Film Produced by PhD Student Ayssa Yamagutchi Norek Takes Gold at Locarno

History Ph.D. student Ayssa Yamagutchi Norek produced, assistant directed, and wrote the lyrics to the short film “Neon Phantom,” which recently won the Pardino d’Oro SRG SSR for the Best International Short Film at the Locarno Film Festival. The festival is one of the five biggest in the world. “Neon Phantom” has been selected for other international festivals, including the Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara, Mexico. Norek’s graduate work centers on modern Brazil, women’s studies, and female incarceration. Her graduate advisors are Jeffrey Lesser and Thomas D. Rogers.

Fulbright Awards Support Research by Brunner and Steinman

Two History Department students have received research awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. PhD candidate Georgia Brunner will study and research gender, labor, and identity between 1918-1985 in the building of Rwanda. Undergraduate alum Jesse Steinman (21C), a history and German studies double major, was selected for the Fulbright Community-Based Combined Award in History for a project developing an interreligious educational program about Graz, Austria’s Jewish history. Read the full list of Emory students selected for Fulbright awards this season here.

‘Buried Truths’ Wins the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award

The latest season of the Emory course-related podcast “Buried Truths” has won the distinguished Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts from the American Bar Association. The podcast draws from an undergraduate course on Civil Rights Era Cold Cases taught by Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department. The most recent season of “Buried Truths” centers on the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man killed near Brunswick, Georgia, in February of 2020. The Emory News Center recently published a feature story on the podcast and the prize. Read an excerpt below along with the full article.

“What matters most to me is that we got it right and were able to say it clearly,” Klibanoff says. “It’s thrilling to be honored for having accomplished that in telling a story that is surrounded by complicated legal matters.”

Working with five Emory undergraduates, writer Richard Halicks and the production team at public radio station WABE, Klibanoff unearthed the centuries-long roots of Arbery’s killing in a story told across seven episodes.

Brunner Wins Fulbright for Research in Rwanda

Congratulations to doctoral candidate Georgia Brunner on being awarded a Fulbright to support her dissertation fieldwork in Rwanda. Brunner’s project is titled “Building a Nation: Gender, Colonialism, and the Struggle for a National Identity.” Her adviser is Dr. Clifton Crais, Professor of History. Read an abstract of Brunner’s project, as well as her plan of research and service activities for the year ahead, below.

At the intersection of gender studies, the history of empire, and the history of labor, this project elucidates the ways in which gender informed divergent nationalisms in late colonial and early postcolonial Rwanda. As migratory Rwandan men looked on from neighboring Uganda and Tanzania, women still in Rwanda were left with colonial forced labor obligations, building infrastructure and commercial coffee farms. Both conservative men abroad and liberal women at home thought of forced labor as an oppressive colonial regime but they had different visions for Rwanda’s future. While liberals, and liberal women in particular, hoped for reforms in education and voting rights, conservative men hoped to reinstate what they viewed as traditional norms — patriarchal nuclear families with women confined to the domestic sphere. These new nationalisms reveal the possibilities of late colonialism and the constraints of newly independent states. By investigating the gendered dynamics of labor and nationalism in late colonial Rwanda, this project adds crucial knowledge to the history of women in the formal economy, the creation of multiple nationalisms during decolonization processes, and the gendered politics of empires and postcolonial states.

Because of a close relationship with my host university, I have been planning a number of ways to engage with undergraduate and masters students. In talking with Father Balthazar Ntivuguruswa, the Vice Chancellor of my host institution The Catholic Institute of Kabayi, I have plans to work with social science masters students to create an oral history project and bank housed at the university based both on my own research and the interests of the students. Similarly, I have plans to work with undergraduate students at the university on English writing skills that will help them in finding internationally oriented jobs after graduating.

Rall Wins Scobie Award from Conference on Latin American History

Congratulations to graduate student Ursula Rall on receiving the James R. Scobie award from the Conference on Latin American History. The Scobie provides up to $1,500 for an exploratory research trip abroad to determine the feasibility of a Ph.D. dissertation topic dealing with some facet of Latin American history. Rall’s project is entitled, “The Spatial Mobility of African and Afro-Descended Women in the Colonial Spanish Americas.” Rall is advised by Drs. Yanna Yannakakis and Javier Villa-Flores. Read more about the project and Rall’s field research plans below.

