Rodriguez and Olivo Help to Usher in Exhibit on Latinx Photography

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.

Andrade Receives NEH Public Scholars Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr. Tonio Andrade, Professor of History, on receiving an NEH Public Scholars Fellowship. Awarded for his project “The Dutch East India Company: A Global History,” the fellowship will support the writing of a book about the factors that enabled the Dutch East India Company to become the dominant maritime power in Asia: its financing, its military strength, and its use of trade and information networks. This NEH program supports projects that lead to the “creation and publication of well-researched nonfiction books in the humanities written for the broad public.”

Reflections on Inaugural Study Abroad to Poland led by Schainker

In the summer of 2023, Dr. Ellie R. Schainker, Arthur Blank Family Foundation Associate Professor of Modern European Jewish History, led an inaugural study abroad trip to Poland. Schainker taught the course “Jews of Poland: History and Memory” in collaboration with doctoral student Olivia Cocking to sixteen Emory undergraduates. The ten-day, one-credit program was supported by the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, which provided significant subsidies for undergraduate participants through the Berger Family Fund. One of the undergraduate participants, Emory College 2023 graduate Sasha Rivers, reflected on the experience for the TIJS. Read her post here: “Journey to Poland: A Student’s Perspective.”

Vick Helps to Contextualize 19th-Century German Utopian Experiment in Texas

German Pioneers in Texas Marker

Dr. Brian Vick, Professor of History, was recently quoted in article about a socialist utopian project pursued by German immigrants in nineteenth-century Texas. Published in The Texas Observer, the article chronicles the rise and quick demise of the endeavor through the story of the original settlers in the 1840s as well as their descendants in the present. Vick, a specialist in Modern Germany and Central Europe in the long nineteenth century, describes how revolutionary ideas popular at German universities in this decade would have influenced the German-speaking settlers in Texas. Vick’s latest major publication is Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which he co-edited with Beatrice de Graaf (Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands) and Ido de Haan (Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands). Read an excerpt from The Texas Observer piece below along with the full article here: “The Hill Country’s Lost Utopia.”

Instead of spending time drinking, playing football, and hazing, like today’s fraternity brothers, the Fortyers spent time drinking, saber-dueling, and discussing politics and philosophy. According to Brian Vick, professor of 19th-century German history at Emory University, those universities were a hotbed of revolutionary ideas at a time when the educated professional class was calling for an end to absolutist monarchies, prompting the “springtime of revolutions” across central Europe in 1848. This movement included liberal constitutional monarchists, radical republicans, and socialists. The Fortyers were the furthest left, demanding German unification and sovereignty from the Prussian and Hapsburg empires, along with a constitution and social and economic equality.

Susan Socolow: In Memoriam

“Socolow, center right, with a bandanna in her hair. The other people are Paraguayan campesinos who were working on clearing an overgrown farm-to-market road, and (grouped around her) students from the Universidad Catolica Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion. The students were helping the campesinos and also providing medical services. Susan was invited to join them and write an article about their work. Source: Photo provided by author.” Photo and caption from “Life, Luck, and How I Became a Historian,” The Americas 70:1 (July 2013), pp. 1-8.

The Department of History mourns the death of Dr. Susan Midgen Socolow, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emerita of History and a faculty member at Emory from 1977 to 2011. Socolow passed away at her home in Atlanta with her husband Daniel on July 21, 2023, “before Alzheimer’s could rob her of her identity and raison d’etre,” as noted in her obituary in The New York Times. Below, History Department faculty and two doctoral students advised by Professor Socolow reflect on her towering career as a historian and mentor.

Professor Socolow had an unusually distinguished career full of important contributions both to Emory and to the field of Latin American Studies. Professor Socolow began her career at Emory in September 1977 after receiving her PhD in Latin American history from Columbia University. Her first book, a study of the merchants of Buenos Aires, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1978, and she followed this with a second monograph, published by Duke University, nine years later. She also edited two collections of essays dealing with broad themes in Latin American history. Professor Socolow wasn’t the first historian of Latin America at Emory, but she did as much as anyone in constructing the undergraduate curriculum in Latin American history and founding what has become an enormously successful Latin American history PhD program. 

