Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, Cahoon Family Professor of American History and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, helped to organize a teach-in on the quad with the Muscogee Nation in late October of 2023. The event included storytelling, hymn singing, a stomp dance led by Rev. and Mekko (or “traditional leader”) Chebon Kernell, and a conversation with Muscogee artist Johnnie Diacon.
“‘The partnership and sense of exchange — trust building and shared learning — is growing between Emory and the Muscogee Nation. The teach-in adds a dimension of responsibility and relationship that builds on Emory’s Land Acknowledgment Statement.’
“The teach-in will not only edify; it will heal. ‘We are in need of the healing that this return of the Muscogee people to their homelands facilitates,’ Lowery says. ‘The Nation is leading us in the way that they use education as a healing force.'”
Over the summer of 2023, two undergraduate History students, Matthew Croswhite and Harrison Helms, conducted riveting research on various topics and participated in exciting travel experiences with the help of funding awards they received from the History Department. Please join us on Oct 20, 2023, from 1-2pm as our summer funding recipients give presentations detailing their use of the scholarship funds for their travel and research. For more information on the History Department’s travel funding awards and fellowships, please visit our website: Travel Funding.
Dr. Yami Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of History, recently delivered opening remarks at the newest exhibit at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, titled “You Belong Here: Place, People, and Purpose in Latinx Photography.” A historian of Latinx communities, particularly those in the U.S. South, Rodriguez provided illuminating context for the exhibit by offering a chronology of relationships between Latinx communities in Atlanta and Emory University. Senior History major and Carlos Museum intern Cassandra Olivio, who worked with Rodriguez to secure the internship, created an interactive activity to accompany the exhibit. Read an excerpt from Rodriguez’s opening remarks along with a brief Q&A with Olivio about her experience below.
Yami Rodriguez, Opening Remarks (excerpt)
“The effort to showcase a Latinx photography exhibit at Emory led me to consider change over time, and how this exhibit contributes to a long legacy of students, staff, and faculty that have worked to highlight and make space for Latinx experiences and voices at this institution. I therefore want to briefly highlight the collaborative work that has been and continues to be necessary in order to make a statement like ‘You Belong Here’ ring true.
“In 1989, for example, Mariali Fuster, Maritza Ortiz and Gerardo Tosca, along with other students, were ‘primarily responsible for raising interest in having Emory celebrate’ Hispanic Heritage Month. A list of events included Spanish club meetings, lectures on US and Latin American history, and community meals. Three years later in 1992 members of the Latin American Awareness Organization (or, LATINO) at Emory had the stated goal of ‘bring[ing] together the Latino students and to educate both the Emory community and the Atlanta community-at-large about Latinos and Latin America.’ And just three years later a staff member explained in scrap notes how she ‘received more than 50 calls regarding the services and resources’ provided by the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services because many Latinx parents whose children had been accepted to Emory could not afford tuition. As the population of Latinx students at Emory grew at the turn of the century, so did awareness of the populations’ needs and, at times, demands. A Latino Task Force made up of students, staff and faculty established in 2000, for example, advocated for increased Latino student enrollment and staff increases, along with a call for establishing ‘Latino Studies.’ The call for Latinx Studies would be renewed in 2018 with student-led advocacy. Over the decades, Latinx academic, social, political, and cultural presence has shaped our Emory communities and the possibilities for inclusion on and off campus…The Latinx community today at Emory, in Metro Atlanta, and the South more generally, is diverse, multilingual, and actively in search of spaces that can speak to some aspects of this complex, constructed category we know as Latinidad. I’m hopeful that the Carlos Museum is one of many spaces on campus that can commit to maintaining a sustainable, non-extractive, and mutually beneficial relationship with Latinx communities at Emory and across Georgia as we seek to make our institutions more inclusive and representative of the worlds we move through.”
*Remarks were informed by archival materials in the Rose and research conducted by undergraduate student Arturo Contreras for his work on the “Consciousness is Power: A Record of Emory Latinx History.” Efforts to digitize this Fall 2022 pop-up exhibit are currently underway in our history course, “The Migrant South.”
Q&A with Cassandra Olivo, History Major and Carlos Museum Intern
How did you become an intern at the Carlos Museum, and how has this experience shaped your time at Emory?
I was able to secure my internship at the Carlos Musuem through the help of Professor Rodriguez. She informed me that the museum was looking for two students to create an interactive component for the exhibition, and I applied because she informed me that the knowledge and skills that I had acquired from my history courses could be applicable in the creation of this component.
As a student who must also work to be able to study at this institution, I have found it hard to make time to visit the museum; thus, this experience provided me with the opportunity to explore and interact with a space that I would have not engaged with otherwise.
Have you seen intersections between your role at the Carlos and your history coursework? How so?
