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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

English Department Graduate Begins Prestigious Fellowship

Laura Wilson’s research focuses on American writer W.E.B. Du Bois

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson

July 22, 2020 By

Laura Wilson, who earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Mississippi last spring, is the recipient of a Council of Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellowship at Fisk University, where she will continue her research on American author and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois.

The two-year fellowship awards her $67,000 a year.

Wilson will work both independently and collaboratively as a team member with Fisk archivists to assist in the development, planning and implementation of a new database for Fisk’s Julius Rosenwald Fund Collections. The collection houses archival papers of prominent African Americans, including DuBois, poet Langston Hughes and composer Scott Joplin.

Her research focuses on “how writers of the American South in the early 20th century were using the theme of agriculture, and the symbol of soil in particular, to discuss ideas of African American citizenship,” she said.

At Fisk, she will develop her doctoral thesis, “On Southern Soil: The Art and Ecology of Racial Uplift, 1895-1950,” into a book. She also will teach an interdisciplinary undergraduate class combining African American studies, data science and data curation, using the Rosenwald collection as the primary resource.

“In addition to this important data curation project, the fellowship will also enable me to continue pursuing my own research and hone my expertise in digital humanities,” Wilson said.

Wilson came Ole Miss to study Southern literature after receiving her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Oxford and her master’s in literary studies from Exeter University.

“Laura Wilson is one of our best and brightest.” said Ivo Kamps, professor and chair of the Department of English. CLIR postdoctoral fellowship is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be an impressive career in literary scholarship.”