Department ofHistory

Nicole Viglini

Nicole Viglini

Postdoctoral Scholar in the Richards Civil War Era Center

115 Pond Lab

University Park, PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae:


Ph.D., History, University of California, Berkeley, expected May 17, 2023
M.A., History, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 2016
B.A., Philosophy, Smith College, Northampton, MA, 2004


Nicole Viglini is a postdoctoral scholar at the Richards Center. She received her PhD in history from University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. histories of slavery, capitalism, gender, and legal cultural histories. Nicole’s dissertation, “‘She is a very smart woman and a great trader’: Enslaved and Free Women’s Economic Strategies and Gendered Geographies of Credit in the Nineteenth-Century South,” foregrounds enslaved and free Black women’s skills, knowledge, and survival strategies, and shows how antebellum southern women claimed property and credit to define their belonging within their communities. Her project centers the testimony of propertied Black women who filed claims to compensation before the Southern Claims Commission (SCC), a federal organization created in 1871 to reimburse unionist southerners in seceded states for property confiscated by the U.S. Army during the Civil War. At the Richards Center, Nicole will focus on turning her dissertation into a book manuscript and will begin a digital project to bring visibility to the lives and livelihoods of the Black women who filed SCC claims. Nicole’s work has been supported by several institutions, including the American Historical Association, the Wilson Library at UNC Chapel Hill, and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University.


“‘She is a very smart woman and a great trader:’ Enslaved and Free Black Women’s Property Claims and
Entrepreneurship in the Antebellum South,” The Journal of the Civil War Era, under consideration

Awards and Fellowships

Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, American Historical Association, 2019

Wilson Library Dissertation Research Fellowship, UNC Chapel Hill, 2019

Special Collections Research Grant, Louisiana State University Libraries, 2019

William and Madeline Welder Smith Research Travel Award, Briscoe Center, UT Austin, 2019

Monroe Fellowship, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Tulane University, 2019

UC Berkeley Black Studies Collaboratory Small Grants Program, 2022

Leo Lowenthal Memorial Prize, UC Berkeley, 2019

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, UC Berkeley, 2019

Gail Fullerton Endowment, San Jose State University, 2015

Mildred Gentry Winters Tower Scholarship, San Jose State University, 2015

Bruce Gelsinger Scholarship, San Jose State University, 2015

McLaughlin Fellowship, San Jose State University, 2014 – 2015

Trenary-Beddeson Scholarship, San Jose State University, 2014