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.”
Doctoral student Anjuli Webster has been awarded a 2023 Dissertation Grant from the National Institute of Social Sciences (NISS) to support fieldwork for her dissertation, titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in Southern Africa, 1750-1900.” Webster is currently conducting research in South Africa, Eswatini, and Mozambique. The NISS funding will support additional research in Mozambique central to two chapters of her dissertation. Read a quote from Webster about her work below, along with an illuminating feature story about Webster written by Karina Antenucci for the Laney Graduate School.
“Understanding the afterlives of empire is a central concern of my work as a historian. Histories of imperialism and colonialism have not only shaped our present climate crisis, but they have also undermined indigenous modes of responding to and managing ecological emergency across the world.”
Fourth-year doctoral candidate Anjuli Webster has been awarded a 2023 dissertation grant from the National Institute of Social Sciences. The NISS grant will support research for Webster’s dissertation, titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900.” History department faculty members Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, Yanna Yannakakis, and Thomas D. Rogers serve as advisors for Webster’s dissertation. The NISS typically awards no more than four grants each year, spanning the fields of Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
Fourth-year doctoral candidate Olivia Cocking has received a prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), a grant administered by the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in the United States. The fellowship will support research in France for Cocking’s dissertation, which examines how migrants from the French empire navigated municipal courts and social welfare programs in the metropole between 1919 and the 1960s. Cocking’s dissertation is advised by Drs. Judith A. Miller and Tehila Sasson.
Three History Department faculty members have received grant support from the Halle Institute for Global Research for 2023. The winners and associated research categories are:
Dr. Tehila Sasson, Assistant Professor – “The Politics of Financial Exclusion in Britain, 1960s-2000s,” (Global Perspectives on Race+, Ethnicity+, and Nation+)
Dr. Mariana P. Candido, Associate Professor – “Africans in Colonial Courts: Agency, Gender, and the Rule of Law in Angola and Cape Verde, 1800-1950s” (Halle Foundation Collaborative Research Grantees)
Dr. Brian Vick, Professor – “The Internationalization of Science and Politics in the Nineteenth Century” (URC International Research Grants)
Congratulations to the grantees!
The Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD) (Luso-American Development Foundation) recently awarded 4th-year doctoral candidate Anjuli Webster a research grant. The award will support one month in Lisbon, where Webster will conduct archival research to inform her dissertation, “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900.” Webster’s faculty advisers include Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, Yanna Yannakakis, and Thomas D. Rogers.
Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research, was recently recognized with the Creekmore Award for Internationalization by Emory’s Office of Global Strategies and Initiatives. The Creekmore Award is given annually to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to Emory’s global work and reputation. As director of the Halle Institute, Lesser has created innovative programs that support faculty and student research, bridging disciplines and connecting Emory with scholars around the world. Lesser is a leading scholar of Brazilian history, particularly constructions of national identity. His current research investigates the intersections of immigration and public health in the city of São Paulo. Read more about the 2023 International Award winners here: “2023 International Awards honor history professor, international student programs director and entertainment industry CEO.”
During the fall of 2022, Mariana P. Candido, Adriana Chira, and Mariana Armond Dias Paes of the Max Plank Institute for Legal History received a three-year grant from Emory’s Office of the Provost. Titled “Land Dispossession, Inequality, and the Legacies of Slavery in Africa and Latin America,” the project is one of five that will receive a part of $1.4 million in support. The three historians will use the resources to conduct research, develop a digital platform, and initiate several pedagogical innovations focusing on land politics and sustainability in post-emancipation societies in Africa and Latin America. They will be engaging with primary sources located in endangered archives, including Cuba, Cape Verde, and Angola, while also developing new ways of sharing some of this material through public-facing platforms and new courses at undergraduate and graduate level.
The three project leaders point out that their work emerges from a belief that the humanities, and historical approaches in particular, are fields that are uniquely positioned to offer new ways of thinking about land dispossession, rural inequalities, and environmental sustainability. According to Candido, Chira, and Dias Paes, such approaches allow scholars to examine dispossession in the long term, exploring how present-day expulsion from the land is rooted in socio-economic structures dating back to slavery and colonialism. A humanistic approach to land dispossession also sheds light on alternative modes of community-building and property ownership that emerged from below that more quantitative social scientific approaches have ignored. Dias Paes emphasizes that “much of the legal framework of today´s legal system in what concerns property was created in the nineteenth century. Thus, if we want to reform these legal systems in the sense of shifting the current model of exploitation, we must discuss their roots and de-naturalize legal ideas such as ‘absolute ownership right,’ ‘legal personality,’ and so on.”
