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headshot of Diane  Miller Sommerville

Diane Miller Sommerville




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 recent project — Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War Era South (2018), a Lincoln Prize finalist — is a study of suicide among Southerners during and after the Civil War that explores how gender and race shaped decisions and attitudes about suicide in the wake of war's physical and emotional devastation. Her current project is a study of post-partum disorders in the American South. 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.


  • PhD, Rutgers University
  • MA, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • BA, Muhlenberg College

Research Interests

  • 19th-century U.S.
  • The American South
  • U.S. Women's History
  • Civil War & Reconstruction
  • History of Sexuality
  • African-American History

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae