School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Vanessa Mongey

Teaching Fellow


Office: Armstrong 1.27

Semester 2 Feedback and Consultation Hours: Tuesday 11-1pm and Thursday 10-11am (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
  • International relations
  • Radical transnational  movements
  • Visual culture, including the representation of Pre-Columbian art
  • The slave trade, especially smuggling
  • Circulation of print media, e.g. newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, ephemera

My research investigates the notion of belonging in the Atlantic World. My forthcoming book, Foreigners of Desperate Fortune: Cosmopolitan Revolutions in the Greater Caribbean (1780-1840) 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 book 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.

Current Research Projects

My new project is a history of the regulation of international travel. It links the process of state-building to the right of travel by exploring how this right was exercised, monitored, or restricted before passports and travel regulations became standardized. 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).  This project not only shows how states tried to control the mobility of their members in the long nineteenth century by developing the concept of "loyalty," but also 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. While there is an extensive scholarship on modern national citizenship, most of it focuses on the construction of citizenship inside state borders. My project contends that citizenship was constructed abroad: when individuals crossed, or attempted to cross, borders.

Another project explores return migration and Afro-descendent migration movements especially to Haiti. 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 male and female returnees contributed to Haitian state-formation.


November 2017-present: Principal Investigator for the Paths Across Waters: Lost Stories of Tyneside and the Caribbean project. This project started as an event for the Being Human festival, the UK's only national festival of the humanities with a multimedia exhibit and event series at Old Low Light Heritage Center, North Shields. 9-26 November 2017, which received over 400 visitors. This project is a journey across seas, oceans and rivers that revives the shared history between Tyneside and the West Indies. It 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?

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               


Module leader

HIS2234 Atlantic slave trade, 1450-1850

HIS3138 Art of empires, 1750-1850

HIS3332 The Haitian Revolution

HIS3000 Reading History: Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic

HIS3020 Writing History

HIS8104 Ideas and Influences in British History (MA)