South Atlantic Studies Fellow Awarded Dissertation Fellowship


South Atlantic Studies Fellow Jill Baskin has been awarded a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship ( in American Art to support her research on visual culture and African American settlers of Liberia, 1821-1865. Baskin, a doctoral candidate, is one of two winners from the U.Va. McIntire Department of Art.

Baskin will use the fellowship to research how the American expatriate community in Liberia used art and architecture to participate in antebellum U.S. debates about slavery. During the next nine to twelve months, she will examine archives in Liberia, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Indiana, and England. Research in Liberia has been stalled since the civil wars, according to Baskin, and it will be “an adventure to find out what’s still there.”

The Humanities Fellowship Program in South Atlantic Studies is offered in cooperation with the U.Va. College of Arts and Sciences and the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. The spring 2013 program was distinctive in providing independent and collective programming for 13 U.Va. and Virginia Tech graduate students on the two university campuses as well as at VFH.

This VFH, U.Va., and Virginia Tech collaborative endeavor is funded by the South Atlantic Humanities Program endowments at each institution (established by a National Endowment for the Humanities endowment grant). U.Va.’s seminar leader is former VFH Fellow Grace Hale (American Studies, U.Va.). The first Humanities Fellowship Program in South Atlantic Studies was held in 2010, bringing together ten Ph.D. candidates from U.Va. to VFH for a twice-monthly seminar culminating in a public conference. All projects connect to the South Atlantic, either regionally or thematically, and often both.
This year’s topics and participants are:


  • “Freedom to Africa!” Visual Culture and the African-American Settlers of Liberia, 1821-1865, Jill Baskin,  McIntire Department of Art
  • Breaking the Faustian Pact:  Latinos Organizing in the Deep South in the 1960s , Cecilia Marquez, History
  • Behold the Land: The Rural South and the Black Economic Imaginary, 1954-1980, Alec Hickmott, History 
  • Seeing How Smoking Pipes Signaled: An Examination of Native Social Dynamics in the Late Woodland and Contact Period Middle Atlantic, Elizabeth Bollwerk, Anthropology

Virginia Tech

  • Transnational Organized Crime and Governance in the Caribbean: The Jamaican Case in Perspective, Damion Blake, ASPECT (Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, an interdisciplinary doctoral program that connects the departments of philosophy, political science, history, and religion and culture)
  • The Desegregation of Bluefield State College, Dana Cochran, ASPECT
  • The Jo Carson Project, Vince DeGeorge, Department of Theatre and Cinema
  • Exhibiting the War: Race, Economics, and Identity in Virginia Civil War Tourism, Cynthia Fields, English
  • How Neighbors Become Illegal: The Public Framing of Latino Immigrants in Albertville, Alabama, Elizabeth Jamison, ASPECT
  • A New South Atlantic? The Experiences of Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students in the Southeastern United States,Jennifer McCloud, School of Education
  • William H. Sheppard and Trans-Atlantic Trade, Pamela Mullins, ASPECT
  • Direct and Participatory Democracy in Jamaica, Marc Thomas, ASPECT
  • Blackness and Modernity in the Atlantic World, Laura West, History