The Alexandrian Society is one of the oldest and most highly-regarded academic organizations at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since its founding in the 1960s, The Alexandrian Society has been a student organization dedicated to the study of history and the promotion of excellence in historical scholarship at VCU. Its commitment to historical inquiry, active members, and sponsored events have led to its recognition as one of the elite campus organizations by faculty and students alike.
The Society is sponsored by the Department of History, and has been under the direction of Professor Bernard Moitt since 2006. The organization welcomes all VCU students interested in the study of history and historical topics, regardless of a student's concentration or declared major. Membership to the society provides networking opportunities both within and outside of our campus, as well as various other opportunities for academic and personal success.
Meeting Times and Dates
The Alexandrian Society holds weekly meetings throughout the semester. This semester, they are held every Wednesday morning in the conference room of the Department of History building on Virginia Commonwealth University's campus, located at 811 South Cathedral Place. Please feel free to attend a meeting on any given Wednesday. We are always welcoming guests and new members!
Symposia and Lectures
Fall 2023 Lecture
The Unfinished Afterlives of Slavery, Freedom and Reparations in the Caribbean
The Alexandrian Society presented their fall 2023 lecture, "The Unfinished Afterlives of Slavery: Freedom and Reparations in the Caribbean" with Natasha Lightfoot, Ph.D. on November 6. Stay tuned for information about the Spring 2024 lecture!
Social and Racial Injustice in the 21st Century: America at a Crossroads
April 20, 2022
Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D. (Howard University) presented “We Ask Only Even-Handed Justice: The African American Pursuit of Equal Treatment in American History”
Daniel J. Sharfstein, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University Law School) presented “The Legal Infrastructure of Inequality in America”
Michael Blakey, Ph.D. (William & Mary) presented "A Man is Worked Upon By What He Works On: Sciences of the Black Body"
Yohuru Williams, Ph.D. (University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis) presented “Social and Racial Injustice in the 21st Century"
Katherine Tossas, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University) presented “Data-Set-Action - Usable Cancer Epidemiology to Address Enduring Disparities”
Niambi Carter, Ph.D. (Howard University) presented “Redefining the Racial Field of Play in American Politics for the 21st Century"
Brian Daugherity, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University) presented "Rekindling the Past: Race, Education, and Inequity in Virginia"
Dennis Williams II, M.A., M.Ed. (Virginia Commonwealth University) presented “Compassion, Equity, and Oppression in American Education: What is and has been at stake?"
Cuba in Transitions - Perspectives on a Hispanic Caribbean Society
April 22, 2015
- Franklin Knight, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Keynote Speaker
- Henry Lovejoy, Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin presented "Slavery and Freedom in Cuba during the Age of Revolution..."
- Joseph Clark, Ph.D. candidate, Johns Hopkins University presented "Havana and Veracruz in the Making of the Spanish Caribbean Urban System in the 17th Century"
- Jane Landers, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University presented "African Transitions: From Chattel Slavery to Homesteading on the Cuban Frontier"
- Daniel Rodriguez, Ph.D., Brown University presented "From Colonial Medicine to Medical Internationalism: The Politics of Healthcare in Cuba, 1898-2015"
- Takkara Brunson, Ph.D., Morgan State University presented "The Evolution of the Cuban Woman's Movement during the 1920s and 1930s"
- Rebecca Bodenheimer, Ph.D., Ethnographer, music scholar presented "Afro-Cuban Music from Santeria to son"
- Anthony Maingot, Ph.D., Florida International University presented "Cuba and the 'Obama Doctrine': Challenges and Opportunities"
Comparative Emancipation in the Atlantic World
March 11, 2013
- Dr. Thavolia Glymph, Duke University presented "Emancipation and the Problem of Black Refugees and Refugee Camps in the Civil War"
- Dr. Dale Graden, University of Idaho presented "And the Drums Beat Loudly in 1888: Brazil's Final Abolition in the Americas"
- Dr. Antonio Espinoza, VCU presented "Emancipation in Peru"
Atlantic Migration during Slavery, Part 2
April 25, 2012
- Keynote address: Dr. David Eltis, "Africa and the Americas: Some New Approaches to Tracking Transatlantic Connections" (Emory University)
- Dr. Audra Diptee, "Forced Migrations: Rethinking African Children in the British Slave Trade" (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
- Dr. Kevin Dawson, "Enslaved Ship Pilots in the Age of Revolutions: Challenging Perceptions of Race and Slavery between the Boundaries of Maritime and Terrestrial Bondage"(University of Nevada Las Vegas)
- Dr. Daryle Williams, "From Ambriz, Angola to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A Spatial History of the Free Africans of the Slave Ship "Cezar," 1838-1865" (University of Maryland)
- Dr. John Garrigus, "An African Poisoner in the Caribbean" A New Perspective on Slave Resistance before the Haitian Revolution" (University of Texas at Arlington)
Atlantic Migration during Slavery, Part 1
April 27, 2011
- Dr. Paul Lovejoy, Keynote address: "Out of Africa: Atlantic Migration during Slavery" (York University, Toronto, Canada)
- Dr. Daniel Livesay, "The War over the Imperial Family: Interracial Households Crossing between Jamaica and Britain in Mid-Eighteenth Centry" (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, VA)
- Dr. Ronald Johnson, "Merchant on the Move: Marie Bunel and Atlantic Migration in the Age of Revolutions" (Texas State University)
- Dr. Katherine Paugh, "Yaws and Syphilis: Sexuality and Cultures of Disease in the Atlantic World, 1600-1833" (University of Wisconsin)
- Dr. Edward Rugemer, "Resistance, Race, and the Law: The Expansion of Slavery in England's Greater Caribbean Empire during the Seventeenth Century" (Yale University)
- Dr. Rebecca Schloss, "Crossing the Waters: Women, Family, and Migration in the Early Nineteenth Century French Atlantic" (Texas A&M University)
Slavery, Revolution and Freedom: Haiti and the Atlantic World
April 14, 2010
The symposium was an exploration of the history of Haiti (formerly the French colony of Saint-Domingue), including the Haitian Revolution, the impact of the revolution on the Caribbean and the United States, as well as its politics, society, and culture from revolutionary times to the present.
