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. They are held every Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. in the conference room of the Department of History building on Virginia Commonwealth University's campus, located at 811 South Cathedral Street.* Please feel free to attend a meeting on any given Wednesday. We are always welcoming guests and new members!
*Currently meeting via Zoom
President: Aaron Pirnat
Vice President: TBA
Treasurer: Thomas Miller
Social Chair: TBA
Public Relations: Will Connaboy
Faculty advisor: Professor Bernard Moitt
The Rams in the Real World speader series 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.
Celso Castilho, Ph.D., Associate Professor of history at Vanderbilt University | February 26, 2020
On February 26, 2019, Celso Castilho of Vanderbilt University presented A Brazilian “Gallery of Illustrious Men of Color”: The Black Press and Trans-Atlantic Intellectual History. His lecture centered around the extensive interactions between enslaved and free people in the construction of abolitionism, and revealed how Brazil’s first social movement reinvented discourses about race and nation, leading to the passage of the abolition law in 1888.
Robert Trent Vinson, Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of History & Africana Studies at William and Mary | November 13, 2019
On November 13, 2019, Robert Trent Vinson, the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of History and Africana Studies at William and Mary visited VCU to discuss how the story of the 1619 trans-Atlantic journeys of “20 and odd Negroes” does not begin with Jamestown. His research reveals that other English colonies like Bermuda and Barbados were far more significant in England’s rapid rise as the world’s leading slave trading nation in the 18th century. In addition, Vinson compelled the audience to think about the history of the African people prior to enslavement and the human toll of the forced migration of approximately 12.5 million enslaved Africans to the Americas between 1502 and 1870.
Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Ph.D., professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College | April 18, 2019
On April 18, 2019 Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Ph.D., professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College provided VCU students, faculty and staff to an insight into the life of William Hardin Burnley. Burnley was the largest slave owner in Trinidad during the nineteenth century and the biggest resident slave owner in the British Caribbean. Born in Virginia to English parents, he settled in the island in 1802 and became one of the most influential and prominent agents of the British Empire.
Franklin Knight, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Keynote Speaker | April 22, 2015
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"
Adriane Lentz-Smith, Ph.D., Duke University | November 5, 2014
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"
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)
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)
Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of History, Howard University | November 9, 2011
Slavery, Revolution and Freedom: Haiti and the Atlantic World - Spring 2010 Symposium
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. Lauren 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 - Spring 2009 Symposium
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 - Spring 2008 Symposium
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
- Darlye 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 - Spring 2007 Symposium
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
- Neri Jackson, Ph.D., VCU
Lord Cornwallis vs. Anopheles Quadirmaculatus: How Mosquitoes and Malaria Helped Win the American Revolution, 1780-81 - Fall 2009 Lecture
November 16, 2009
- John R. McNeill, Ph.D., Georgetown University
St. Christopher's Journey: African Spiritual Narratives of the Early American South - Fall 2008 Lecture
November 19, 2008
- DJon Sensbach, Ph.D., University of Florida
Black Women and the Domestication of Free Labor in America's Cotton South - Fall 2007 Lecture
November 28, 2007
- Susan E. O'Donovan, Ph.D., Harvard University