Over the course of her career Professor Socolow received three Fulbright Fellowships, two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, a Social Science Research Council Fellowship, and a Tinker Foundation Fellowship. She served on the Executive Committee of the Conference on Latin American History, the leading professional organization in her field, from 1997 to 2003 and as Vice-President of the American Historical Association from 1989 to 1993. In 2005, Professor Socolow was inducted into the Argentine Academy of History. In 2007, the Rocky Mountain Conference of Latin American Studies honored her with the Edward Lieuwen Award for Excellence in Teaching Latin American history.

A Remembrance by Former Students Viviana Grieco (Ph.D., ’05) and Fabrício Prado (Ph.D., ’09)

Susan Socolow was a pioneering historian of Latin America. Her research examined the countries of the Southern Cone of the South American continent at a time when most U.S.-based scholars focused almost exclusively on Mexico and Central America. Trained at Columbia University, Socolow helped advance the growth of history as a doctoral discipline, emphasizing methodological innovation, evidence-based scholarship, as well as clear and elegant prose. Susan easily bridged academic communities, not only because of her ability to speak multiple languages, but also because she fostered international connections and created opportunities for scholars and students from different parts of the world. Susan’s first book, The Merchants of Viceregal Buenos Aires (1978) was a pathbreaking monograph that turned the economic and social history of colonial Rio de la Plata (especially Argentina and Uruguay) upside down. In countries where the historiography had emphasized the power and wealth of landowners as the ruling elites, Susan’s work demonstrated that the merchant elites controlled most of the wealth, credit networks, and social and political capital during the late colonial period. Such an interpretation, based on intensive research in local archives (and combining administrative, private, and ecclesiastical sources), opened new avenues of research in Argentina and Uruguay, other countries of Spanish America, and Brazil.

A decade later, Susan published The Bureaucrats of Buenos Aires, 1769 -1810 (1987) which provided a carefully researched social history of the officers appointed to this area during the Bourbon Reforms. These works established Susan’s reputation as a leader in the field not only in the United States but also in Latin America and Europe. Beyond her initial and foundational contributions to the field of Rio de la Plata studies, Susan’s works incorporated early on the history of women and family as integral parts of society and put forward innovative demographic and quantitative approaches. Her studies contended with themes such as marrying strategies, migration, sexuality, and health. Additionally, her scholarly production helped demystify the pervasive dichotomy between cities and the countryside that had dominated historiography. Susan also pioneered adopting digital techniques applied to history, from utilizing large databases to GIS.
Susan Socolow’s passion for the history of Latin America is attested by her incredible publishing record and her tireless support for academic organizations. Susan published one of the most widely read works about the history of women in Latin America (Women of Colonial Latin America, 2000, 2014), three edited volumes, and 35 articles in top journals in the field. Her extensive scholarly and service accomplishments have been noted by numerous institutions and organizations, which have granted her many awards. In 2007, the Academia Nacional de la Historia in Argentina made Susan its first female foreign member. Susan was a relentless supporter of CLAH, RMCLAS, the Tepaske Seminar, and a founder of the Rio de la Plata Workshop, which she established alongside her students and is currently in its 15th edition.
Beyond her academic production, Susan Socolow’s commitment to her students, who successfully graduated and found employment in a highly competitive job market, was extraordinary. She staunchly supported her mentees and their ideas and encouraged us not to be afraid to leave our marks in the field. She constantly reminded us that, as scholars, we had the independence and autonomy to innovate, yet she also emphasized that only rigorous scholarship would enable us to challenge paradigms. As a mentor, Susan taught us the importance of advancing our careers alongside the need to care for our families and loved ones. She taught us to be collegial and supportive of our students and peers and to build communities around them. Susan’s passing invites us to reflect on her influential career and accomplishments.  Despite this enormous loss, we are proud to continue her legacy, not only as historians of the Rio de la Plata and South America, but also as friends and colleagues whose lives she enriched. 

Dr. Viviana Grieco is Professor of History at The University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Dr. Fabrício Prado is Associate Professor of History at The College of William and Mary.