- Keynote: Dr. Franklin Knight, Johns Hopkins University
- Dr. Bernard Moitt, VCU
- Dr. Laurent M. Dubois, Duke University
- Dr. Jean Casimir, Duke University and University of Haiti
- Dr. Elizabeth McAlister, Wesleyan University
- Dr. Jeffrey R. Kerr-Richie, Howard University
- Dr. Asselin Charles, Mount Olive College
Social Relations during Slavery in the Atlantic World
April 23, 2009
- Keynote: Dr. Franklin Knight, Johns Hopkins University
- Dr. Phillip Schwarz, VCU
- Dr. Maureen Elgersman Lee, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
- Ms. Dawn Miles, Ohio University
- Dr. Sarah Meacham, VCU
- Dr. Roderick McDonald, Rider University
From Africa to Brazil: Continuity and Change in the Atlantic World
April 9, 2008
- Franklin Knight, PhD, The Johns Hopkis University: Brazil: Implementing Change for a Better Society
- Linda Heywood, PhD and John Thornton, PhD, Boston University: The African Diaspora to Brazil Reconsidered: The Angola and Mina Waves
- Andrew Chesnut, PhD, VCU: Exus and Exorcism: African-Brazil Religion
- Kim Richardson, PhD, VCU: Brazil's Transprovincial Slave Trade
- Daryle Williams, University of Maryland: The Intrepid Mariner Simao: Travels of a Black in the Portuguese Atlantic at the End of the Slave Trade
200 Years Hence: 1807-2007, Abolition and Survival in the Atlantic World
March 28, 2007
- Edward Cox, Ph.D., Rice University
- Joe C. Miller, Ph.D., University of Virginia
- Selwyn Carrington, Ph.D., Howard University
- Philip Scharz, Ph.D., VCU
- Michael L. Blakey, Ph.D., The College of William & Mary
- Norrece Jones, Ph.D., VCU
- Bernard Moitt, Ph.D., VCU
- Karol Weaver, Ph.D., Susquehanna University
- Autumn Barrett, Ph.D. candidate, The College of William and Mary
- Frederick Smith, Ph.D., The College of William and Mary
- M. Njeri Jackson, Ph.D., VCU
Black Lives Matter, Except When they Don't: AP African American Studies and Black Life
April 19, 2023
- Robert J. Patterson, Ph.D., Georgetown University
The Constitution, Voting Rights, Individual Rights & Elections, Do "We the People" Matter?
November 15, 2022
- Henry L. Chambers Jr., Professor of Law, Austin E. Owen Research Scholar, University of Richmond
Becoming Free, Becoming Black (view recording)
November 17, 2021
- Alejandro de la Fuente, Ph.D. of Harvard University
Why did The Atlantic Slave Trade survive all the way up to the American Civil War? (view recording)
October 20, 2021
- Professor John Harris, Ph.D. of Erskine College
Spring 2021 Lecture Series
The spring 2021 lecture series brought together a group of talented faculty from around the country and across the globe to speak about historical topics such as monuments, capitalism’s impact on enslaved people, the African diaspora, and female slaveholders in Jamaica. Topics and speakers included:
- They Want My Soul Like My Ancestors Ain't Enough: Black Rememories as Historical Ruptures to State Memory in the U.S. American Upper South was presented by Professor Christopher Roberts, Ph.D.
- Capitalism in the Economic Lives of Enslaved People was presented by Justene Hill Edwards, Ph.D.
- Diaspora Conversations Across the Centuries was presented by Nemata Blyden, Ph.D.
- Jamaican Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain's Atlantic Empire was presented by Christine M. Walker, Ph.D.
Rams in the Real World: Building Successful Careers with a VCU Degree
The Rams in the Real World speaker series (fall 2020) featured VCU alumni who inspired VCU students to build a foundation for a successful transition from the academic to the professional world. Speakers included Ranya Chakra (Abi-Fallah), M.D., Stephen E. Davenport, Robert Houghtaling, Sai Iyer, and Precious Lewis.
A Brazilian “Gallery of Illustrious Men of Color"
February 26, 2019
- Celso Castilho, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Beyond Jamestown: Why 1619 Matters in African and Atlantic World Contexts
November 13, 2019
- Robert Trent Vinson, Ph.D., College of William and Mary
William Hardin Burnley and the Black Atlantic
April 18, 2019
- Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Ph.D., Wellesley College
African American Soldiers in Europe during World War I
November 5, 2014
- Adriane Lentz-Smith, Ph.D., Duke University
Lord Cornwallis vs. Anopheles Quadirmaculatus: How Mosquitoes and Malaria Helped Win the American Revolution, 1780-81
November 16, 2009
- John R. McNeill, Ph.D., Georgetown University
A Determined Revolution: African Americans Respond to the Emancipation Proclamation
November 9, 2011
- Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., Howard University
St. Christopher's Journey: African Spiritual Narratives of the Early American South
November 19, 2008
- DJon Sensbach, Ph.D., University of Florida
Black Women and the Domestication of Free Labor in America's Cotton South
November 28, 2007
- Susan E. O'Donovan, Ph.D., Harvard University