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Graduate Studies - Atlantic World History

Updated May 20, 2019

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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. 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

Lauren Benton (comparative legal history of empires)  
Richard Blackett (emeritus,19th-century British Caribbean) 
Brandon Byrd (African American and Haitian)
Celso Castilho (19th-century Brazil)
Lauren Clay (French Empire)
James Epstein (emeritus, 9th-century Caribbean)
Jane Landers (Iberian Atlantic world)
Catherine Molineux (British Atlantic)
Daniel Usner (French and Indigenous Atlantic)
Kim Welch (Atlantic world)

Current Graduate Students

Chad Attenborough  pre-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa
Abena Boakyewa-Ansah  US and Atlantic World
Fernanda Bretones Lane  Afro-Caribbean/Atlantic World, 17th-19th centuries
Jorge Delgadillo Nuñez  Afro-Mexico/Iberian Atlantic, 17th century 
Jessica Fletcher Atlantic World
Abraham Liddell African/Iberian South Atlantic, 16th-17th century
Alexandre Pelegrino Indigenous Atlantic/Brazil, 16th-17th centuries
Danyelle Valentine British Caribbean/Atlantic World, 18th-19th centuries

Recent Graduates

Daniel Genkins (2018)  "Entangled Empires: Anglo-Spanish Competition in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean."  

Kara Schultz (2016) "An African South Atlantic: La Plata, Brazil, and Angola, 1580-1680." 

Miriam Martin Erickson (2015) "The Black Auxiliary Troops of King Carlos IV: African Diaspora in the Spanish Atlantic World, 1791-1818."

Erin Woodruff (2014) "Indian Harvest: the Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade from Española to the circum-Caribbean, 1492-1560."

Angela Sutton (2014) "Mercantile Culture of the Slave Trade: Piracy and Broken Monopolies in the African Atlantic World, 1621-1700." 

Caree Banton (2013) "'More Auspicious Shores": Post-Emancipation Barbadian Emigrants in Pursuit of Freedom, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Liberia, 1834-1912."  

Pablo Gómez (2010) "Bodies of Encounter: Health, Illness and Death in the Early Modern African-Spanish Caribbean." 

David Wheat (2009) "The Afro-Portuguese Maritime World and the Foundations of Spanish Caribbean Society, 1570-1640." 

Related Resources

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