Jeffrey Lesser Discusses Prison Conditions in Brazil in Wake of Massacre

Dr. Jeffrey Lesser contributed to a July 30 article in Al Jazeera about a prison massacre in the Brazilian state of Pará that left 57 inmates dead. Lesser is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research. Read his quote from the article below along with the full piece: “Scores killed in Brazil prison riot; 16 decapitated.”

“The prisons themselves are the opposite of rehabilitation. They are taking young people and making them into hardened criminals and that is in part because Brazil has in some ways an extremely weak state and because the state is weak, the criminal gangs expand.” – Jeffrey Lesser

Carol Anderson on the Racial Past of the University of Missouri

Dr. Carol Anderson, Samuel Candler Dobbs professor and chair of African American Studies here at Emory, recently authored a piece in The Conversation titled “The long and troubled racial past of Mizzou.” Professor Anderson’s article draws on her experience as a professor at the University of Missouri (1996-2008), along with her research and teaching expertise on public policy and the ways that domestic and international policies intersect through the issues of race, justice and equality in the United States.

Experimental Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship Supports Innovative Research Co-Led by Jeffrey Lesser

The Emory News Center recently published a profile of a research project co-led by Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor History. Lesser and research partner Uriel Kitron, Goodrich C. White Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, are examining “how the dynamics of human migration, disease transmission and access to health care have impacted a vibrant immigrant neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil — one of the world’s largest megalopolises.” Check out the full article here.

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Mark Ravina on Posing New Questions through Digital Humanities

Dr. Mark Ravina recently authored a post on Digital Humanities Now titled “Smooth and Rough on the Highways of France.” Named an “Editor’s Choice,” the post examines how quantitative methods, in this case data visualization, can assist in posing new historical questions. Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be found in full here.

One way to conceptualize this complementarity [between social science and humanistic methods] is John Tukey’s observation that “data = smooth + rough,” or, in more common parlance, quantitative analysis seeks to separate patterns and outliers. In a traditional social science perspective, the focus is on the “smooth,” or the formal model, and the corresponding ability to make broad generalizations. Historians, by contrast, often write acclaimed books and articles on the “rough,” single exceptional cases. These approaches are superficially opposite, but there is an underlying symbiosis: we need to find the pattern before we can find the outliers. 

Brett Gadsden at AJC Decatur Book Festival and in ‘The Christian Science Monitor’

Brett Gadsden, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at Emory, recently joined best-selling novelist Greg Iles and Emory colleague Hank Klibanoff for a panel at the AJC Decatur Book Festival on cold cases from the Civil Rights era. Professor Gadsden teaches a course that involves undergraduates investigating cold cases in Georgia. The Christian Science Monitor published a feature on the panel and the work of the three panelists. The article can be found here.

When Sugarcane Meets Oil: Tom Rogers’ Summer Research

Tom Rogers, Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History, spent the summer of 2015 conducting research in Southeastern Brazil. Rogers’ inquiry spanned from research in secret police and labor court archives to oral histories with local union leaders. The project examines agricultural transformation in late-twentieth-century Brazil with a particular focus on the nation’s 1975 National Alcohol Program that encouraged ethanol production from sugarcane. The Office of the Provost recently profiled Rogers’ research and teaching, which typify Emory’s teacher-scholar model and “focused international activity in Emory’s global strategies.” The article can be read in full here or by clicking on the image below.


Slave Voyages, through a Digital Lens: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Receives Recognition and Support

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade database, accessible at, received a Digital Humanities Implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) this year. The international project is lead by Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History Emeritus David Eltis, who teamed up with co-editors at the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship to enhance the website through funds provided by the NEH. The Voyages project was recently featured on the news page for the Office of the Provost at Emory. You can read the full article here or by clicking on the image below.