Hopkins Alums Take on Hard Histories

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Join Hard Histories at Hopkins for a virtual discussion about how Hopkins History PhD alums are participating in the work of rethinking their own degree-granting institution. Dr. Paige Glotzer is part of a working group that has conducted research on Hopkins’ former president Isaiah Bowman (1935-1948), revealing his white supremacist and antisemitic views and actions. Dr. Jennie K. Williams has written critically about an endowed professorship at the university – the Caroline Donovan Professorship in English Literature – that was named for the wife of a prominent Maryland slave trader. That work, in part, led to JHU’s decision to re-name the professorship, pending court approval. Collectively, this webinar will center the process of self-examination about the legacies of the institutions with which we are affiliated. Glotzer and Williams will be in discussion with Hard Histories at Hopkins Project Director Dr. Martha S. Jones.


Paige Glotzer is Assistant Professor and John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair in the History of American Politics, Institutions, and Political Economy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of History. Her first book, How the Suburbs Were Segregated: Developers and the Business of Exclusionary Housing, 1890-1960 received the Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book in North American History, the Lewis Mumford Award for Best Book in American City and Regional Planning History, and was a finalist for the Hagley Prize in Business History. It charts how suburban developers, including Baltimore’s Roland Park Company, ushered in modern American housing segregation with the help of financiers, real estate institutions, and policymakers. Her work has been featured in both peer-reviewed journals and popular outlets, including the Journal of Urban History, CityLab, and Time magazine. She joined the University of Wisconsin after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard University Joint Center for History and Economics.

Jennie K. Williams (she/her), Ph.D. is a historian of race and slavery in the United States, and Co-Founder of Kinfolkology, a project situated at the intersection of data, slavery studies, and engagement of descendant communities. Dr. Williams is the author of Oceans of Kinfolk, a database of more than 63,000 enslaved individuals who were trafficked in the antebellum coastwise trade in the forty years before the Civil War. Her book, also called Oceans of Kinfolk, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2025. Dr. Williams is also Editor-in-Chief and Lead Author of Louisiana Kindred, a developing database of the sales of enslaved people in antebellum Louisiana. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Engagements at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History, and a Professor at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She is also a legal and cultural historian whose research explores how Black people have shaped the story of American democracy, and today extends to work on memorial landscapes and family memoir. Jones directs the Hard Histories at Hopkins Project which, since 2020, has examined the role of slavery and racism at the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital.

Jones’ most recent book, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All (2020), received the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. Her 2018 book, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America, was recognized with awards from the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Society for Legal History, and Baltimore City Historical Society Scholars.

This event is part of a series of conversations hosted by Hard Histories in spring 2024, exploring the histories of Blackness, slavery, and racism in the Maryland area and beyond. Launched in fall 2020, the Hard Histories at Hopkins Project examines the role that racism and discrimination have played at Johns Hopkins. Blending research, teaching, public engagement, and the creative arts, Hard Histories aims to engage our broadest communities—at Johns Hopkins and in Baltimore—in a frank and informed exploration of how racism has been produced and permitted to persist as part of our structure and our practice.