Upcoming Event Brings National Public Humanities Leaders into Conversation

On Friday, March 24, Emory will host an event titled “New Directions and New Opportunities in Public Humanities” in the Jones Room. The event will feature presentations from Atlanta organizations hosting Emory graduate student interns (including History doctoral student Ayssa Yamaguti Norek), in the morning, and three national humanities leaders in the afternoon. Dr. Thomas D. Rogers, Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History, has helped to convene this gathering and spearhead public humanities initiatives at Emory more broadly. He will participate in the afternoon roundtable discussion.

The morning session includes representatives from the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Alliance Theatre, and Charis Books, along with the interns working at those organizations (from Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and History). For the afternoon sessions, the guests include Antoinette Burton of the University of Illinois and Humanities Without Walls; Michelle May-Curry of the National Humanities Alliance and Georgetown University; and Teresa Mangum of the University of Iowa and Humanities for the Public Good. They will present about their work and then participate in a roundtable conversation. The event organizers hope to generate ideas about public humanities approaches and practices, rooted in work happening here and in projects around the country.

Doctoral Student Anjuli Webster Receives Dissertation Fellowship from the American Society for Environmental History

Anjuli Webster

The graduate research fellowships committee of the American Society for Environmental History has awarded doctoral candidate Anjuli Webster their 2023 Hal Rothman Dissertation Fellowship. Named in honor of Hal Rothman, recipient of ASEH’s 2006 Distinguished Service award and editor of Environmental History for many years, the fellowship carries an award of $1,000. The prize will help to support research for Webster’s dissertation, titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900” and advised by Drs. Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, Yanna Yannakakis, and Thomas D. Rogers.

Billups Publishes Business History of Koinonia Farm in the ‘Journal of Southern History’

Photo from the Koinonia Farm today

Doctoral candidate Robert Billups published an article in the Journal of Southern History, titled “The Cost of Civil Rights: White Supremacist Violence and Economic Resistance against Koinonia Farm during the Civil Rights Era.” The piece offers a unique look at Koinonia Farm, a Christian agricultural community founded in the post-WWII era in southwestern Georgia. By the mid-1950s, Koinonia Farm had grown into a large, self-sustaining interracial commune and commercial farm. Whereas most studies have emphasized the place’s religious and cultural life, Billups’s article offers a deep dive into the financial history of Koinonia, particularly how the farm survived a business climate hostile to its antiracist, pro-Civil Rights positions. Billups is completing his dissertation, “‘Reign of Terror’: Anti–Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955–1971,” under the advisement of Drs. Joseph Crespino and Allen Tullos.

TIJS Highlights Recent PhD Graduate Anastasiia Strakhova

Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies (TIJS) published a feature story on recent doctoral graduate student Anastasiia Strakhova, whose work TJIS supported throughout her graduate career. Strakhova completed her dissertation, titled “Selective Emigration: Border Control and the Jewish Escape in Late Imperial Russia, 1881-1914,” in 2022 under the advisement of Dr. Eric Goldstein and Dr. Ellie R. Schainker. This spring Strakhova is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. Read an excerpt from the TJIS feature below, along with the full article: “Recent TJIS Graduate Highlight: Anastasiia Strakhova.”

“My research interest evolved gradually,” Dr. Anastasiia Strakhova explains when asked about her scholarly development. After getting her BA in her home city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, and then her MA from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, Dr. Strakhova traveled to the United States to continue her education. While studying Yiddish in New York, Dr. Strakhova found her curiosity about Jewish migration. “I was so fascinated about the attachment that Jews felt to the United States, and the romanticization of the old country… And then I got very interested in seeing the archives and reading about the way that people were living [at that time in history].” Dr. Strakhova’s dissertation addresses late Imperial Russian migration policies through the prism of racialization and criminalization of Jews.

