Tessa Murphy, Assistant Professor of History, is this year’s recipient of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Teaching and Research. The award will be presented at the Maxwell School Virtual Graduation Ceremony on Saturday May 22. As this year’s Moynihan Award winner, Murphy will be the guest speaker at the convocation. Assistant professor of political science Dimitar Gueorguiev, winner of the Moynihan Prize 2020, will also make remarks.
The Moynihan Prize is awarded annually in recognition of a non-tenured faculty member of the Maxwell School with an outstanding record of teaching, research and service. Created by the same name in 1985 by then-US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, himself a former Maxwell School junior faculty member, the award aims to help Maxwell recognize and retain promising young researchers.
Murphy’s research interests lie in the history of race, slavery, indigeneity, and empire in the colonial Americas, broadly defined to include the Caribbean, Central and South America, and what Canada and the United States are today. She has an upcoming book, “The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean, “ with the University of Pennsylvania Press, which publishes one of the main catalogs of early American history. Murphy completed this book with the support of a National Humanities Endowment Scholarship, which she held at the John Carter Brown Library during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Murphy excels in both large lectures and small seminars, using a broad perspective to help students make connections between regions often studied in isolation from each other, and highlight the experiences of various historical actors. Drawing on her research, she reframed existing courses such as American history until 1865 and the era of the American Revolution to integrate the Caribbean and Latin America into the understanding of colonial Americas and to emphasize the importance of including aboriginal and enslaved peoples in the conceptions of “early Americans”.
She also contributed to the University’s Warrior-Scholar project and involved undergraduate and graduate students in her current efforts to create a searchable database from a register of 700,000 slaves in the British West Indies. . She has also supervised two undergraduate theses and joined five doctorates. committees, including one at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2019, she received the Meredith Teaching Recognition Award.