Johanna Luthman (PhD ’04) Publishes New Book with Oxford UP

Why would a woman falsely accuse her husband’s youthful step-grandmother of attempting to murder her with a poisoned enema? Dr. Johanna Luthman, Professor of History at the University of North Georgia, first learned of this accusation, which took place at the court of James I of England in 1618, while she was writing her dissertation at Emory. Now, she has explored the question fully in her new book, Family and Feuding at the Court of James I: The Lake and Cecil Scandals (Oxford UP). The sensational accusation was one of many levied between the families of Sir Thomas Lake, Secretary of State, and Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, both members of the king’s Privy Council and at the pinnacle of power at the Jacobean court. The two families were joined by the marriage of Sir Thomas’s daughter Anne to Exeter’s grandson William Cecil, Lord Roos. The souring of that marriage led to a years-long feud between the families, which caused sensational scandals, political downfalls, international man-hunts, and lengthy trials where King James himself sat as a judge, a Biblical Solomon dispensing justice. This is the first detailed account of the Lake and Cecil feud. It provides a window into Jacobean society, politics, religion, medicine, ideas about gender and sexuality, and more.

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!

Kheyal Roy-Meighoo (C23) Pursues MA in Animation as Fulbright in UK


Kheyal Roy-Meighoo, a 2023 Emory College graduate who completed double majors in History and Film and Media, received a Fulbright Open Study/Research fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in animation at the Arts University Bournemouth. Roy-Meighoo works at the intersection of social justice and film, and, as her Fulbright profile notes, “she has made it her mission to think critically about diversity through art, discover new forms of storytelling through animation, and uncover histories that have not yet been told.” For her master’s thesis, Roy-Meighoo plans to produce a stop motion animated film about identity, loss, and resilience in the Asian diaspora through the narrative arc of a young girl watching her grandmother cook. Roy-Meighoo was also the recipient of the 2022 Loren & Gail Starr Award in Experiential Learning for a short animated film, titled “Backwards,” about the historical connections between the Covid-19 pandemic and Asian exclusion laws. Roy-Meighoo is Emory’s first recipient of the Open Study/Research Fulbright fellowship to the UK.

Cors Dissertation Wins Cromwell Prize from the American Society for Legal History

Dr. Alexander M. Cors, a 2022 alumnus of the history doctoral program and currently Digital Scholarship Specialist at Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship, recently won the 2022 William Nelson Cromwell Prize from the American Society for Legal History. Cors’ dissertation, “Newcomers and New Borders: Migration, Settlement, and Conflict over Land along the Mississippi River, 1750-1820,” was advised by Drs. Yanna Yannakakis, Jeffrey Lesser, Adriana Chira, Malinda Maynor Lowery, and Paul Conrad (UT Arlington). The annually-awarded Cromwell prize recognizes the best dissertation in American legal history completed in the past year. View one of the maps that Cors produced for the project, described by the prize committee as “things of beauty,” along with the committee’s full citation below.

This dissertation represents a sparkling contribution to what Cors terms “the legal geography of settler colonialism in the Mississippi River Valley” during a pivotal time of contact between Indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans. Utilizing sources in three languages from Spain, France, and four states, Cors seamlessly weaves together narratives of bottom-up experiences of individuals making claims to land under Spanish law with the expansion of state power and control over the Mississippi River territory prior to and after the Louisiana Purchase. Instead of focusing on one or two large tribal nations, Cors takes the land as his analytical frame, beautifully telling the story of how parts of four tribes moved to lands west of the river and then used Spanish land grants to protect their claims against those later made by European-Americans. The tribal claimants were surprisingly adept at achieving their goals, at least for a time, helped by Spanish legal regimes that were much friendlier to first-comers than Anglo-American law later proved to be. By focusing on the river as geography and ecosystem, Cors is able to reveal dimensions of the slave economy that relied on the mobility the river enabled. Instead of cordoning off Louisiana as a civil law territory that had little influence on surrounding states and national legal development, Cors makes Louisiana’s physical position at the mouth of the river central to the movement and migration that undergirded the expansion of slavery in the South. Settlement patterns conferred social structure, he notes, and they also conveyed legal knowledge that proved essential to maintaining property ownership during periods of transition in governance. Indeed, Cors reveals that many non-European settlers along the river resisted the imposition of colonial state power and non-native legal systems, persuading the committee of his broader argument that local land claims drove territorial law and legal practice more than treaty negotiations and national sovereignties. What makes this new history possible are the Spanish-language sources that Cors deftly mines, both for the revealing family narratives he pieces together and for new cartographic data. Cors’s maps are things of beauty, wholly original to this project, that show how indigenous communities spread along the river for decades prior to the Louisiana Purchase. The committee marveled at the way Cors advanced a deeply complex argument with beautifully crafted prose. This novel and original thesis was a joy to read and will, the committee believes, make an important and influential book.

Alum William S. Cossen Publishes `Making Catholic America` with Cornell UP

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.

Commencement

Nine History Doctoral Students Recognized at May 2023 Commencement

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.

StudentAdvisorGraduation YearDissertation
Hannah R. AbrahamsonYanna Yannakakis2022Women of the Encomienda: Households and Dependents in Sixteenth-Century Yucatan, Mexico
Stephanie BryanAllen Tullos2023‘Domesticated Outlaws’: Indigenous Species and Monocultural Capitalism in the American South
Alexander Maximilian CorsYanna Yannakakis2022Newcomers and New Borders: Migration, Settlement, and Conflict over Land along the Mississippi River, 1750-1820
Mary Grace Gibbs DuPreeJudith Evans Grubbs2022Faces of David: Late Antique and Medieval David Cycles in East and West
Alexandra Lemos ZagonelJeffrey Lesser and Thomas Rogers2022Blessed Generation: Countercultural Youth, Music, and Spirituality in Authoritarian Brazil
Arturo Luna LorancaJavier Villa-Flores2023The Dog Remains: Mexico City’s Canine Massacres During the Enlightenment, 1770-1821
Timothy Reid RomansTonio Andrade2022The Rise and Fall of the Suetsugu Maritime Dynasty of Tokugawa Japan, 1571-1676
Madelyn StoneClifton Crais2022Sovereignty Work: Policing Colonial Capitalism in South Africa, 1867–1936
Anastasiia StrakhovaEric Goldstein and Ellie Schainker2022Selective Emigration: Border Control and the Jewish Escape in Late Imperial Russia, 1881-1914

J.E. Morgan (PhD, ’21) Named NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Omohundro Institute

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.

Andrew G. Britt (PhD, 18) Wins LASA – Brazil Best Article in the Humanities Prize

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.

Hannah Rose Abrahamson (PhD, ’22) Wins Premio LASA Maureen Ahern Doctoral Dissertation Award

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.

Andrew G. Britt (PhD, ’18) Publishes Article in ‘Journal of Latin American Studies’

Andrew G. Britt

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.”