Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Dr Vanessa Mongey



Office: Armstrong 1.27

Feedback and Consultation Hours: Tuesday 3-4pm and Friday 3-5pm

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 in France and the United States with a concentration on Pre-Columbian arts. 

Academic Profile

PhD, 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 assistant, New-York Historical Society, 2010-11


Research interests

  • Atlantic world
  • Age of Revolutions 
  • Greater Caribbean
  • African diaspora
  • International relations
  • Political transnational movements
  • Visual and material culture
  • The slave trade, especially smuggling
  • Circulation of print media, e.g. newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, ephemera

My forthcoming book, Foreigners of Desperate Fortune: Failed Revolutions in the Greater Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press: 2020) recovers the existence of a cosmopolitan revolutionary ideology bent on altering the world order amidst the fracturing of empires. It follows little known individuals—Afro-Antillean merchants, U.S. privateers French corsairs, Spanish philosophers, and Italian soldiers, as they claimed the right to revolution and launched multinational and multiracial expeditions to create their own countries. Often portrayed as quixotic and failed projects, they remind us that all states in post-colonial Americas, often with very fragile foundations, faced a challenging path towards consolidation. By looking at cases when certain actors sought recognition but were unsuccessful, the book cast a revealing light on the sorting-out process whereby states erected formal mechanisms to legitimate some claims and invalidate others.

Current Research Project

My new project is a history of the regulation of international travel in the North Atlantic world in the modern era (1770-1870). It examines the historical underpinnings of the right to freedom of movement as defined by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." And yet, no one questions today that individuals categorized as suspicious, namely criminals or terrorists, may be restricted or even barred from traveling freely.  By looking at debates around diplomatic protection, criminalization of service in foreign militaries, and identification papers (passports), this project reveals how freedom of movement became a testing ground for ideas about nationality, race, and gender. This project not only shows how states tried to control the mobility of their members, but also focuses on how legislation affected individuals on the ground and how these individuals resisted these laws. 


November 2017-present: Principal Investigator for Paths Across Waters: Lost Stories of Tyneside and the Caribbean. 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, 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?

I am now working on the links between Tyneside, the Caribbean, and West Africa. You can follow the project on Twitter #PathsWaters

Fellowships and awards

  • Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow in North American Studies, British Library 2018
  • Max Plank Institute for European Legal Studies 2018
  • Being Human Festival award, 2017
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, Newberry Library, 2014
  • 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)


  • Mongey V. Going home: The back-to-Haiti movement in the early nineteenth century. Atlantic Studies 2019, 16(2), 184-202.
  • Mongey V. A la croisée des révolutions et des lois: exilés napoléoniens aux Etats-Unis. In: Villerbu, Tangi, ed. Marchands, exilés, missionnaires et diplomates : Les Français et les États-Unis, 1789-1815. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2017, pp.55-67.
  • Mongey V. “Des Français indignes de ce nom: rester français en Louisiane”. In: Vidal, Cecile, ed. Français? La nation en débat entre colonies et métropole, XVIe-XIXe siècle. Paris, France: EHESS, 2014, pp.187-208.
  • Mongey Vanessa. “The pen and the sword: print in the revolutionary Caribbean,”. In: G. Entin, A.E. Gómez, F. Morelli, C. Thibaud, ed. L’Atlantique révolutionnaire. Une perspective ibéro-américaine. Paris: Presses des Perseides, 2013, pp.26-40.
  • Mongey Vanessa. “A Tale of Two Brothers: Haiti’s Other Revolutions.”. The Americas 2012, 69(1), 37-60.
  • Mongey Vanessa. “Les vagabonds de la république: l es révolutionnaires européens aux Amériques. In: C. Thibaud, F. Morelli, and G. Verdo, ed. Les empires atlantiques des Lumières au libéralisme (1763-1865). Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009, pp.67-82.