Special Collections awards travel grants to five researchers

LSU Libraries recently selected five scholars to receive travel grants supporting use of the LSU Libraries Special Collections in their research and publication projects. The grant defrays travel and lodging costs associated with a trip to Hill Memorial Library in Baton Rouge.

We’re excited to welcome this group of visiting scholars to LSU during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Dr. Evan Ashford, assistant professor in Africana and Latino Studies at SUNY Oneonta, will investigate sources related to African American voters during the two decades of constitutional disenfranchisement between 1889 and 1908. His project, titled “Cast Down Your Buckets and Cast Your Ballot: African American Voting in the Booker T. Washington Era,” examines voter registration and voting in six confederate states to trace the history of continued African American voting activity and the rise of the all-white primary. Louisiana’s history of African American and biracial politics requires additional historical inquiry to create a more complete picture of constitutional disenfranchisement within a state with a sizeable free black population during slavery and a complex racial classification system.
Hannah Conway, Ph.D candidate in the History of Science at Harvard University, will be conducting research for her dissertation, a historical and ethnographic examination of infrastructural development, access, and failure in the 19th and 20th century U.S. South. During her time at LSU, she seeks to understand the infrastructural formation and environmental manipulation that has built the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast into particularly technical kinds of landscapes that must be negotiated by private citizens, the state, engineers, and the trade and extraction industries that operate off-shore and along the river.
Dr. Jesse Cromwell, associate professor of History at the University of Mississippi, plans to research Canary Islanders who came to populate Spanish Louisiana in the second half of the eighteenth century as part of a multi-site book project that will compare the Louisiana Canarian settlements to those of the rest of the northern Gulf, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Like other ethnic minorities, such as the Irish in North America, Canary Islanders in Louisiana became important elements of society in the colonies, but also faced discrimination due to their origins. Spanish and American-born colonists alike questioned Canary Islanders’ whiteness despite their Spanish heritage. Records of this transatlantic population underscore the limits of militarization, social and economic reform, and socioracial perception in Bourbon Spanish America and the Atlantic World.
Jessica Dauterive, Ph.D. candidate in History at George Mason University, will explore the development of Cajun identity in Southwest Louisiana in the 1930s-1970s, with attention to the ways that various community members harnessed mass media to revive and adapt traditional folkways to the modern world. Her dissertation research also seeks to recover and amplify the voices and actions of cultural brokers, especially women, whose involvement in the Cajun cultural revival has been largely forgotten, including Louise Olivier. Olivier not only contributed to the revival of traditional Acadian handicrafts, bringing other women artisans into the revival, but also engaged with regional radio stations to promote her goals, connecting Olivier to a larger network of local and bilingual radio in Southwest Louisiana.
Nicole Viglini, Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of California, Berkeley, will consult sources for her dissertation, “’A new kind of money’: Flora, Fauna, and the Economic Networks of Enslaved and Free Women in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana and Mississippi.” Historians have long emphasized the limited cartographic knowledge of rurally enslaved women in the American South, when, in fact, bondswomen often took great risks to teach their children about local geographies and uses of natural resources in forests, swamps, and other lands outside cultivated or otherwise “civilized” plantation boundaries. Her project challenges notions of the wilderness and the market as masculine, and reveals racialized, gendered, and classed discourses of the environment.
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