School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Vanessa Mongey

Teaching Fellow


Office: Armstrong 1.27

Semester 1 Office Hours: Tuesday 2-4pm and Wednesday 10-11am except week 7 (subject to change or cancellation as necessary)

Phone extension: 82201

Introduction: I specialise in Atlantic work history with a focus on international relations, the Age of Revolutions, and Caribbean history. Before arriving at Newcastle, I taught at Rhodes College and the University of Pittsburgh. I also worked for museums with a concentration on Pre Columbian art. I completed my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, during which I did research in New Orleans, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and France. I previously studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the Université de la Sorbonne.

Academic Profile

PhD, History, University of Pennsylvania

MA, History, University of Pennsylvania

BA, History, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris IV

BA, American Studies, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris III

Previous Positions 

Research assistant: Musée des Jacobins, Auch, and Musée des Arts Américains, Océaniens et Africains, Marseille, 2015

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Pittsburgh, 2012-14

Visiting Assistant Professor, Rhodes College, Memphis, 2011-12 

Research fellow, New-York Historical Society, 2010-11


Research interests

My main research interests are in revolutionary Atlantic world history, particularly social, cultural and political history.

  • Age of Revolutions (1780-1850)
  • Greater Caribbean
  • Haitian diaspora in the nineteenth century
  • International relations
  • Radical transnational  movements
  • Visual culture, including the representation of Pre-Columbian art
  • European empires in the Atlantic world
  • The slave trade, especially smuggling
  • Circulation of print media, e.g. newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, ephemera
  • Translation

My research investigates the notion of belonging in the Atlantic World. I am finishing my first book, Foreigners of Desperate Fortune: Cosmopolitan Revolutions in the Greater Caribbean (1780-1840) that reconstructs revolutionary networks composed of men of different nationalities and ethnicities who attempted to create their own states in former Spanish colonies in the Greater Caribbean. This monograph argues that non-state actors were central to the decolonization process in the Americas and shows how tangled strands of opportunities for this kind of cosmopolitan collaborations gradually disappeared with the United States extending their presence in the West Indies. Several grants supported my research in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including from the Mellon Foundation, Harvard University, and the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Current Research Projects

My project explores how states tried to control the mobility of their members in the long nineteenth century by developing the concept of "loyalty." This project probes into Hannah Arendt's premise that the protection of basic human rights is dependent upon national citizenship. It traces this premise to the long nineteenth century debates around diplomatic protection, criminalization of service in foreign militaries, and identification papers (passports). A summer grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities started this project that focuses on how legislation affected individuals on the ground and how these individuals resisted –often successfully- these laws. These prohibitions became a testing ground for ideas about nationality, race, and gender.  Given that various countries are now considering revoking the citizenship of those suspected of disloyalty and terrorism, an examination of this idea of loyalty "owed" to the nation has considerable relevance for the present.

Another project explores Afro-descendent migration movements in the nineteenth century and argues that Haiti played a major role in modern understanding of mobility and identity. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was perhaps the first modern crisis of exiles with tens of thousands of colonists leaving the French colony of Saint-Domingue and finding refuge throughout the Atlantic world. I am researching the little studied Back-to-Haiti movement and the refugees who decided to return to Haiti after independence. In particular, I explore the impact of this return movement on Haiti's relations with the international community and how these returnees contributed to Haitian state-formation. I see Haiti as a magnet for global migration as African Americans also decided to settle in Haiti to escape racial oppression in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Being Human festival 2017

Paths Across Waters: Lost Stories of Tyneside and the Caribbean: exhibit and event series at Old Low Light Heritage Center, North Shields. Free entry: Friday 17 November – Saturday 25 November, 10:00am–5:00pm

Embark on a journey across seas, oceans and rivers that revives the shared history between Tyneside and the West Indies. This interactive and multimedia exhibition charts the lost connections between the two regions and raises awareness of Tyneside’s international heritage to ask what memories, objects and understandings of this history remain in the North East? What has been lost, and what can we learn from our history as a maritime region?

This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK's only national festival of the humanities. For further information please see

Fellowships and awards

Max Plank Institute for European Legal Studies, Summer 2018

Being Human Festival award, 2017

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, Newberry Library, 2014

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism Program, 2009-2010

Harvard University Research Grant in Atlantic History, 2009

Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations Dissertation Fellowship, 2008-2009

Center for New World Comparative Studies Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, 2008

Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities in Original Sources, 2007-2008      

Newberry Library Research Grant, 2007               

Historic New Orleans Collection Fellowship in the Arts and Humanities, 2007               

Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 2003-2007


Module leader

HIS2234 Atlantic slave trade, 1450-1850

HIS3138 Art of empires, 1750-1850

HIS3332 The Haitian Revolution

HIS3000 Reading history: The Black Atlantic

HIS3020 Writing History

HIS8104 Ideas and Influences in British History (MA)