At the core of the project is a fundamental commitment to collaboration as a tool for writing and practicing better history. Candido and Chira are extremely excited to develop their collaboration with Mariana Dias Paes (with whom Candido has been working for a few years now), an ambitious visionary thinker in the field of legal history. Dias Paes is a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory (Frankfurt am Main) where she heads the project “Global Legal History on the Ground: Court Cases in African Archives.” In the framework of the project, she has been digitizing over 30,000 court cases stored at the Cape Verde National Archives. Since 2017, together with Mariana Candido and Juelma Ngãla (ISCED-Benguela, Angola), she organized the court cases collection of the Benguela District Court (Angola). Her research focuses on the social and legal history of the South Atlantic (Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau), between the 17th and the 20th centuries. She has published extensively on issues pertaining to judicial disputes over land and labor in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Her publications include: Esclavos y tierras entre posesión y títulos: la construcción social del derecho de propiedad en Brasil, siglo XIX (2021) and Escravidão e direito: o estatuto jurídico dos escravos no Brasil oitocentista, 1860-1888 (2019). She has also published articles in flagship journals such as Law & History Review, Atlantic Studies, Administory-Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte. Since 2020, she serves as book review editor of the Journal of Global Slavery. She has been affiliated with international projects funded by the European Commission, the Max Planck Society, and CNPq/Brazil.
Dias Paes began researching the relation between law and slavery while she was in Law School. “It was during my masters, on freedom suits filed by enslaved people in Brazil, that I came to realize that the legal categories structuring these court cases and the legal arguments within them were the same ones used in land disputes. I decided to study this entanglement deeper during my Ph.D., and it became evident that the legal connection between property ownership and land ownership was mutually constitutive with broader economic and social relations. This was such a fascinating topic, that connected historiographical fields that do not often engage with each other, that I decided to pursue this topic further in the following years. For me, it is now clear that the history of slavery and land dispossession in the Global South is the basis of the current climate crisis.”
Asked to explain more about the collaborations that will emerge through the framework of this grant, Dias Paes said the project “will be fundamental to put my own individual research in perspective and access my results in a more complex fashion. When one is doing research individually, time and resources end up restricting the geographical and time scope of our work. Working collaboratively allows us to compare different contexts and thus understand with more complexity local process. Collaboration is fundamental to global and transnational research while allowing us to also conduct meticulous empirical research. Moreover, our project puts together researchers with different backgrounds, historians, and lawyers. This interdisciplinary collaboration will also deepen our debates and analysis. But our collaboration is not restricted to the project. We will also strengthen our partnerships with archival institutions in the Global South. In the age of digital humanities, it is urgent that we put forward debates on digital infrastructure and data sovereignty in Africa and Latin America. Digital humanities projects can both deepen the asymmetries between the Global South and the Global North or it can be an emancipatory tool, that broadens the access of Global South scholars to research infrastructures. Thus, we want our partnerships to be a laboratory on how to do digital humanities in the least asymmetrical way possible. Serious dialogue with our partners will be the key to achieving this goal.”
Learn more about the work of the three project leaders of “Land Dispossession, Inequality, and the Legacies of Slavery in Africa and Latin America” on their faculty pages:
The graduate research fellowships committee of the American Society for Environmental History has awarded doctoral candidate Anjuli Webster their 2023 Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship. Named in honor of Hal Rothman, recipient of ASEH’s 2006 Distinguished Service award and editor of Environmental History for many years, the fellowship carries an award of $1,000. The prize will help to support research for Webster’s dissertation, titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900” and advised by Drs. Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, Yanna Yannakakis, and Thomas D. Rogers.
Two History Department faculty members have received a grant from a program within the Emory Office of the Provost designed to foster research and scholarly work that advances social justice. Dr. Mariana P. Candido, Associate Professor, and Dr. Adriana Chira, Assistant Professor, are collaborating on a project titled “Land Dispossession, Inequality and the Legacies of Slavery in Africa and Latin America.” The project envisions the creation of an open-access digital resource on these themes, two undergraduate courses at Emory, and trips to Cuba and Puerto Rico. Read a fuller description of the initiative below, along with other projects funded through this program: “Emory awards funds for five faculty projects focused on arts and social justice.”
“This project, conducted in collaboration with Mariana Dias Paes at the Max Planck Institute for Law and Legal Theory, will study land dispossession in Africa and Latin America and establish an open-access digital resource that shares critical historical documents, transcripts, legal papers and other records relating to the topic. The grant also funds the creation of two undergraduate courses on the politics of development, rural transformation and food sovereignty that will combine a trip to Puerto Rico and Cuba with in-class instruction.“