Diane Miller Sommerville

Diane Miller Sommerville

Associate Professor
Vice Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D.,1995, Rutgers University
19th-Century U.S., U.S. South, Women's History, Race, Sexuality
Office: LT 816
Phone: (607) 777-2251   E-mail: sommervi@binghamton.edu

Diane Sommerville's research interests encompass race, gender, and the American South. Her first research project, which culminated in the publication of her first book, Rape and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South, traces the evolution of white southerners' fears of black rape by examining cases of black-on-white rape throughout the nineteenth century. Her current project is a study of suicide among Southerners during and after the Civil War that explores how gender shaped decisions about suicide in the wake of war's physical and emotional devastation. Her teaching areas include the 19th-century U.S., the American South, U.S. Women's history, Civil War and Reconstruction, History of Sexuality in the U.S., and African-American History.


C-Span Video "Civil War Battlefield Trauma" (click here)

"'Behind the Lines' interview with Diane Miller Sommerville about suicide in the Confederacy" (click here) 

Current Project:

  • ABERRATION OF MIND: SUICIDE AND SUFFERING IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA SOUTH

Publications:

  • "'Cumberer of the Earth': Suicide and Faith in the Post-Civil War South," Death in the American South, eds. Craig Thompson Friend and Lorri Glover (Cambridge University Press, November 2014)
  • " "A Burden Too Heavy to Bear': War Trauma, Suicide and Confederate Soldiers," Civil War History 59:4 (December 2013).  Winner of the 2014 John T. Hubbell Prize for the best article in Civil War History in 2013.
  • New York Times, Opinionator, DISUNION Civil War Blog, April 2, 2012
  • "Will They Ever Be Able to Forget?'" Confederate Soldiers and Mental Illness in the Defeated South," in Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges, ed. Stephen Berry (University of Georgia Press, 2011): 321-339.
  • Rape and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
  • “Moonlight, Magnolias, and Brigadoon, or “Almost Like Being In Love”: Mastery and Sexual Exploitation in Eugene Genovese's Plantation South.” Radical History Review (Winter 2004).
  • "'I was very much wounded': Rape Law, Children, and the Antebellum South," in Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America, ed. Merril Smith (New York University Press, February 2002).
  • “Rape, Race and Castration in Slave Law in the Colonial and Early South,” in The Devil's Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South, eds. Catherine Clinton and Michele Gillespie (Oxford University Press, 1997).
  • “The Rape Myth in the Old South Reconsidered,” Journal of Southern History (August 1995). Reprinted in Myths America (Brandywine Press, 1997) and in A Question of Manhood: A Reader in U.S. Black Men's History and Masculinity, edited by Darlene Clark Hine and Earnestine Jenkins (Indiana University Press, 2001).

Awards and Honors :

  • Winner of the 2014 John T. Hubbell Prize for the best article in Civil War History in 2013.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2011-2012)
  • Harpur College Research Grant Award (2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14)
  • Lynn E. May Study Grant, The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, Nashville (2010)
  • Archie K. Davis Research Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society (2009)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society (2005-06)
  • Phi Alpha Theta Award, Best First Book Award, 2005 (Rape and Race in the 19th-Century South).
  • Maddy Award for Excellence, Becton College Teacher of the Year, FDU, 2001-2002 (student award).
  • Becton College Teacher of the Year, FDU, 2000-2001 (faculty award).
  • Golieb Post-Doctoral Fellowship, New York Law School (1998-99, 1999-2000). Declined.
  • A. Elizabeth Taylor for Best Article in Southern Women's History, Southern Association for Women Historians (1996).
  • Graduate Dissertation Fellowship, Rutgers University (1995).
  • Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Semi-finalist (1994).
  • Littleton-Griswold Research Grant in Legal History, American Historical Association (1993).
  • Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society (2005, 1993).
  • Archie K. Davis Research Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society (1993).
  • Louis Bevier Graduate Fellowship, Rutgers University (1993-1994).

Undergraduate Courses

  • HIST 103A Foundations of America
  • HIST 280P Sex in American History
  • HIST 354 Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 356 American Legal History
  • HIST 480F Crime and Punishment in American History
  • HIST 480H Race and Sex in America
  • HIST 480R U.S. Social History: Racial Violence in Slavery and Freedom
  • HIST 480Y Slavery and Freedom in American History

Graduate Courses

  • HIST 512 Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 513 Early U.S. Women's History
  • HIST 513D Readings in U.S. Women's History
  • HIST 526A Colloquium: U.S. History (1492-1876)
  • HIST 531B The Old South
  • HIST 600 Research Seminar

 

Rape and Race in the nineteenth century South

Rape and Race in the nineteenth century South

Last Updated: 11/19/14