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Hilary Coulson

Hilary Coulson
314 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, University of California at San Diego, 2016
  2. MA, University of California at San Diego, 2014
  3. BA, University of San Diego, 2010


I am an institutional historian with special interests in the development of infrastructure in the Antebellum South. I am currently engaged in several projects including my first monograph, The Wasp Nest: Virginia’s First State Penitentiary, 1797-1865 that examines Virginia’s early penitentiary system and how it intertwined with the deeply rooted system of slavery in the Antebellum period. This work explores themes of gender, race, class, and state building tracing the development of infrastructure from the Early Republic leading up to the Civil War. A tributary of the project includes an examination of early universities in the Antebellum South and is being developed with a co-author at Johns Hopkins University who studies education. I have completed work on incarcerated motherhood which appeared in an edited volume on women in prison, Incarcerated Women: A History of Struggles, Oppression, and Resistance in American Prisons. More recent work includes an examination of media representations of women convicted of murder in the 19th century and can be found in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies.  I value the importance of interdisciplinary work and strives to include a broad humanities approach to research as well as teaching.