In early December 2019 leading scholars of the African diaspora and slavery will gather at Emory University for a conference entitled “Archival Lives.” The conference is organized by Adriana Chira (Assistant Professor, History), Clifton Crais (Professor, History and Director, African Studies), and Walter C. Rucker (Professor, History and African American Studies). The History Department is a co-sponsor of the conference, which will feature multiple current and emeritus faculty along with PhD program alumni. Read more about the event on the website for Emory’s Institute for African Studies: “Archival Lives Conference.”
Assistant Professor Carl Suddler was recently interviewed by Rose Scott, host of the WABE (one of Atlanta’s NPR affiliates) show “Closer Look.” Suddler discussed his new book, Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York (NYU Press, 2019). Listen to the full show, “Closer Look: The History of Black Youth & The Criminal Justice System,” and check out the recent new faculty profile of Dr. Suddler.
Assistant Professor of History Dr. Carl Suddler was recently interviewed by Diverse Issues in Higher Education about his new book, Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York. New York University Press published the book earlier this year. Lamont Jones wrote the piece for Diverse, entitled “Emory History Professor’s New Book Probes Black Youth, Criminal Justice.” Read an excerpt below, in which Suddler discusses the book’s cover photo, along with the full article here.
What’s the story behind that compelling cover photo?
[Suddler] “I love the cover image for several reasons. It’s a photo from 1966 Brooklyn. The patrolmen in the backdrop are amongst the 1,500 that were assigned to the neighborhood and, what I often like to point out, is the ‘diversity’ amongst the ranks. There is no information related to the ages of the boys in the image, but you can gather that they are all relatively young, especially the youngster peering out into the camera from the hole in the fence. At its core, however, I feel this image captures the crux of the book – and the heart of the problem today – and that is how normal the over-policing of Black and Brown communities has become. The boys continue to play ball; the officers continue to stand pat. Their proximity does not appear to phase the youngsters. However, we all know too well that increased interactions with the police often lead to increased arrest rates, arrest rates dictate ‘crime’ statistics, and as a country – because we have yet to figure out a better alternative – we rely on crime statistics to make sense of who is ‘presumed criminal.’ Whether or not they committed a crime becomes moot.”
Assistant Professor Carl Suddler recently wrote a piece in The Washington Post commenting on the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” which chronicles the story of five teenagers — the so-called Central Park Five — forced to confess to a rape they did not commit in 1989. Suddler is the author of Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York, to be published by NYU press in July of 2019. Read the full piece, “How the Central Park Five expose the fundamental injustice in our legal system,” along with the excerpt below.
“When They See Us” sheds new light on this old tale and aims to create change. DuVernay’s miniseries joins the decades-long efforts by activists to humanize the Central Park Five beyond the numeric moniker. It also, perhaps most notably, has inspired the next generation of social justice activists committed to working to overturn wrongful convictions and to reigniting mainstream discussions about criminal injustices in America’s legal system, in the hope of achieving an overhaul of the system.
Dr. Kylie M. Smith is Assistant Professor and the Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing and the Humanities. In the spring of 2019, Smith taught a freshman seminar in History entitled “Madness in America: A History from Lunancy to Mass Incarceration.” The Emory School of Nursing just published an insightful profile of Smith’s research and teaching: “A Different Set of Tools: Using the humanities to understand nursing’s role in social justice.” Read the full profile and see the description of the course below.
History 190: “Madness in America: A History from Lunancy to Mass Incarceration”
In this course we will explore the history of approaches to mental illness in the US, and consider the impact of this history for current issues in mental health. Topic areas include the culture of asylums, slavery and psychiatry, changing definitions and treatment practices, depictions of madness in popular culture, Civil Rights and patient rights, and trauma, war and the role of psychiatry in social control. We will visit the archives to explore journalist’s exposes and medical records as we attempt to uncover hidden histories of shame and stigma. We will seek to understand the experience and construction of “the patient” through the intersection of culture, politics and law, and ask critical questions about the nature of mental illness itself. Our goal in this course is to understand how historical attitudes shaped the development of policy and services, and how this impacts those with mental illness today. In this process we will explore the ethics of confinement of the mentally ill and analyze the troubled relationship between mental illness and criminality.
The Brazil section of the Latin American Studies Association recently awarded prizes to Dr. Lena Oak Suk and Dr. Andrew G. Britt, both historians of Brazil and alumni of the Emory History Department. Suk, who was advised by Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History Jeffrey Lesser, is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. She received Honorable Mention in the Best Article in the Humanities category her piece: “‘Only the Fragile Sex Admitted’: The Women’s Restaurant in 1920s São Paulo, Brazil,” Journal of Social History 51:3 (Spring 2018). Britt, who is currently Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at Northwestern University, received Honorable Mention in the Best Dissertation in the Humanities category for his work, “‘I’ll Samba Someplace Else’: Constructing Neighborhood and Identity in São Paulo, 1930s-1980s.” Britt was co-advised by Lesser and Thomas D. Rogers, Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History and NEH/Arthur Blank Distinguished Teaching Professor (2018-2021).
Natália Salgado Bueno, Assistant Professor in Emory’s Department of Political Science, also received an Honorable Mention in the Best Article in the Social Sciences category for: “Bypassing the Enemy: Distributive Politics, Credit Claiming, and Nonstate Organizations in Brazil,” Comparative Political Studies 51:3 (Mar. 2018), pp. 304–340.
History Majors Ellie Coe and Hannah Fuller have each won Elizabeth Long Atwood Undergraduate Research Awards from Emory’s Woodruff Library. The Atwood Award recognizes the best paper that makes use of the library’s resources and applies research skills and critical analysis to evidence. Coe’s piece is titled “The Soldier’s Queue in the Eighteenth Century,” and she wrote the paper in Prof. Judith A. Miller’s course “The Origins of Capitalism” (Fall 2018). Fuller conducted the research for her paper, “Jemima Wilkinson: The Genderless Feminist of the Enlightenment,” in Prof. Judith A. Miller’s course “HIST 385W: Scandalous Texts in the Enlightenment” (Spring 2018). Learn more about the awards here: http://web.library.emory.edu/research-learning/award-research-programs/undergraduate-research-award.html.