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.”

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.”

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.

Lipstadt Front and Center amid Biden Administration’s Effort to Combat Antisemitism

Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies and the US Ambassador to monitor and combat antisemitism, was front and center at the recent release of the Biden Administration’s plan to combat rising hate, bias, and violence against Jews. The first-of-its-kind policy, dubbed the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, outlines more than 100 steps that the US government and other stakeholders can take to combat antisemitism. Lipstadt participated in the unveiling of the strategy at the White House alongside Doug Emhoff, spouse of Vice President Kamala Harris, White House domestic policy advisor Susan Rice, and homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall. Lipstadt described the strategy as a “historic moment in the modern fight against what’s known as the world’s oldest hatred.” Read more about the plan and the event via the AP News article “Biden releases new strategy to tackle rise in antisemitism, says ‘hate will not prevail’.”

Allitt Offers Historical Context on Charles’s Coronation Ceremony

Dr. Patrick N. Allitt, Cahoon Professor of American History, was quoted early last month in a HuffPost article in the lead up to the coronation of King Charles of England. A native of England and specialist in American intellectual, environmental, and religious history as well as Victorian Britain, Allitt offered historical context for one of the key aspects of the ceremony: the king’s anointing. This part of the ceremony is both the most sacred and the most shrouded in secrecy. Read an excerpt of Allitt’s comments below along with the full article here: “We Won’t Even Get To See The Most Sacred Part Of King Charles’ Coronation.”

Patrick Allitt, a professor of American history at Atlanta’s Emory University, elaborated further on the anointing, telling HuffPost by email Thursday that “the idea is that the monarch is appointed not by the people but by God.” It’s a notion that he said “was held with special force in the 1600s.”

“I don’t suppose that anyone still believes that God chooses the king, but the British monarch is still the head of the Church of England,” Allitt said. “The secrecy surrounding the anointing is a way of emphasizing that it is the symbol of a contract between king and God rather than king and people.”

New Center for Native and Indigenous Studies to Launch in Fall 2023 with Lowery as Director

In the fall of 2023 the Emory College of Arts and Sciences will launch the new Center for Native and Indigenous Studies. Cahoon Professor of American History Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery will serve as the director of the new center, which will also receive support from Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Center for the Study of Race and Difference. The center emerges from – and aims to deepen – a unique collaborative partnership between Emory and the College of the Muscogee Nation (CMN) in Oklahoma centered on the advancement of Native and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) and the preservation of the Mvskoke language. Lowery, who is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, is the author, most recently, of The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle (UNC Press, 2018). Read a quote from Dr. Lowery about the new center below, and learn more via the Emory News Center article “New Center for Native and Indigenous Studies set to launch in fall 2023.”

“The launch of the Center for Native and Indigenous Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences will further our partnership with the College of the Muscogee Nation,” says Lowery. “Emory has an incredible opportunity to learn from CMN’s degree program in Native American studies as we develop a new approach for scholarship, teaching and collaboration that centers Indigenous knowledge and values. This approach will advance cutting-edge scholarship and pedagogy in ways that will also promote an education that heals the trauma of dispossession and forced assimilation.”   

Anderson Discusses the Significance of the Past in Our Present with President Fenves

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.

Goldstein Quoted in CNN Article `What does it mean to be Jewish in the US?`

Dr. Eric L. Goldstein, Associate Professor in the History Department and Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, was recently quoted in a CNN article “What does it mean to be Jewish in the US?” Drawing on his 2006 book The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity (Princeton UP), Goldstein offers extensive context on the histories of migration, assimilation, and racial identity among Jews in the U.S. The author of the article, Harmeet Kaur, connects those histories to the present, including the rising tide of public expressions of antisemitism globally. Read an excerpt from the article below, along with the full piece here: “What does it mean to be Jewish in the US?

Despite greater acceptance, Goldstein said Jews in the US didn’t just “become White.” Jewish inclusion into the White mainstream was conditional – accessing the benefits that come with being part of the dominant population often came at the expense of maintaining a distinct ethnic identity. And though society was beginning to see them as White, Jews didn’t necessarily see themselves as that way given their long history of marginalization. So, as they achieved a more secure position in American society, some asserted their differences.

“There was a clash between experiencing this exceptional level of integration and then thinking of yourself as part of an oppressed minority group,” Goldstein added. “There’s always been that contradiction in Jewish identity.”

Anderson Quoted in NPR Article on “Tennessee Three”

George Walker IV/AP

Dr. Carol Anderson was recently quoted in a NPR article about the expulsion of two Black legislators, Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) and Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville), from the Tennessee State House of Representatives. Pearson and Jones joined an act of nonviolent civil disobedience on the House floor calling for gun safety legislation in the wake of the April 2023 shooting at Nashville’s the Covenant School. Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville), a white legislator who also participated in the protest, was spared expulsion by a single vote. Anderson provides illuminating context about the racial and racist dimension of this episode. Read an excerpt from the NPR article below along with the full piece here: “Power, race, and fragile democracy in Tennessee.”

Racism was also coursing through the words spoken and the tone taken towards the two young Black legislators, says Carol Anderson. She says the formal rules of the expulsion hearings barely concealed a simmering rage on the part of white legislators.

“White rage is all about putting you back in your place,” Anderson says.

“White rage demands that people of color, and women, stay in their place in the racial structure and the patriarchal structure,” she says.