Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Emma Teitelman

Emma Teitelman

Associate Director, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center
Assistant Research Professor of History
118A Pond Laboratory
102 Weaver Building, University Park, PA 16802
Emma Teitelman was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom prior to joining the Department of History and the Richards Center in 2021. Emma’s research interests include the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the history of labor, inequality, and capitalism. Her current book project explores transformations in capitalism and the state after the Civil War, focusing especially on the histories of the South and the West. It argues that the fall of southern slavery brought profound change not only to the lives of enslaved people but also to national patterns of economic development, government activities, and colonial practices. These structural shifts were rooted in the federal government’s changing relationships to cohorts of northeastern businessmen and philanthropists. Faced with enormous political challenges in the wake of the war, federal authorities searched for allies, ultimately forging dynamic relationships with members of an increasingly politicized capitalist class. Joining together around the politics of emancipation, colonialism, and industrial capitalism, these postbellum forces steered the economic integration of the United States at a moment of dramatic uncertainty. In the process, northeastern capitalists and U.S. authorities foreclosed possibilities for alternative forms of life, incorporating Native peoples, the formerly enslaved, smallholding farmers, and landless workers into an increasingly coherent capitalist society. Dr. Teitelman’s writing has appeared in the  Journal of American History and  New Labor Forum, among others, and her work has been supported by the Huntington Library and the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy.
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Recent Publications: 
The Properties of Capitalism: Industrial Enclosures in the South and the West After the American Civil War,” Journal of American History 106, no. 4 (March 2020): 879–900.
“Without Reserves,” coauthored with Salar Mohandesi, in Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, ed. Tithi Bhattacharya (Pluto Press, 2017), 37–67.