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Megan Jeffreys

Affiliations and Roles

Ph.D. Candidate, History

Affirming Pronouns: she/her/hers

Graduate Mentor

Research Interests: My research explores the uncontrollable nature of power dynamics by looking at moments where dominance shifts and where individuals or ideas generally regarded as submissive assert themselves in unpredictable ways in moments of resistance. There are few instances where these power relationships are more central than in discussions of race. In particular, the relationship of race in the United States has a complicated, fraught, and disturbing history that is exemplified by moments of disruption, challenge, and change. My dissertation looks at some of these moments within a small community as enslaved individuals challenged the authority of white supremacy at a social, political, and judicial level. Set in the city of Alexandria, a small locality in present-day northern Virginia that formed the southwest boundary of the District of Columbia from 1800 until 1846, this study explores individual escape, riots and insurrections, freedom suits and manumissions, group escape, and the complexities of Civil War contraband

About Me: I was born and raised in Southern California, where I enjoyed spending time with my family in the desert, mountains, and, of course, at the beach. I received my undergraduate degree and a master's degree from California State University, Long Beach in history. Since starting my PhD at Cornell, I have lived in four different states as well as D.C. to conduct research (and in part due to the pandemic). At Cornell, I have enjoyed engaging in leadership programs and teaching opportunities, and I spent the last year working as a graduate resident advisor for Cornell in Washington. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, spending time with my dog Marla, watching old movies, and reading fiction as often as I can. I also love to travel (as evident by my continuous moving), and I look to find new ways to explore new cultures in any way I can. I also love meeting new students and discussing the unique experiences that have brought all of us to this little New York town, so please feel free to reach out!