Congratulations to Jason Ward, acting professor of History, who recently authored a piece for Southern Spaces. The article reviews Melanie S. Morrison’s Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018). Read Ward’s article here: “Shades of Violence: Jim Crow Justice and Black-Resistance in the Depression-Era South.”
Professor of South Asian Studies Ruby Lal recently published Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan with W.W. Norton. Lal is Associated Faculty in the History Department. The biography charts the ascendance of the empress in 17th Century India and her unprecedented rule over the vast Mughal empire. Read a more detailed description of the book below along with Lal’s recent article about it on the BBC, “The Mughal queen who became a feminist icon.”
Four centuries ago, a Muslim woman ruled an empire.
When it came to hunting, she was a master shot. As a dress designer, few could compare. An ingenious architect, she innovated the use of marble in her parents’ mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River that inspired her stepson’s Taj Mahal. And she was both celebrated and reviled for her political acumen and diplomatic skill, which rivaled those of her female counterparts in Europe and beyond.
In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and most cherished wife of the Emperor Jahangir. While other wives were secluded behind walls, Nur ruled the vast Mughal Empire alongside her husband, and governed in his stead as his health failed and his attentions wandered from matters of state. An astute politician and devoted partner, Nur led troops into battle to free Jahangir when he was imprisoned by one of his own officers. She signed and issued imperial orders, and coins of the realm bore her name.
Acclaimed historian Ruby Lal uncovers the rich life and world of Nur Jahan, rescuing this dazzling figure from patriarchal and Orientalist clichés of romance and intrigue, and giving new insight into the lives of women and girls in the Mughal Empire, even where scholars claim there are no sources. Nur’s confident assertion of authority and talent is revelatory. In Empress, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.
Jeffrey Lesser, Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History, recently commented about a leading candidate in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election for a Time magazine article. Read an excerpt below in addition to the full article by Matt Sandy, “Jair Bolsonaro Loves Trump, Hates Gay People and Admires Autocrats. He Could Be Brazil’s Next President.”
Despite Bolsonaro’s prior support for military rule, analysts agree that a coup is unlikely in Brazil. But few believe the country would be unaffected by a Bolsonaro presidency. “[It] would be revolutionary for contemporary Brazilian society,” says Jeffrey Lesser, director of the Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning at Emory University. “There is little doubt that if elected, he would seek to diminish checks and balances.”
Emory History Department faculty, alumni, and current students are among the presenting authors at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. 2018 marks the first year that Emory University is a presenting sponsor. See the presentations of authors associated with the History Department below, and explore the full schedule here.
- Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of History and History Department Chair. “Atticus Finch: A Biography.” Sept. 2, 3:45-4:30 p.m., Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary.
- Ruby Lal, Professor of South Asian History, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and Associated Faculty in History. “Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan.” Sept. 1, 3-3:45 p.m., Marriott Conference Center B.
- Hank Klibanoff, Professor of Practice, Creative Writing. “Understanding our Painful Past: Investigating the Impact of Lynchings Through Voice and Prose.” Sept. 1, 5:30-6:15 p.m., Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary.
- Edward Hatfield, Managing Editor of the “New Georgia Encyclopedia.” Hatfield will introduce Joseph Crespino. Sept. 2, 3:45-4:30 p.m., Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary.
- Michelle Oppong-Ampofo, Poet, Emory College Junior, and History Department Work-Study Student. Oppong-Ampofo will read her poetry on Sunday, Sept. 2, 4:40-6 p.m.
Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies Carol Anderson recently authored an opinion piece in The New York Times. Anderson discusses the record of voter suppression by Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state since 2010 and currently the Republican nominee for governor. Read the full article: “Brian Kemp, Enemy of Democracy: An expert on voter suppression, he will help keep Georgia red.”
Congratulations to Assistant Professor of History Dawn Peterson for being named the 54th Annual Georgia Author of the Year in the category of History/Biography. Peterson received the prize for her monograph Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion (Harvard University Press, 2017). The award committee offered the following appraisal of Peterson’s work:
Indians in the Family is an important and compelling history that explores the adoption of Native American youth by whites during the period of antebellum expansion, unveiling how Natives, and the whites who ultimately sought to displace them, used adoption to achieve divergent agendas. Peterson’s eloquent account draws upon archival records to piece together the various motives that inspired this phenomenon. Indians in the Family’s readers will find stories about whites who adopted Native children, and Native families and communities—stories that uniquely illuminate how “family,” nation-building, race-making, slavery, resistance, and expansion, factor in this this little-known chapter in America’s history. In the end, Peterson concludes, “For U.S. whites, the politics of adoption in post-Revolutionary North America was a family story that sought to mask the violence of U.S. territorial expansion, Indian dispossession, and African American servitude” while “For Native people, the placement of children within white homes was a way to support indigenous families and maintain indigenous sovereignty.”
Read about other Georgia Author of the Year award winners here. Also check out a recent interview Peterson gave for the History Department website.
Journalist Howell Raines published a review of Jospeh Crespino’s newest book, Atticus Finch: The Biography—Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon (Basic Books, 2018). Crespino, who is the Jimmy Carter Professor of History, specializes in twentieth-century U.S. history and the history of the South since Reconstruction. Read Raines’ review, “Harper Lee and Her Father, the Real Atticus Finch,” here.