Dr. William S. Cossen, a former history major and 2008 graduate, recently published his first monograph. Titled Making Catholic America: Religious Nationalism in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Cornell UP), the book examines how white American Catholics worked to claim privileged and leading roles as model American citizens in the decades after the Civil War and before the Great Depression. Describing the book as “Superb,” Mark Noll (The University of Notre Dame) praises the book’s combination of “exceptionally deep archival research with wide reading in contemporary and historical accounts.” Gossen completed his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 2016. He is faculty at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, the top-ranked public high school in Georgia and U.S. News & World Report’s ninth-best high school in the United States.
At the May 2023 Emory Commencement nine PhD candidates from the History Department were recognized for completing their degrees. Some of the students received their diplomas in the summer or fall of 2022 but were not honored until the 2023 ceremony. The students represent more than seven areas of research specialization and are pursuing an array of professional positions inside and outside the academy. In the table below, find the names, advisors, and dissertations of these recently-minted PhDs.
Dr. J. E. Morgan, a 2021 graduate of the doctoral program, was recently named an NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Omohundro Institute in Williamsburg, VA. As an OI-NEH fellow, Morgan will continue work on her manuscript “American Concubines: Gender, Race, Law, and Power in the British Caribbean and North American South, 1661-1800.” She has previously held visiting faculty positions at the University of Florida and Emory University. Morgan’s dissertation, “American Concubines: Gender, Race, Law, and Power in the British Caribbean and North American South, 1661-1800,” was advised by Drs. Leslie Harris and Yanna Yannakakis.
Dr. Andrew G. Britt, a 2018 alum of the graduate program, has won the Antonio Candido Prize for Best Article in the Humanities from the Brazil Section of the Latin American Studies Association. Titled “Spatial Projects of Forgetting: Razing the Remedies Church and Museum to the Enslaved in São Paulo’s ‘Black Zone’, 1930s–1940s,” Britt’s article appeared in the November 2022 issue of the Journal of Latin American Studies. The piece investigates how anti-Black racism influenced the demolition of São Paulo’s former Church of the Remedies, the headquarters of Brazil’s Underground Railroad in the 1880s and, following formal abolition in 1888, a museum dedicated to the enslaved. The article forms part of Britt’s book manuscript, titled The Paradoxes of Ethnoracial Space in São Paulo, 1930s-1980s. Britt completed his graduate work under the advisement of Drs. Jeffrey Lesser and Thomas D. Rogers. He is currently Assistant Professor of History and Digital Humanities at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Britt is among three former or current Emory History Department members recognized by prizes in the 2023 LASA awards cycle. Read the abstract of the article below.
In the shadows of a Shinto torii (gateway) in São Paulo’s ‘Japanese’ neighbourhood rests the city’s first burial ground for enslaved Africans. Recently unearthed, the gravesite is one of the few visible remains of the Liberdade neighbourhood’s significance in São Paulo’s ‘Black zone’. This article excavates the history of the nearby Remedies church, the headquarters of Brazil’s Underground Railroad and a long-time museum to the enslaved. The 1942 demolition of the Remedies church, I argue, comprised part of a spatial project of forgetting centred on razing the city’s ‘Black zone’ and reproducing São Paulo as a non-Black, ethnically immigrant metropolis.
Dr. Hannah Rose Abrahamson, a 2022 doctoral program graduate, recently won the Maureen Ahern Award from the Latin American Studies Association – Colonial Section for her dissertation. Titled “Women of the Encomienda: Households and Dependents in Sixteenth-Century Yucatan, Mexico,” the thesis was advised by Dr. Yanna Yannakakis, Associate Professor of History. Abrahamson is currently Assistant Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross. Her research and teaching interests include early modern Latin America, indigenous history, the Atlantic world, colonialism, gender, sexuality, and the digital humanities. Abrahamson is among three former or current Emory History Department members recognized by prizes in the 2023 LASA awards cycle. Read the abstract of Abrahamson’s dissertation below.
Over the course of the sixteenth century, multiple Spanish women in Yucatan, Mexico gained and maintained authority over encomiendas, royal grants to Native tributary labor. While the Spanish Crown most often awarded these grants to men as recompense for military service in the conquest of the Americas, dozens of women inherited and held the privileged status of encomendera (encomienda grant holder). My dissertation situates women at the center of encomiendas, colonial households, and relationships of dependent labor and domestic servitude during the first century of colonization in Yucatan. I trace women’s involvement in these institutions from the establishment of colonial settlements in the region in the 1540s through the late sixteenth century: the period during which the encomienda constituted the sole basis of Yucatan’s economy. The reciprocal, yet uneven, relationships of dependency that characterized the encomienda were mirrored in colonial households where Spanish, Maya, and African- descended peoples enacted and contested colonial power dynamics in their everyday lives. I argue that Spanish and Maya women’s increasing involvement in the encomienda over the course of the sixteenth century stabilized the institution and further entrenched it in the region, allowing it to endure in Yucatan for nearly three centuries. This project contributes to discussions regarding the nature of colonialism by examining the means through which women exercised power in European settlements. Spanish women became colonial authorities in their own right through their roles as encomenderas. I also examine instances of resistance in which Maya and African dependents pushed against encomenderas’ power through legal and extralegal means. My project provides new insight regarding how Spanish, Maya, and African women gained, maintained, and contested authority in peripheral settlements throughout the Americas where wealth was grounded in Indigenous labor and agricultural production.
