Skip to main content

Reina Henderson



Reina is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the History department. In addition to working on her doctorate, she is also working on an African and African American Studies certificate and a Latin American & Caribbean Studies certificate. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "At the Edge of New Worlds: Slavery, Warfare, and Black Lives in the French Atlantic World, 1688-1815" centers people of African descent in a long-eighteenth century political and legal gaze exploring the inextricable link between Black antislavery action and the geopolitics of the Greater Atlantic seascape. She works from disruptions at sea in its shared legal and military tangles and into the interior of colonies and metropoles via the crucial port cities of Nantes (France), Ouidah (Benin), Cap-Haïtien (Haiti), and Fort-de-France (Martinique). In it, she will examine how Black resistance coupled with the French and British imperial rivalry highlights the power Black people had on bringing about slavery’s abolition and illuminates the previously discounted vulnerabilities of empires to govern and dominate. Her MA thesis, "We Were the First: Haitian Domestic and Foreign Politics, 1807-1867," examined the politics and state-making of Haiti's first 60 years to understand its self-fashioning of its national identity after Independence. She is the creator and administrator of the website "The Historian's Theater" which was developed out of her keen interest in public history. The website reviews films and tv shows based on historical events and people to assess their contributions both to film and their use for learning history.

She earned her Master of Arts in History at University of Memphis. She also earned both a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at East Tennessee State University.

She speaks English, French, and is currently learning Haitian Kreyòl via an Academic Year FLAS Fellowship.