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Graduate Studies at Vanderbilt - Atlantic World History

Updated August 7, 2017

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Vanderbilt ranks among the nation's top twenty research universities and boasts a diverse and dynamic History Department. One of the newest and most exciting areas of faculty research and graduate training at Vanderbilt is Atlantic World History. Graduate students who choose to complete a major or minor field in Atlantic World history at Vanderbilt will be introduced to a wide range of literatures addressing the interactions among European, Native American, and African peoples.


From their first semester, we encourage doctoral students in our field to become actively engaged in the profession through field research, networking, collaborative projects, grant writing and publishing. Our students have presented their research at numerous national and international conferences including the American Historical Association, the Conference on Latin American History, the Brazilian Studies Association, the Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History, the African History Association, and the Association of Caribbean History, among others. Over the last decade our students have won many prestigious research awards, including the Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, American Council for Learned Societies, and Rotary fellowships. Doctoral students normally take five semesters of classes, followed by general exams at the beginning of their sixth semester. Working closely with our Atlantic World historians, students develop a dissertation topic and prospectus during their fifth and sixth semesters. Our students have conducted research in areas as diverse as Angola, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.


Current faculty include: Lauren Benton (comparative legal history of empires),  Richard Blackett (19th-century British Caribbean), Brandon Byrd (African American and Haitian),  Celso Castilho (19th-century Brazil), Lauren Clay (French Empire), James Epstein (19th-century Caribbean), Jane Landers (Iberian Atlantic world), Catherine Molineux (British Atlantic), and Daniel Usner (French and Indigenous Atlantic) .


Current Graduate Students – link on their name for more information

Chad Attenborough, 1st year, pre-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa
Jorge Delgadillo Nuñez, 2nd year, Afro-Mexico/Iberian Atlantic, 17th century
Jonathan Dusenbury, 3rd year, French Caribbean/Atlantic, 18th century
Joanna Elrick, 9th year, African/Iberian Atlantic, 17th-19th centuries
Daniel Genkins, 5th year, Spanish and British Caribbean/Atlantic World, 17th century
Fernanda Bretones Lane, 3rd year, Afro-Caribbean/Atlantic World, 17th-19th centuries
Abraham Lidell, 2nd year, African/Iberian South Atlantic, 16th-17th century
Alexandre Pelegrino, 1st year, Indigenous Atlantic/Brazil, 16th-17th centuries
Danyelle Valentine, 4th year, British Caribbean/Atlantic World, 18th-19th centuries

Recent Graduates

Schultz, Kara (2016) "An African South Atlantic: La Plata, Brazil, and Angola, 1580-1680,"
ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the Digital Humanities, Vanderbilt University

Erickson, Miriam Martin (2015) "The Black Auxiliary Troops of King Carlos IV: African Diaspora in the Spanish Atlantic World, 1791-1818,"
CASPAR Advisor, Vanderbilt University, 2015-; Lecturer in History, Vanderbilt University, 2016-

Woodruff, Erin (2014) "Indian Harvest: the Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade from Española to the circum-Caribbean, 1492-1560"
Assistant Professor, University of West Florida, Pensacola, 2015-

Sutton, Angela (2014) "Mercantile Culture of the Slave Trade: Piracy and Broken Monopolies in the African Atlantic World, 1621-1700"
Administrator, Vanderbilt History Seminar and Instructor of Maritime History, Vanderbilt University, 2014-2016; Mellon, Post-doctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt Digital Humanities Center and Website Administrator, Ecclesiastical & Secular Sources for Slave Societies Digital Archive, Vanderbilt University, 2016-

Banton, Caree (2013) "'More Auspicious Shores": Post-Emancipation Barbadian Emigrants in Pursuit of Freedom, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Liberia, 1834-1912"
Assistant Professor of History and African and African American Studies, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2014-

Gómez, Pablo (2010) "Bodies of Encounter: Health, Illness and Death in the Early Modern African-Spanish Caribbean"
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2011-

Wheat, David (2009) "The Afro-Portuguese Maritime World and the Foundations of Spanish Caribbean Society, 1570-1640"
Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, 2010-2016; Associate Professor with tenure, 2016-

Berger, Eugene (2006) "Permanent War on Peru's Periphery: Frontier Identity and the Politics of Conflict in 17th Century Chile"
Assistant Professor, Southern Missouri State University, 2006-2012; Associate Professor, Georgia Gwinnett College, 2012-

Robinson, Barry (2005) "The Limits of Loyalty in Colotlán: Subversion, Pardon, and Society in Late Colonial New Spain, 1780-1821"
Assistant Professor, Samford University, 2005-2012; Associate Professor, Queen's University, Charlotte, 2012-

Breuer, Kimberley (2004) "Reshaping the Cosmos: Maya Society on the Yucatecan Frontier" Lecturer, University of Texas Arlington, 2005-

Guitar, Lynne (1998) "Cultural Genesis: Relationships among Indians, Africans& Spaniards in Rural Hispaniola, First Half of the 16th Century"
Resident Director, CIEE, Dominican Republic, 2000-2016

Related Resources
Center for Latin America Studies
Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Circum-Atlantic Studies Seminar (CASS)