Second-year graduate students Alexander Cors and Shari Wejsa are the two 2017-18 HASTAC Scholars at Emory’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Cors and Wejsa recently published entries on the blog of HASTAC, which stands for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory. Check out links to their recent posts and read their HASTAC biographies below.
My research interests broadly encompass transatlantic history in the early modern period, from 1450 to 1850. Geographically, my focus is on Latin America and Europe. I am particularly interested in colonial Louisiana, the circum-Caribbean, and Bourbon Spain.
My current project investigates migration and settlement patterns, immigration policies, and discourses on foreigners in eighteenth-century Louisiana. I am particularly concerned with questions of ethnicity, integration, and identity in the early modern transatlantic empires of France and Spain. I am also interested in Digital Humanities, especially the use of GIS technology to create ethnolinguistic maps of the eighteenth-century Mississippi Valley.
As a PhD student in Latin American history, I study the experiences of Angolan and Mozambican immigrants and refugees in Brazil in the postcolonial period. I examine how their migratory experiences have shaped their identities as they adapted to Brazil while remaining connected to their countries of origin. I also explore how international human rights law and evolving immigration policies have affected the lives of these migrants. My research interests are an extension of my Fulbright Commission-sponsored work on Brazil’s National Truth Commission, which investigated the human rights violations committed during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), and the inequities of educational access for Afro-Brazilian girls and women in Bahia. As an educator, I seek to cultivate critical thinking on issues of human rights and social justice while advocating for active engagement as transformative power.
History Department Chair Jeffrey Lesser recently commented on the expanding use of DNA tests to chart an individuals’ ancestry in The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The article, titled “Do popular DNA tests like 23andMe, Ancestry actually work?” explores the motivations for taking these tests and the results they provide. Lesser, a specialist in immigration and ethnicity, asserted that “There are lots of different ways of understanding heritage. I think as historians, we’re interested in why people believe what they do, which is quite different than saying that people are something.” Read the full article here.
Dr. Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of History, wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal entitled “Who is the Real Atticus Finch?” The piece explores competing interpretations of Harper Lee’s protagonist as a champion of justice or racist in the context of an adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. Crespino is the author of Atticus Finch: The Biography — Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon (Basic Books, 2018). Read the full piece (paywall protected) here.
History alumnus Preston Hogue recently published a revised version of his undergraduate honors thesis on Atlanta Studies. The multimedia piece is entitled, “The Tie that Binds: White Church Response to Neighborhood Racial Change in Atlanta, 1960-1985.” Hogue graduated with highest honors as a joint major in Religion and History in Spring 2013.
On March 26th Emory University will host a campus-wide event on the roles of the interdisciplinary humanities and liberal arts at Emory and the future of the interdisciplinary humanities in higher education and society more broadly. Featured participants include President Claire E. Sterk, Provost Dwight A. McBride, Earl Lewis, the outgoing President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Mariët Westermann, the Executive Vice President of the Mellon Foundation. History faculty Daniel LaChance and Pablo Palomino (a historian at Emory Oxford), both Mellon Faculty Fellows, are featured participants at the conference. Read more about the conference and other participants here.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship a $300,000 grant to support the updating and expansion of Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. Robert W. Woodruff Emeritus Professor of History David Elits and Professor of History Allen E. Tullos are co-directors of the project. The funding will specifically fund the development of “People of the Atlantic Slave Trade” (PAST), a new feature of the database and website focused on the biographies of historical figures linked to the slave trade. Read more about the grant at the Emory News Center.
History News Network Features Editor Yoni Anijar recently profiled Patrick N. Allitt, Cahoon Family Professor of American History, in an article titled “The Historian Who Denies Climate Change? Not so Fast.” The piece discusses (and refutes) accusations that Allitt is a denier of climate change, a misreading of his recent work A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism (Penguin, 2014). Read the full piece here.