Close menu Resources for... William & Mary
W&M menu close William & Mary
Directory Page Title

Hannah Bailey

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor: Brett Rushforth
Current Research: French Atlantic, Comparative and Transnational, Race and Ethnicity


Hannah graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, with degrees in History and French, and a minor in Gender and Women's Studies. Hannah's interests in gender and historic memory led her to study how women like Eliza Jaquelin Ambler Brent Carrington remembered, defined, and recorded their experiences during the American Revolution for her master's thesis. In her dissertation, Hannah studies the interconnectivity between developing notions of race and the expansion of the African slave trade in the early modern French Atlantic. Hannah uses published and unpublished accounts of West Africa written by individuals like Jean-Baptiste Labat who compared West African nations and polities to France (and elsewhere in the French Atlantic world) in order to make them more relatable to their readers. Despite these authors' best efforts to juggle conflicting stories about West African political, economic, religious, and social systems into one cohesive narrative for their readership, what emerges from these accounts instead is an extremely diverse picture of the people and polities of the sub-Saharan African continent. Hannah hopes to help explain how Africans themselves shaped these identities throughout the Atlantic world.