SHEAR Announces the 2023 Recipients of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowships

The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic is pleased to announce the 2023 class of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellows.  This fellowship comes with a cash prize to support research expenses as well as in-kind support so that recipients can present their work at SHEAR’s 2024 conference.  The work of these scholars will open new avenues and perspectives in the study of the early republic.

Headshot of Erica Duncan against a white backgroundErica Duncan

Erica Duncan is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at New York University (NYU). At NYU, she specializes in histories of the African Diaspora and early America. Prior to starting her Ph.D., Erica received a BA in African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and a MA in African American Studies at UCLA. Within African American Studies, she developed an interest in Black feminism as a theory and praxis, histories of Black childhood, and, more broadly, historical and contemporary movements for Black freedom across the African diaspora. These interests influenced her more recent research at NYU. Specifically, her dissertation centers on the lives of enslaved and freed African children and children of African descent in the British Atlantic during the long eighteenth century. She considers how British settlers circulated and speculated upon these children to facilitate the settlements of South Carolina and the Bahamas between 1715 to 1838. By centering on these children’s bodily, emotional, spiritual, and temporal worlds, she argues that we see how settlers used them as tools of settlement that informed settler’s ideas of belonging and sovereignty, and, importantly, how these children’s experiences became essential to shaping ideas of freedom within the Black Atlantic.

Headshot of Zaria Sawdijah El-Fil against a pale blue background with a plantZaria Sawdijah El-Fil

Zaria Sawdijah El-Fil is a dramaturg, community educator, and Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. As a Brenda and Earl Shapiro Scholar, Zaria specializes in Atlantic slavery, early modern capitalism, political theory, and maritime migration. She plans to write a dissertation that looks outside of strictly land-based epistemologies to engage “the sea” as a polymorphous site of transformation, birth, radicalism, and domination. Consistent with her commitment to public history, she lends her talents to dramaturgical work, historical exhibitions, and curriculum building. Zaria holds BAs in Psychology, African and African Diaspora Studies, and Humanities from The University of Texas at Austin.