Dr. Danielle Wiggins (PhD, 2018) on Black Progressives and the Democratic Party in ‘The Washington Post’

Recent doctoral program graduate Danielle Wiggins (PhD, 2018) authored an article in The Washington Post. Wiggins’ piece examines how Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1980s presidential campaigns laid the groundwork for contemporary black progressives in the Democratic party. Wiggins is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia. Read the article here: “The black progressives remaking the Democratic Party.”

Ruby Lal’s ‘Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan’ Published by W.W. Norton

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.

Ashley Parcells (PhD, ’18) Publishes Article in ‘The Journal of African History’

Dr. Ashley Parcells, Assistant Professor of History at Jacksonville University, published an article in the July 2018 edition of The Journal of African History. The piece is titled “Rural Development, Royal History, and the Struggle for Authority in Early Apartheid Zululand (1951-4).” Parcells, a former student of Clifton Crais, graduated in the spring of 2018. Check out the article abstract below and read the full piece here.

“From 1951, apartheid officials sought to implement soil rehabilitation programs in Nongoma, the home district of Zulu Paramount Chief Cyprian Bhekuzulu. This article argues that these programs brought to the surface fundamental questions about political authority in South Africa’s hinterland during the first years of apartheid. These questions arose from ambiguities within native policy immediately after the passage of the 1951 Bantu Authorities Act: while the power of chiefs during the colonial and segregationist era in Zululand had been tied to their control of native reserve land, in Nongoma, these development interventions threatened that prerogative at the very moment apartheid policy sought to strengthen ‘tribal’ governance. In response, the Zulu royal family in Nongoma called on treaties with the British from the conquest era, colonial law, and the very language of apartheid to reassert chiefly control over land, and more importantly, to negotiate this new apartheid political order.”

Dawn Peterson Receives Georgia Author of the Year Award

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.

‘The New York Times’ Reviews Crespino’s Biography of Atticus Finch

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.

Graduate Students Alexander Cors and Shari Wejsa Publish Blog Entries for HASTAC

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.

Alexander Cors

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.

Shari Wejsa 

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.