Armstrong-Partida Article in Past and Present Wins Prize

Dr. Michelle Armstrong-Partida, Associate Professor, was recently recognized for an article the she published in Past & Present with her co-author, Dr. Susan McDonough, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Titled “Singlewomen in the Late Medieval Mediterranean,” their piece won the article of the month prize from the Mediterranean Seminar. The article challenges prevailing ideas about the supposed distinct marital patterns among mediaeval women in Northern and Southern Europe, offering a persuasive, archivally-rich reinterpretation that the prize evaluator described as “rigorous and thought-provoking” as well as “theoretically sophisticated.” Read the abstract from the article below, along with the full comments from the award evaluation.

This article challenges a long-entrenched model of two discrete marital regimes in northern and southern Europe. Demographer John Hajnal argued in 1965 that a distinctive north-western European Marriage Pattern emerged post-1700 when a large population of unmarried men and women married in their early to late twenties and formed their own household rather than join a multi-generational household. The corollary to this argument is that women in southern Europe married young and universally, and thus rarely entered into domestic service. Medievalists have embraced and repeated this paradigm, shaping assumptions about the Mediterranean as less developed or ‘less European’ than the north and ignoring the experience of women enslaved throughout the region.

Notaries and judicial officials in medieval Barcelona, Valencia, Mallorca, Marseille, Palermo, Venice, Famagusta and Crete recognized singlewomen owning property, buying, selling and manumitting enslaved people, appointing procurators, committing crimes and making wills. We reintegrate the experiences of singlewomen, both enslaved and free, into the daily life of the medieval Mediterranean. Understanding how these women made community, survived economically and participated in the legal and notarial cultures of their cities reframes our understanding of women’s options outside marriage in the medieval past.

WaPo Features Research from Southern Spaces on Gravestone in Black Georgetown Cemetery

Emory’s Southern Spaces, a digital journal about the U.S. South and its global connections, recently featured an investigation by Mark Auslander (Mount Holyoke College) and Lisa Fager (Black Georgetown Foundation) titled “Nannie’s Stone: Commemoration and Resistance.” In the article the authors discuss the likely identity of a girl named Nannie, whose gravestone in a historic Black cemetery in Georgetown, D.C., has been shrouded in mystery. The Washington Post recently featured Auslander and Fager’s research in an article about the grave, which was unfortunately set on fire earlier this summer. Dr. Allen Tullos, Professor of History, is also Senior Director of ECDS. Read the Washington Post article here: “A girl’s gravestone mystified strangers. We may now know her identity.”

Welcoming New Faculty: Dr. Jinyu Liu

Dr. Jinyu Liu has joined the faculty of the Emory History Department as Acting Betty Gage Holland Professor of Roman History. Dr. Liu was previously Professor of Classical Studies at DePauw University, where she also served as Department Chair from 2013-’16. Her research interests include: social relations in Roman cities, the non-elite in the Roman Empire, Latin epigraphy, the reception of Graeco-Roman classics in China, and translating classical texts in a global context. In the Q&A below, Dr. Liu offers insights on her research and teaching as well as the factors that drew her to Emory.

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

My main research area is the socio-economic history of ancient Rome through the examination of inscriptions and other written documents, particularly those related to the lower classes, social hierarchies, social and geographical mobilities, and economy. My work engages with an ongoing effort to write Roman history “from below”, which decenters the “elite” at Rome and systematically (re)constructs the historical experiences, organizational and survival strategies, expectations, aspirations, and self-representation of those below the ruling classes in the ancient Roman World. A particular focus of my research in this area lies in the study of the associations/guilds (collegia) in the Roman Empire. I have published a monograph and a number of articles on the topic. My current and ongoing projects in the area of socio-economic history of Rome have two directions: 1) comparative studies of the associative phenomenon in ancient China and Rome; and 2) investigations into the less rosy aspect of the experiences of (im)migrants in the early Roman Empire, in reaction to a general tendency in the existing scholarship that leans towards a positive, perhaps overly positive, assessment of the interaction between the (im)migrants and the locals in the Roman World.

