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Canaan, Dim and Far: Black Reformers and the Pursuit of Citizenship in Pittsburgh, 1915-1945 – Q&A with Dr. Adam Lee Cilli

What led to your interest in this area of research?  My research in the field of African American urban history stemmed from a general commitment to social justice and a specific commitment to advance research and teaching in the areas of race, ethnicity, and gender.  It also grew out of pure interest and scholarly curiosity. […]

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Star Territory: Printing the Universe in Nineteenth-Century America – Q&A with Dr. Gordon Fraser

What sparked your interest in this particular area of research?  When I entered graduate school, I knew I wanted to study a big question about how people come to develop their first principles: Who am I? What does my life mean? Many of these topics, from the rise of nationalism to the recurrence of religious […]

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Convulsed States: Earthquakes, Prophecy, and the Remaking of Early America – Q&A with Dr. Jonathan T. Hancock

What sparked your interest in this area of research?  I entered graduate school broadly interested in cross-cultural relations in Early America. While working on an undergraduate senior thesis about Protestant missions in the Cherokee Nation, I came across some fascinating material on Cherokee earthquake interpretations in 1811 and 1812. Putting off a science class required for graduation […]

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Charting the Plantation Landscape from Natchez to New Orleans – Q&A with Laura Kilcer

What sparked your interest in this area of research?  The book is a natural extension of my work, which focuses on plantations both in their historical context as well as their cultural history—how their use, definition and significance has evolved into what we know as “plantations” today, which are largely museums, historic sites, and tourist […]

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Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Race and Slavery in the Mississippi Borderlands – Q&A with Dr. Christian Pinnen

Could you give us a short overview of Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Race and Slavery in the Mississippi Borderlands?  Complexion of Empire investigates slavery and race in the borderlands of the lower Mississippi Valley. The book essentially sketches out the first century of sustained European and African contact in the region. I specifically focus on the […]

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Ask An Americanist: Professor Brandon Jett

What led you to/sparked your interest in this area of research? I’ve always had an interested in “revolutionary” eras of history. Moments when things get upended in one way or another. As an undergraduate, I was drawn to the experiences of white and Black Americans in the post-Emancipation/Jim Crow era. Understanding how Black Americans pushed […]

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Ask an Americanist: Dr. Ben Wright

What led you to/sparked your interest in this area of research?  My life project—the question that wakes me up in the middle of the night and that I plan to address with all of my future work—is studying how religion inspires people of faith to confront, or sadly too-often perpetuate, white supremacy. Exploring the abolitionist […]

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Ask an Americanist: Carrie Streeter

Tell us a bit about yourself. It’s fair to say that I’m a mountain girl. I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by the sharp peaks and desert valleys of the “young” Rocky Mountains. I now make my home in Boone, North Carolina, surrounded by the time-smoothed knobs and forested hollars of the […]

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Ask an Americanist: Dr. Josh Doty

1. Could you give us a brief overview of your upcoming monograph The Perfecting of Nature?  The book is about the ways that antebellum authors responded to the notion that social reform might be brought about by reforming the human body itself. This idea was a common thread in many contemporary reformist discourses—it connects such various […]

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Ask an Americanist: Dr Amanda Bellows

Amanda Brickell Bellows is a lecturer in history at The New School. Her upcoming book American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination will be out with UNC Press in June 2020 and is available for pre-orders on Amazon.   What brought you to your PhD topic that resulted in your upcoming monograph, American […]