Dr. Andrew G. Britt, a 2018 alumnus of the History doctoral program, recently published an article in the Journal of Latin American Studies. Titled “Spatial Projects of Forgetting: Razing the Remedies Church and Museum to the Enslaved in São Paulo’s ‘Black Zone’, 1930s–1940s,” the piece excavates the history of the former headquarters of Brazil’s Underground Railroad and a longtime museum to the enslaved. The article emerged out of Britt’s dissertation, which was advised by Drs. Jeffrey Lesser and Thomas D. Rogers. Britt is Assistant Professor of History and Digital Humanities at the UNC School of the Arts. Read the abstract of the article below along with the full piece.
“In the shadows of a Shinto torii (gateway) in São Paulo’s ‘Japanese’ neighbourhood rests the city’s first burial ground for enslaved Africans. Recently unearthed, the gravesite is one of the few visible remains of the Liberdade neighbourhood’s significance in São Paulo’s ‘Black zone’. This article excavates the history of the nearby Remedies church, the headquarters of Brazil’s Underground Railroad and a long-time museum to the enslaved. The 1942 demolition of the Remedies church, I argue, comprised part of a spatial project of forgetting centred on razing the city’s ‘Black zone’ and reproducing São Paulo as a non-Black, ethnically immigrant metropolis.”
Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies (TIJS) published a feature story on recent doctoral graduate student Anastasiia Strakhova, whose work TJIS supported throughout her graduate career. Strakhova completed her dissertation, titled “Selective Emigration: Border Control and the Jewish Escape in Late Imperial Russia, 1881-1914,” in 2022 under the advisement of Dr. Eric Goldstein and Dr. Ellie R. Schainker. This spring Strakhova is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. Read an excerpt from the TJIS feature below, along with the full article: “Recent TJIS Graduate Highlight: Anastasiia Strakhova.”
“My research interest evolved gradually,” Dr. Anastasiia Strakhova explains when asked about her scholarly development. After getting her BA in her home city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, and then her MA from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, Dr. Strakhova traveled to the United States to continue her education. While studying Yiddish in New York, Dr. Strakhova found her curiosity about Jewish migration. “I was so fascinated about the attachment that Jews felt to the United States, and the romanticization of the old country… And then I got very interested in seeing the archives and reading about the way that people were living [at that time in history].” Dr. Strakhova’s dissertation addresses late Imperial Russian migration policies through the prism of racialization and criminalization of Jews.
Dr. Jessica Reuther, a 2016 graduate of the African history program, has published an article in the Journal of African History. Titled “Street Hawking or Street Walking in Dahomey?: Debates about Girls’ Sexual Assaults in Colonial Tribunals, 1924–41,” Reuther’s piece centers on sexual assault investigations in colonial Dahomey. Reuther’s analysis of those investigations reveals caregiving practices among older women for girls who suffered sexual assaults as well as the vulnerability of street hawkers to such assaults. Reuther is Assistant Professor of African History at Ball State University. Read the article abstract below.
Between the judicial reorganizations of 1924 and 1941, the colonial tribunals in Dahomey heard more than two hundred cases of rape. Teenage or younger girls engaged in street hawking were the most common victims of rape who reported their assaults to these tribunals. Many of the cases stand out because market women played the dominant role in transforming girl hawkers’ experiences of sexual assault into formal grievances. The history of sexual assault in colonial Africa has largely focused on how ‘customary’ and colonial courts have or have not punished the crime of rape. This approach privileges masculine authorities’ views of sex, consent, and gender violence. This article focuses on the investigative processes in cases of sexual assault. In doing so, two gendered histories emerge: firstly, a history of elder female caregiving to girls suffering the aftereffects of sexual assaults and, secondly, a history of the vulnerability of hawkers to quotidian sexual violence.
Dr. K. N. Sunandan, a 2012 graduate of the History doctoral program, has published a monograph with Cambridge UP. Titled Caste, Knowledge, and Power: Ways of Knowing in Twentieth Century Malabart, the book investigates how knowledge has contributed to the transformation of caste practices over the course of twentieth-century India. Sundandan teaches at Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India. Read the full description of his new book below.
Caste, Knowledge, and Power investigates the transformations of caste practices in twentieth century India and the role of knowledge in this transformation and in the continuing of these oppressive practices. The author situates the domination and subordination in the domain of knowledge production in India not just in the emergence of colonial modernity but in the formation of colonial–Brahminical modernity. It engages less with the marginalization of the oppressed castes in the modern institutions of knowledge production which has already been discussed widely in the scholarship. Rather, the author focuses on how the modern colonial–Brahminical concept of knowledge invalidated many other forms of knowing practices and how historically caste domination transformed from the claims of superiority in acharam (ritual hierarchy) to the claims of superiority in possession of knowledge.
Emory History alum Cameron Katz has been busy since graduating in 2021. She has been working on a project called Made By Us, which connects 18-30 year olds with more than 150 museums and historic sites. Their biggest program is the “Civic Season,” Juneteenth – July 4th, a dedicated time to explore what you stand for through activities, events, resources, and more in order to become a more informed, engaged citizen year-round.
The FREE Kickoff Party took place at the Atlanta History Center in Midtown on Sunday, June 12, from 2-7PM. Anchoring celebrations happened all across the country at the same time.
Support for the 2022 Civic Season is generously provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Coca-Cola Company and AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate.