Joanna is an ABD student who focuses on the cultural and religious history of the Iberian Atlantic World. She is currently in the research phase of her dissertation, tentatively titled “Black Religions with White Faces: the Creolization of Religious Belief and Cultural Practice in Colonial Brazil, Angola and Cuba, 1600-1800.” Her work focuses on the religious, ideological, and cultural influences African-descended peoples had on their white neighbors in the slave societies of Brazil, Cuba and Angola. Joanna will presented a paper, "Magical Exchanges: the African contribution to popular religion in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 1697-1752 " at the "Enslavement, Identity and Cross-Cultural Exchange" conference at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, UK, January 2012. She was awarded a bursary by the Wilberforce Institute to attend this conference. Joanna has presented her research at national and international conferences including the CERLAC Graduate Student Research conference (York University, Toronto, 2008) “Charting New Courses in the Study of Slavery and Emancipation” (University of Southern Mississippi, 2010), the Brazilian Studies Association (Brasília, 2010) and the Latin American Studies Association (Toronto, 2010).
Joanna’s work has been supported by numerous fellowships and grants. Joanna has been awarded a 2012 Cuban Heritage Collection Research Fellowship in support of her research project, “Religion, Race and Culture in Colonial Cuba, Angola, and Brazil.” She has been awarded the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship to perform archival research in Portugal and Spain during the 2010-2011 academic year. She is also the recipient of two Foreign Languages and Area Studies (FLAS) awards, a summer research grant from Harvard University’s Atlantic World Seminar, a College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Award, the Lydia Cabrera-Council of Latin American History Award, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Huntington Library, a FIPSE-CAPES award, and a John Carter Brown Library fellowship. Joanna has conducted archival research in Cuba, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. She works under the direction of Dr. Jane Landers.