Amanda Brickell Bellows

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Major Field: United States History and Russian History
W. Fitzhugh Brundage and Louise McReynolds


Middlebury College, 2008 (History and Political Science)
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012
MA Thesis: “Memory and Myth-Making: Post-Emancipation Literary Portrayals of Peasants in Russia and Freedmen in the American South”
PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

Research Interests

My dissertation, “Slaves and Serfs in the Post-Emancipation Imagination: 1861-1915,” is the first comparative analysis of mass-oriented depictions of African American slaves and Russian serfs produced during the post-emancipation era. This transnational project identifies, categorizes, and analyzes literary and visual representations of former bondsmen in advertisements, paintings, literature, and poetry. My interdisciplinary research assesses the ways in which these culturally mediated depictions changed between 1861, when the U.S. Civil War began and Tsar Alexander II emancipated the Russian serfs, and the early twentieth century, when Americans and Russians commemorated the fiftieth anniversaries of their respective emancipations. By comparing a range of portrayals, I explain how these images shaped collective memories of serfdom and slavery, affected the development of national consciousness, and influenced popular opinion as Russians and Americans incorporated former bondsmen into the social order. Ultimately, this investigation advances scholarship in the fields of American and Russian history by identifying parallel and divergent post-emancipation social and cultural dynamics in both nations.

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