Dr. Joseph Crespino on “Go Set a Watchman” in ‘The New York Times’

Professor Joseph Crespino published the following article in The New York Times on July 16: “”Go Set a Watchman,’ released to much fanfare this week, may have been an apprentice work for Harper Lee’s classic 1960 novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ but, in a way, the earlier book seems more sophisticated. It offers a subtle and surprising exploration of racial politics, and not merely because of the racist comments of Atticus Finch, one of the most beloved figures in American literature.” Crespino is the author of Strom Thurmond’s America (Hill & Wang, 2012).

Alumni Update: Alexander Colonna (BA, 1998)

A graduate of Emory and former history major, Alexander Colonna is now an acute care surgeon at the University of Utah. He is also completing a Master of Science in Clinic Investigation, with a thesis/project titled “Measuring Sleep in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.” Among his responsibilities is leading in the teaching of 4th year medical students that do sub-internships at the University of Utah.

Alexander’s eldest son turns 6 in November and is starting kindergarten next week. His daughter just turned three, and his youngest is now four months old. He became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons last year. In addition, he is in the Army Reserves and has served in Iraq in 2011 and Afghanistan in 2013. Alexander’s wife Sarah is also faculty at the University of Utah, currently serving as a clinical instructor in the Oncology department. Soon to be promoted to assistant professor, she is in the MSCI program but will be finished with it this academic year.

Alexander and his wife are busy but couldn’t be happier!

Erica Sterling (BA, ’15) Selected for John Lewis Fellowship

A recent graduate of Emory and former history major (doubled with Psychology), Erica Sterling recently was selected to receive the new John Lewis Fellowship. Read more about Erica and the fellowship here, or check out this brief description from the Emory News Center:

Three Emory students have been selected to receive the John Lewis Fellowship, a new human-rights focused educational program launched in partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) and Humanity in Action (HIA), Inc., an international educational organization.

Students and recent graduates from 119 universities applied for the new fellowship — named for civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis — which brings an inaugural class of 20 American and 10 European scholars to Atlanta this summer for a four-week program that explores the history and contemporary politics of diversity and minority rights in the United States.

Dr. James V.H. Melton Publishes ‘Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier’

James V.H. Melton, Professor of History, has published a new monograph with Cambridge University Press titled Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier. See below for a description of the new work.

This book tells the story of Ebenezer, a frontier community in colonial Georgia founded by a mountain community fleeing religious persecution in its native Salzburg. This study traces the lives of the settlers from the alpine world they left behind to their struggle for survival on the southern frontier of British America. Exploring their encounters with African and indigenous peoples with whom they had had no previous contact, this book examines their initial opposition to slavery and why they ultimately embraced it. Transatlantic in scope, this study will interest readers of European and American history alike.

Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier

Dr. David Eltis Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Congratulations to Dr. David Eltis, who was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A brief profile of Dr. Eltis’ storied career was published by the Emory News Center and is reproduced below:

David Eltis, professor of history emeritus, joined the Emory faculty in 2002 and served as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History for the next decade. His research focuses on the early modern Atlantic world, slavery and migration, and he is considered one of the foremost authorities on these issues. Eltis is co-editor of the Transatlantic Slave Trade database (www.slavevoyages.org), a groundbreaking free and interactive Web-based resource that documents the slave trade from Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Growing out of the Voyages database research, Eltis served as principal investigator of a three-year National Endowment for the Humanities collaborative project on the origins of Africans pulled into the transatlantic slave trade. The African Origins Project draws on the records of 92,000 names (taken down pre-orthographically) and descriptions of Africans liberated from slave vessels in the first half of the 19th century. The information was extracted from the registers of international courts created to adjudicate vessels detained as they engaged in the transatlantic slave trade.

Eltis is the author of “Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” (1987), which won the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize, and “The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas” (2000), awarded the Frederick Douglass Prize, the John Ben Snow Prize and the Wesley-Logan Prize. His “Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” (2010), co-authored with David Richardson, won four prizes including the American Publishers Award for the most outstanding scholarly work in all disciplines of the arts and sciences. He has edited and co-edited numerous scholarly collections and published over 80 research essays, including five in the American Historical Review.

A research associate since 1993 at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, Eltis is completing work on creating sustainability for the Voyages website.

Daniel LaChance Publishes Article in ‘The Conversation’

Professor LaChance, Assistant Professor in the Emory History Department, published an article in The Conversation titled “Utah’s firing squad plan is another twist in America’s long quest for a perfect execution method.”

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Shooting people kills them more quickly and reliably than electrocuting, gassing, or poisoning them. But it’s harder to watch or read about than lethal injection.

The raw violence of the act puts it at odds with the aesthetic values that have historically shaped the development of capital punishment in the United States. Guns uncomfortably blur the line between the righteous violence of the state and the lawless violence of the criminal. The gun is, historically speaking, the only instrument of execution that is also commonly used by criminals. Its use in executions reminds us of a past in which there was less of a distinction between the state that carried out the law and those it punished.

Indeed, in its jarring loudness, its bloodiness, and its mutilating effects on the body, execution by firing squad comes much closer to expressing the “eye for an eye” logic that has long stoked Americans’ demand for the death penalty, but that has, since the nineteenth century, been carefully excised from its actual administration.

That, in the end, is what is most newsworthy about Utah’s decision to return to the gun. In the violent imagery it conjures, execution by firing squad has the power to remind Americans of a simple truth that lethal injection has, for a long time, made it easy for them to forget: executions are acts of extreme, body-mutilating violence.

PhD Alumnus Alex Borucki and Dr. David Eltis Co-Publish Article in the American Historical Review

Emory History Department PhD Alumnus Alex Borucki co-wrote and published “Atlantic History and the Slave Trade to Spanish America” in The American Historical Review with Dr. David Eltis of Emory and Dr. David Wheat of Michigan State. The article can be found here.

Borucki is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Borucki’s From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in the Río de la Plata will be published by University of New Mexico Press in 2015. He is also the author of Abolicionismo y tráfico de esclavos en Montevideo tras la fundación republicana (Biblioteca Nacional, 2009) and co-author, with Karla Chagas and Natalia Stalla, of Esclavitud y trabajo: Un estudio sobre los afrodescendientes en la frontera uruguaya(Pulmón Ediciones, 2004.

David Eltis is Emeritus faculty at Emory and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia. Among many publications, he is the author of Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Oxford University Press, 1987) and The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and co-author, with David Richardson, of the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Yale University Press, 2010). Along with Paul Lachance and Martin Halbert, he is the co-creator of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, an open-access website containing an interactive database of more than 35,000 slave voyages that has led to major advancements in the understanding of this traffic.