Arielle Xena Alterwaite

Arielle Xena Alterwaite

Ph.D. StudentVartan Gregorian Fellow

I study slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world and am currently working on a project on the 1825 Haitian Indemnity debt, focusing on its international significance for imperialism, abolition, and finance.  I am also interested in alternative archival methodologies, particularly those relating to humor and jokes. 

Before Penn I earned a B.A. from Columbia University in both History and Philosophy. My senior thesis on medical imaginaries and the emergence of biopolitics on eighteenth-century Saint Domingue plantations won the 2018 Lily Prize in history. 

Advisor: Sophia Rosenfeld

Committee Members: Warren Breckman, Kathleen Brown, Roquinaldo FerreiraSophia Rosenfeld


B.A., History (honors) and Philosophy, Columbia University, 2018

Research Interests

slavery and abolition; gender; race; humor; the Atlantic World, particularly the Caribbean; 18th and 19th century France and its empire; political economy; intellectual history; medicine and science

Courses Taught

HIST 001: Making the Modern World 

HIST 153 / URB 104: Transformations of Urban America, 1945-Present