This project will support a postdoctoral fellow who will work with scholars in political science and law to understand the legal significance of the intersection of race and gender. Projects to which the postdoctoral fellow will contribute all address questions of effective democratic institutions, including courts, that include all people, and are attentive to the significance of both courts and institutions that are to attend to democratic preferences. One site for analysis is New Orleans, a city particularly ripe for analysis of the significance of race and gender for governance because of its demographic and socioeconomic diversity, and changes in the city. The postdoc will be able to contribute to cross-national comparisons, as scholars work on issues in both the United States and Brazil. The significance to governing institutions of intersecting ascriptive identities has only recently been a matter for systematic empirical investigation, making this a particularly innovative project.

The project will support a postdoctoral fellow and an undergraduate student, training them in empirical social sciences across multiple disciplines. The project will also have substantial broader impacts because of the importance of democratic institutions to governance, and one project's analysis of how judges are selected.

Project Report

The major goals of the project were to hire a postdoctoral fellow in law and society, support her research in the field of law and society with an intersectional approach, and have her facilitate the convening of a law and society community at Tulane. We hired Stephanie Jones-Rogers, a promising early career scholar in August 2013. She was deeply engaged in taking advantage of resources in New Orleans to advance her work and travelled widely to present at conferences. Most significantly, Prof Jones-Rogers completed her book manuscript, Lady Flesh Stealers, Female Soul Drivers, and She-Merchants: White Women and the Economy of American Slavery, and submitted it to UNC press. Her manuscript is a regional study that dramatically reshapes our understanding of white women’s economic relationships to slavery, how their investments in the institution shaped their gender identities and how these women impacted the lives of enslaved people throughout the 19th century. It makes several important interventions in the history of slavery and the South, African-American history, as well as studies of women and gender. Prof. Jones-Rogers also completed two chapters for edited collections and one article length project. The first, "Rethinking Sexual Violence and the Marketplace of Slavery: White Women, the Slave Market and Enslaved People’s Sexualized Bodies in the Nineteenth-Century South," was selected for inclusion by Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie Harris in their forthcoming anthology, Sexuality and Slavery, submitted to Oxford University Press with anticipated publication in Fall of 2015. The second, "Mistresses in the Making," will be included in Linda Kerber’s 8th edition of Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, an anthology published by Oxford. Prof. Jones-Rogers completed an article length essay, "’You Couldn’t Guess de Awfulness of It’: The Slave Market in Enslaved People’s Daily Lives," and submitted it to the Journal of Southern History in December 2013. During her year here, Prof. Jones-Rogers also began an important data collection process, which would allow her to answer questions about whether or not the slaveowning women she studies were a large proportion of the southern elite or whether they were rare and exceptional in number. In August, she began examining the Slave Schedule of the U.S. Federal Census taken in Orleans Parish during the year 1850. She chose Orleans Parish as the place to begin because of its centrality to the domestic slave trade and selected the 1850 census because this was a decade during which the slave trade thrived and the prices and demand for slaves were high. In addition to tabulating this census data, she hopes to cross-reference it with rural parishes in order to ascertain whether these patterns of slaveholding can be attributed to the rural or urban characteristics of a given region. This is an ongoing project that she has just begun to work on. During the Spring 2014 semester, Prof. Jones-Rogers taught an undergraduate course, "Defiant Women: Gender, Power, and Violence in American History." Professor Jones-Rogers presented her work in numerous local and national settings during the year. Her on campus presentations were key to convening the law and society community at Tulane, one of our main goals for this fellowship. Without question, we achieved our first goal to successfully nurture and launch a scholar in intersectional legal studies. Professor Jones-Rogers was able to make use of historical documents only available in New Orleans. In so doing, she identified a treasure trove of sources for herself and other scholars. Giving her the time, access to sources, and intellectual community, enabled Professor Jones-Rogers to be enormously productive. We believe institutions such as Tulane University have a strong responsibility to nurture women-of-color scholars in order to grow the pool for a more diverse university faculty. We have achieved that goal.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Program Officer
Susan Sterett
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Tulane University
New Orleans
United States
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