Doctoral Student Anjuli Webster to Present at Brown U. Workshop “Rivers on the Move”

The Mississippi River

History doctoral student Anjuli Webster was recently accepted to an international workshop at Brown University in June of 2023. Titled “Rivers on the Move,” the event will bring together environmental historians, hydrologists, and other historically-minded humanists and natural scientists to understand better how past and contemporary riparian change relate to social and political shifts, from economic development to legal frameworks. The workshop will result in an edited volume of interdisciplinary essays that aim to appeal to a wide range of riverine scholars and students. “Rivers on the Move” is organized by Bathsheba DemuthMark Healey, Giacomo Parrinello, and Larry Smith, with support from the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, in collaboration with the project Shifting Shores, funded by an Emergence(s) grant of the City of Paris. Webster is currently conducting fieldwork for her dissertation, titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900.”

Graduate Student Stephanie N. Bryan Publishes Piece on Opossums and Jim Crow Politics in ‘Southern Spaces’

Virginia opossums on an American persimmon tree. Lithograph by Wm. E. Hitchcock. Published in John James Audubon’s The Quadrupeds of North America (New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849), No. 14, Plate LXVI. Image is in the public domain.

Doctoral student Stephanie N. Bryan recently published an article in Southern Spaces. Titled “‘The Emblem of North American Fraternity’: Opossums and Jim Crow Politics,” the piece examines the cultural meanings behind opossum hunting and consumption during Jim Crow apartheid among freed people of African descent and whites throughout the South. An editorial associate for Southern Spaces, Bryan is producing a dissertation on the ways in which marginalized plant and animal species indigenous to the southeastern US—such as opossums, persimmons, muscadines, and pokeweed—survived and sometimes thrived amid destructive land use and entered into diets, cultures, economies, and politics. Drs. Allen Tullos and Patrick Allitt serve as Bryan’s dissertation advisers. An earlier version of Bryan’s Southern Spaces article was a highly-recommended piece by the committee that grants the Sophie Coe Prize, which is the longest-running and most generous prize for writing in food history in the English language, given once a year for an essay or article of up to 10,000 words on any aspect of the history of food. 

Webster to Present at “Oceans Disconnect” International Workshop in Munich

Poster for Oceans Disconnect Workshop

Graduate student Anjuli Webster will present at an upcoming workshop in Munich, Germany, titled “Oceans Disconnect.” The conference has been convened by David Armitage (Harvard), Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge), and Roland Wenzlhuemer (LMU Munich). Webster will present a paper titled, “Liquid stasis: How European empires used the ocean to enclose Maputo Bay.” Webster’s dissertation, advised by Drs. Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, Yanna Yannakakis, and Thomas D. Rogers, is titled “Fluid Empires: Histories of Environment and Sovereignty in southern Africa, 1750-1900.”

Emory Launches African-American Studies PhD Program

Flyer for new doctoral program in African American Studies.

Emory has launched a new doctoral program in African American Studies, the first of its kind in the U.S. Southeast. The interdisciplinary program will draw on the expertise of more than 50 scholars across schools at Emory, including from the College’s Department of History. Dr. Walter C. Rucker, Professor of African American Studies and History, will serve as core faculty in the program and as the Director of Graduate Studies. The program will be built around four of the pillars of African American Studies: interdisciplinarity, intersectionality, community engagement, and transnationalism. The first cohort of four doctoral students is expected to begin in the fall of 2023. Read more information about the program on the AAS website, as well as in the following coverage in the press:

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Supports Billups’ Research on Anti-Busing Violence

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation has awarded doctoral candidate Robert Billups a travel research grant to support two weeks of research in their collections. Centered on anti-busing violence in the 1970s, the research will inform the final chapter of Billups’ dissertation, titled “‘Reign of Terror’: Anti–Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955–1976.” Drs. Joseph Crespino and Allen Tullos advise Billups’ dissertation.

Billups Receives Wardlaw Fellowship for Texas Studies from Baylor University

Graduate student Robert Billups has received the Wardlaw Fellowship for Texas Studies from Baylor University Libraries. The fellowship provides up to $1,500 to a visiting scholar or researcher who wishes to use the holdings of Baylor’s Texas Collection. Billups will conduct three weeks of research that will inform his dissertation, “‘Reign of Terror’: Anti–Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955–1976,” as well as a future article about international patterns of antisemitism.