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Rape and Race in the nineteenth century South

Rape and Race in the nineteenth century South

Diane Miller Sommerville

Diane Miller Sommerville

Associate Professor
Vice Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D.,1995, Rutgers University
19th-Century U.S., U.S. South, Women's History, Race, Sexuality
Office: LT 816
Phone: (607) 777-2251   E-mail:

Diane Sommerville's research interests encompass race, gender, and the American South. Her first research project, which culminated in the publication of her first book, Rape and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South, traces the evolution of white southerners' fears of black rape by examining cases of black-on-white rape throughout the nineteenth century. Her current project is a study of suicide among Southerners during and after the Civil War that explores how gender shaped decisions about suicide in the wake of war's physical and emotional devastation. Her teaching areas include the 19th-century U.S., the American South, U.S. Women's history, Civil War and Reconstruction, History of Sexuality in the U.S., and African-American History.

C-Span Video "Civil War Battlefield Trauma" (click here)

"'Behind the Lines' interview with Diane Miller Sommerville about suicide in the Confederacy" (click here) 

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Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses


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Last Updated: 8/6/14