The pre-dissertation research I plan to do this summer will explore the migration patterns of free and enslaved women of African descent in the seventeenth century centered on urban New Spain. Depending on travel restrictions and archive access, this research will either happen in Mexico City or within the United States at the Gilcrease Museum and Tulane University Library. This archival work will help determine the feasibility of my dissertation work, in which I plan to the trace patterns of spatial mobility of free and enslaved women of African descent and the social connections they made and maintained.

Cors and Goldmon Named Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows

Congratulations to doctoral candidates Alexander Cors and Camille J. Goldmon on being named 2021 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows. Cors and Goldmon are among 72 graduate students nationwide to receive the fellowship, which supports the next generation of humanistic scholars in their final year of dissertation research and writing. Cors’s project, titled “Newcomers and New Borders: Migration, Property Formation, and Conflict over Land along the Mississippi River, 1750-1820,” offers a new perspective on the “periodization and geographies of North American history by viewing colonial expansion, Indigenous dispossession, and the rise of the slave-plantation economy as interconnected processes that spanned across national and imperial boundaries.” Goldmon’s project, “On the Right Side of Radicalism: African American Farmers, Tuskegee Institute, and Agrarian Radicalism in the Alabama Black Belt, 1881–1940,” reexamines “historical figures typically dismissed as conservative, unprogressive, or even apathetic and positions them instead as harbingers of change responsive to the needs of local Black farmers.” Read more about their exciting work in the links above and browse the projects of the other fellows in the 2021 ACLS cohort.

Anderson Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, Department Chair, and Associated Faculty in the History Department, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Anderson was one of five Emory faculty elected to the American Academy this year, the highest number for a single year in the university’s history. Read the Emory News Center’s summary of Anderson’s work below, along with their article about all five newly-elected Emory faculty. Also see the American Academy’s press release to read about the entire cohort of 252 faculty members elected this year.

Anderson is a nationally recognized historian, educator and author whose research and teaching focus on the ways that policy is made and unmade, how racial inequality and racism affect that process and outcome, and how those who have taken the brunt of those laws, executive orders and directives have worked to shape, counter, undermine, reframe, and, when necessary, dismantle the legal and political edifice used to limit their rights and humanity.

Anderson is the author of “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy,” which was long-listed for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Galbraith Award in nonfiction. Her other books include “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation’s Divide,” a New York Times bestseller, Washington Post Notable Book of 2016 and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner; “Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955,” and “Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960.”

Anderson is the recipient of grants and fellowships sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, the National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She was awarded a 2018 fellowship in Constitutional Studies by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Her work as a public scholar includes serving on working groups dealing with race, minority rights and criminal justice at Stanford’s Center for Applied Science and Behavioral Studies, the Aspen Institute, the United Nations, and as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee. She also is on the advisory board of Partners for Dignity and Human Rights.

Dr. Abigail Meert (PhD, ’19) Wins NEH Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr. Abigail Meert, a 2019 PhD graduate in African history, on winning a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Meert received a summer stipend for her project “Suffering, Struggle, and the Politics of Legitimacy in Uganda, 1958–1996.” She will conduct archival research in Uganda and the United Kingdom along with semi-structured follow-up interviews with previous informants. The expected outcome of the research is an academic article as part of her book project on the Ugandan Civil War from 1981–1986. Meert is Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M International University.

Emory History Graduate Programs Highly Ranked by U.S. News’ 2022 Guide

The U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2022 edition of their “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guide. Numerous programs in the Laney Graduate School were ranked highly, including the History graduate program, which sits at 26th on the “Best History Programs” general list. The African History and Latin American History programs ranked seventh and tenth, respectively, among top programs focused on those specific regions. Other ranked Laney programs include: African-American literature (4th), American politics (18th), British literature (16th), comparative politics (20th), English (26th), international politics (18th), political methodology (14th), and political science (19th). Read more about the ranking of programs throughout the Emory campus here: “Emory’s graduate, professional schools ranked among best by U.S. News.”

Celebrating Senior Prize Winners for 2020-’21

The Undergraduate Committee recently announced the winners of senior prizes for 2020-’21. Congratulations to the recipients, listed below:

  • George P. Cuttino Prize for the best record in European History: Jesse Steinman
  • James Z. Rabun Prize for the best record in American History: Max Rotenberg & Melanie Dunn
  • The Latin America & Non-Western World Prize for best record in Latin America & Non-Western World History: Jacob DeFazio
  • Matthew A. Carter Citizen-Scholar Award: Ciara Murphy

These awards will be presented at the History Department’s virtual Senior Celebration on Wednesday, May 5, 2-3p (Zoom details to come). Browse past winners of the senior prizes here.