Yevan Terrien, University of Pittsburgh
Barra Dissertation Fellow
“Exiles and Fugitives: Mobility, Power, and Labor in Early Louisiana, ca. 1700-1770”
Forced migration and coerced labor shaped the history of the Mississippi Valley long before the Louisiana Purchase paved the way for Indian removal and the domestic slave trade. During the early eighteenth century, the development of the French colony of Louisiana relied on the displacement and mobilization of tens of thousands of Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans. Yevan’s project investigates the efforts of French authorities and local elites as they sought to manage their mobility to fulfill labor needs and strategic ambitions. In the tradition of writing Atlantic history “from below,” his dissertation also explores the struggles of convicts, deserters, runaway slaves, and other fugitives to escape this control. By considering the trajectories of people in motion from three continents as part of a colonial process fraught with conflict, Yevan’s research reevaluates France’s impact in North America and the limitations of its first colonial empire.