: History and Memory.” Dr. Ellie R. Schainker, Arthur Blank Family Foundation Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies, led the inaugural trip. Building on the successes of last year, the TJIS will offer an expanded trip this year, led by Associate Professor of History Dr. Eric Goldstein. The 11-day, 1-credit program will take students to Poland from May 19-30, 2024. The Berger Family Fund, established by Bruce, Michelle, and Emily Berger 23C with the purpose of supporting student experiential learning on topics related to antisemitism, Jewish life, and Jewish history, will allow TIJS to heavily subsidize the program for students. Read more about the experience from a student’s perspective from last year, and find about more information about the 2024 trip.

“Jewish engagement with Poland and Eastern Europe is a story of huge contrast,” Goldstein shares.  “It’s a story of vibrant Jewish life – it was the largest center of Jewish life in the world for many decades, if not centuries – and also a site of immense tragedy.  And then, in recent years, a site of a kind of cultural rebirth.  So I think (Poland) really provides a lot of very interesting tensions, interesting questions.”

As they unpack these tensions and questions, students will split time between Krakow and Warsaw where they’ll engage in dialogue with contemporary Polish and Polish-Jewish activists, university students, and cultural and community leaders.  Additionally, the program will feature excursions to historical locations such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, Wieliczka Salt Mines, and – new to this year – a former “shtetl.”  A shtetl “was a typical small town where Jews in Eastern Europe lived, especially in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries,” Goldstein explains.  “So we’ll not only have a chance to explore how Jews lived in the larger cities, but this kind of classic example of how they lived in the countryside as well.”

Stein Offers Historical and Political Analysis of Military Campaign in Gaza

Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Emeritus Professor of History and Director Emeritus of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, has contributed political and historical analysis about Israel’s military campaign in Gaza to multiple news outlets in recent months. A widely-cited scholar and public intellectual, Stein’s expertise centers on the socioeconomic history of Zionist and Palestinian communal identities in the first half of the 20th century and the Arab-Israeli conflict and negotiating process. View four of Stein’s recent contributions in media below:

Herring and Rollins Honored at 2023 Emory University Service Awards Luncheon

A.J. Rollins (husband of Allison), Allison Rollins, Becky Herring, and Department Chair Joe Crespino.

History department staff Becky Herring and Allison Rollins were recently honored at the Emory University Service Awards Luncheon. This year Herring, who is Senior Academic Department Administrator, marks 30 years of service at Emory. Rollins, the History Department’s Senior Accountant, completes 25 years in 2023. Herring and Rollins are among approximately 175 staff members throughout Emory celebrating reaching 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of service this year. Congratulations, Becky and Allison, and thank you for your exceptional service to our department!