Bethany Bell

Field & Specialties

African-American History
Slavery in the United States
Historical Memory
19th Century U.S History
Built Environment

Education

M.A. Boston University (2016)

B.A. University of Central Arkansas (2014)

Biography

Bethany Bell is a second-year PhD Student in the history department at the University of Virginia. Bell is a student of African American history and her research explores the intersection of the history of slavery and the Civil War and public memory in the late 19th and early 20th century. Bethany is currently working on her Master's Thesis titled "Dismantling The Master's House: How Freedom Seekers Reshaped the Built Environment During the U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865". This research explores how unfree and free Black southerners used the Civil War as a catalyst to renegotiate their relationships to the built environment of the plantation. 

Bethany also works as a researcher on behalf of the Memory Project at UVA, uncovering the history of the Charlottesville slave trade.

Bell holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas and Boston University respectively. 

 

Current Research

Master's Thesis:  "Dismantling The Master's House: How Freedom Seekers Reshaped the Built Environment During the U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865" explores how unfree and free Black southerners used the Civil War as a catalyst to unmake the landscape of slavery and form a landscape of liberation. 

Awards & Honors

  • Memphis State Eight Paper Prize, Third Place, University of Memphis Graduate Association of African American History | 2024
  • UVA Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Research Grant | 2024
  • Summer Research and Conference Travel Funding | Department of History, University of Virginia | 2024
  • Dana White Fellowship, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University | 2024
  • UVA Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Council Research Grant | Fall 2024