Yes, I have. I have taken a few classes where we have discussed the forms of resistance used by enslaved people, and a piece by artist Joiri Minaya not only allowed me to see how art could be crafted to represent this history, but added to my knowledge because I learned that enslaved women in the Barbados used the ayogwiri plant to induce abortions because they did not want their children to be thrusted into slavery. This piece does an excellent job at displaying how art can be utilized as a medium that both communicates and educates the public about historical events.
The exhibit you worked on highlights themes of identity, community, and belonging, with the interactive you co-created for the exhibit asking visitors to reflect on these themes. Can you share a bit about how your own identity, community, and/or sense of belonging informed your work at the Carlos and your time at Emory?
As the daughter of Mexican-immigrant parents who can barely read and write in English, I wanted to design the interactive in a way, which included translating the questions into Spanish, that would feel inviting to these kinds of individuals. The silence that Latinx populations face does not result from the community’s lack of expression on topics, but rather the linguistic barriers that limit their self-expression. Growing up, I always viewed my upbringing as a limitation, but this internship has made me realize that my experiences allow me to be an effective advocate for the needs of the community.
There have been instances where I was the only person of Latinx descent in my class, and it felt isolating at times. This feeling compelled me to create a space where individuals would not only be able to reflect on their own experiences, but also read the stories of others similar to them and see that they were not alone.
The first-year cohort of doctoral students recently presented their research at the History Department’s annual Hi-Five gathering. Adapted from the University of Queensland’s Three Minute Thesis model, the Hi-Five charges students to put forth a sound, compelling, and accessible distillation of their research. Five first-year History Department students presented their work:
Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African-American Studies and Associated Faculty in the History Department, was recently the featured guest on ‘One Big Question,’ a podcast hosted by Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves. Anderson and Fenves discuss the production of history, including in the context of Anderson’s multiple award-winning books, along with contemporary developments relating to issues of racial inequity and education. Listen to their full conversation, “An Acclaimed Scholar and Author Defines ‘History,'” and browse previous episodes at the following link: ‘One Big Question.’
Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory. With scholarly precision as well as an undeniable urgency, she has authored acclaimed and best-selling books that have transformed perceptions by focusing boldly on systemic racism and its influence on voter suppression, gun rights, and much more.
As a historian, she has shed light on episodes of injustice that have been hidden in darkness, amplified voices that had long been silenced, and rewritten chapters on discrimination, disenfranchisement, and destruction that had been torn out of the historical record.
In this episode, Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves talks with Anderson about history—who writes it, how we understand it, and the ways in which it shapes our society today.
On Friday, March 24, Emory will host an event titled “New Directions and New Opportunities in Public Humanities” in the Jones Room. The event will feature presentations from Atlanta organizations hosting Emory graduate student interns (including History doctoral student Ayssa Yamaguti Norek), in the morning, and three national humanities leaders in the afternoon. Dr. Thomas D. Rogers, Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History, has helped to convene this gathering and spearhead public humanities initiatives at Emory more broadly. He will participate in the afternoon roundtable discussion.
The morning session includes representatives from the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Alliance Theatre, and Charis Books, along with the interns working at those organizations (from Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and History). For the afternoon sessions, the guests include Antoinette Burton of the University of Illinois and Humanities Without Walls; Michelle May-Curry of the National Humanities Alliance and Georgetown University; and Teresa Mangum of the University of Iowa and Humanities for the Public Good. They will present about their work and then participate in a roundtable conversation. The event organizers hope to generate ideas about public humanities approaches and practices, rooted in work happening here and in projects around the country.
Dr. Daniel LaChance, Winship Distinguished Research Professor in History, 2020-23 and Associate Professor of History, will participate in an upcoming interdisciplinary discussion on incarceration and the death penalty. The event will take place in Callaway S420 on Tuesday, February 21, from 6-7pm. The discussion will also feature Dr. Joel Zivot, Associate Professor in Emory’s Department of Anesthesiology. LaChance is a legal scholar working at the intersection of American legal and cultural history, criminology, and literary studies. His most recent book, co-authored with Paul Kaplan, is Crimesploitation: Crime, Punishment, and Pleasure on Reality Television (Stanford University Press, 2022).
The 2022 Loren & Gail Starr Fellows in Experiential Learning recently presented the projects for which they received funding over the summer. These fellowships were created in 2022 through a generous donation from Loren and Gail Starr. They provide summer funding from $500 to $3000 for experiential learning projects proposed by History majors, joint majors, or minors. The Starr Award aims to support students who wish to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired in history courses to create or participate in projects outside of the classroom. Bold, creative, and off-the-beaten path proposals are encouraged. The 2022 Fellows outdid themselves with creative historical projects. Learn more about the inspiring work they recently shared with History Dept. faculty, students, and staff below:
Edina Hartstein Presenting StoryMap on Trafficking in Women and Children
Senior Film Studies Honors student and History Major Kheyal Roy-Meighoo created a spectacular animated film on Asian American History that explored the dynamics of racism in the present and past. We look forward to posting an update with a link to the film in the future.