Update from Kate Armstrong

Kate Armstrong and her family celebrate her May graduation.

Kate Armstrong, Ph.D. 2011, writes that she is thrilled to have completed her doctorate, directed by Professor James Roark. The dissertation is entitled, “Thy Will Lord, Not Mine: Parents, Grief, and Child Death in the Antebellum South.” The research for her project took her to archives in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. It was supported by fellowships from Duke University’s Sallie Bingham Center, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Historical Collection, and Emory. The dissertation investigates the emotions and experiences of planter-class parents of the Old South as they grieved the death of a child, and argues that southern parents’ profound difficulty aligning their feelings of loss with the expectations of their society–particularly the expectation that parents must resign themselves to God’s will–defined their grief. Although Kate is looking forward to revising her thesis for publication, she is also happy to focus on her own, very healthy child for a little while as she figures out her next career move.