Robert Bland is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. His research interests include postbellum African American history, the black public sphere, and the roles of place and space in black political thought.
His dissertation, "Requiem for Reconstruction: The South Carolina Lowcountry and the Long Struggle for Black Citizenship, 1876-1945," explores black intellectuals' efforts to defend the legacy of Reconstruction during the Jim Crow era. In their newspapers, schools, scholarship, and literary productions, intellectuals in the bourgeoning black public sphere crafted a countermemory of South Carolina's Reconstruction-era history that privileged the political, economic and cultural accomplishments of black rural people. In doing so, these intellectual activists not only challenged the white supremacist revision of Reconstruction's history, but also invented new mythologies about Reconstruction-era black political rule and Lowcountry Gullah folkways that ultimately redefined the relationship black Americans had with nation-state by connecting seemingly parochial rural communities in the postbellum South to the larger transatlantic black diaspora.
Robert's research has been supported by a number of institutions, including the Social Science Research Council, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland.
For the past three years, Robert has been a lecturer for the Harry and Lynde Bradley Seminar on Constitutional and Economic Principles, the cornerstone course for The Institute for Responsible Citizenship. Before entering graduate school, Robert taught high school social studies in Jackson, Mississippi.