Another research interest of mine is the reception, translation, and dissemination of Greek and Roman antiquity in China. I have published an edited volume in English (with T. Sienkewicz, Ovid in China: Reception, Translation, and Comparison. Brill, 2022), a two-volume collective book in Chinese (New Frontiers of Research on Ovid in a Global Context. Peking University Press, 2021), and several articles in reception studies. I am also serving as the Principal Instigator for a collaborative project on “Translating the Complete Corpus of Ovid’s Poetry into Chinese with Commentaries”. Selected translations and commentaries from the project that have been published in journals are made openly available on “Dickinson Classics Online“, a platform that the Classics Department of Dickinson College helped create in 2015 to provide resources in Graeco-Roman history and Greek/Latin literature to the Sinophone users.

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

My visit to the old Roman sites such as Ostia, Pompeii, and Herculaneum many years ago left a long-lasting impact on me. Deprived of the old residents/visitors, odor, sound, and the other features of these places when they were still alive and active, they are sites for imagination and reconstruction. The ancient people did leave many clues in the form of epitaphs, honorific monuments, buildings of various types and sorts, tombs, electoral paintings on the exterior walls of the houses, graffiti, and so on. Another very interesting site is Isola Sacra, which is a large-scale cemetery from the Roman times. There you will see house-shaped tombs, burial slots saved for freedmen and freedwomen, a carving with a midwife assisting childbirth, and so on. The world of the dead has preserved the clues for the world of the living. My dissertation and later work have mostly concerned with reading and making connections of these clues in a contextualized manner.  

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

I am excited to teach “History of Rome” and “Slavery in Ancient Rome” in the coming semester. I also greatly look forward to offering “Uncovering the Marginalized Voices”, “Being Ordinary Romans”, “The Political Culture of Ancient Rome”, “Rome and China Compared”, and “Exile in Antiquity: History, Law, Material conditions, and Literature” in the future.

What drew you to Emory?

I was impressed with how intellectually advanced the students were and appreciated their curiosities and probing questions during my visit to Emory. I have also tremendously appreciated the high morale and energy in the History Department and on campus, as well as the friendliness of the staff members. My work also intersects and overlaps with the expertise of several History Department faculty, including colleagues working on history from “bottom up”, empire, expatriates, slavery, and reception studies. It is hard to resist the prospect of working with a number of highly accomplished historians in an immensely supportive environment, where there is real potential for methodological and thematic synergy within the Department and with the Classics Department.

Anderson Elected to American Philosophical Society

Dr. Carol AndersonCharles Howard Candler Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society. The oldest learned society in the United States, the APS is composed of top scholars from a wide variety of academic disciplines. Read more about this year’s cohort: “The American Philosophical Society Welcomes New Members for 2023.”

Anderson Analyzes Possible Implications of 14th Amendment for Trump Candidacy

Dr. Carol Anderson recently co-authored an opinion article for ‘The Grio’ about the push to disqualify former president Donald Trump from holding elected office under the 14th amendment to the constitution. Known as the disqualification clause, section 3 of that amendment prohibits “any government officer who takes an oath to defend the Constitution and who then engages in an insurrection or aids one against the United States, from ever holding office again.” Drawing on parallel cases from the distant and recent past, Anderson and co-author Donald K. Sherman argue that this clause should apply to Trump in light of his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Read an excerpt of the piece below along with the full article here: “A conviction won’t stop Trump from holding office. The 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause could.” Dr. Anderson is Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies and Associated Faculty in the History Department.

The Reconstruction era includes numerous examples of the disqualification clause’s application. More recently, last year, three New Mexico residents, represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, won the first case in more than 150 years that removed an elected official from office for participating in an insurrection. That court ruled that New Mexico County Commissioner Couy Griffin violated section 3 of the 14th Amendment by recruiting rioters to attend Trump’s “wild” effort to overturn the election, normalizing violence and breaching police barriers as part of a weaponized mob that allowed other insurrectionists to overwhelm law enforcement and storm the Capitol. Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection was even more significant and well-documented than Griffin’s, and CREW has announced plans to pursue his disqualification in court.