By Brooke Bell
LSU Libraries selected three scholars to receive Special Collections Research Grants during the 2023-2024 academic year for their projects using materials in Special Collections’ holdings. Three grants cover funds for travel, lodging, and other types of support associated with a research trip to Hill Memorial Library. We look forward to working with the following awardees:
Tammy C. Owens
Tammy C. Owens is an assistant professor of American Studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her research examines the intersection of race and American childhood during the Civil War era through the twentieth century. This summer, Owens examined items in LSU’s collections that document two events: 1) the sale or trafficking of enslaved African-American youth under the age of sixteen during the nineteenth century, and 2) slave-owning families who documented their experiences of grief and the loss of their own children during the years they purchased or sold enslaved African-American children. She found rich sources to support her research such as bills of sale, diaries or journals, scrapbooks, and correspondence that she will use to support research in her forthcoming book. These materials will enable her to address topics such as attitudes related to slavery among slave-holding youth, American girls becoming women in the plantation south, and the conditions that shaped the lives of enslaved youth.
Mara Curechian, a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews, will examine literary depictions of kinship in the nineteenth-century cultural production of the slaveholding South – with a focus on formations of communities not centered around the productive logic of the white heteronormative family – for her doctoral thesis. Utilizing a queer methodological lens, her research will highlight the complex entanglements of kinship, race, gender, and sexuality in the Southern cultural imagination to reveal a specifically Southern set of tensions and contradictions subversive to conventional understandings of the family in nineteenth-century literary studies.
Roraig Finney is a PhD candidate in American history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research interests include the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the US South, political history, political economy, labor, race, and class. His doctoral dissertation, “Strangers in Dixie’s Land: How the South Confronted the Age of Mass Migration, 1850-1924” explores immigration in the South. He plans to trace the interconnected changes in the Southern political economy, racial attitudes, and the region’s contributions to national political culture and policymaking. He intends for his dissertation to be a published monograph.