Carole Autori


While taking an American History class, Carole Autori became interested in tracing racial issues in turn-of-the century Boston. In this process, she found that her analysis of Pauline Hopkins’ oeuvre differed from that of other scholars, which led her to pursue research on the topic. Through her studies of Hopkins’ novels, Carole affirmed her passion for immigrant and minority social history. Next fall she will enter the History Ph.D. program at UCI with the eventual goal of becoming a community college professor. When not reading nineteenth-century novels, Carole has served on the board of directors for a homeless shelter and taught gardening and nutrition classes to low-income families. triangle.gif (504 bytes)




The life and work of Pauline Hopkins, the most prolific black woman writer at the turn of the last century, were examined for potential evidence of her role in influencing African-American women to emerge from the Victorian age and enter the modern era as ‘New Women of Color.’ Hopkins’ life was a testament to her belief in the benefits that modernity offered to women. This paper finds that Hopkins’ romantic and best-known novel, Contending Forces, addresses two distinct groups of African-American women. The first group descended from free Northern blacks; the second, the freed Southern mulatta women, descended from slaves and migrated to Boston. This paper investigates Hopkins’ strategies for validating the lives of Southern women as they were integrated into a free society controlled by middle- and upper-class Northern black women at the start of the twentieth century. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Alice Fahs

School of Humanities

A superb and innovative researcher, Carole Autori has, in this ambitious essay, uncovered the multiple contexts within which the writer Pauline Hopkins’ life and work were shaped. The challenges Autori faced were considerable: little direct evidence of Pauline Hopkins’ life has survived; but her novels and a few of her magazine articles do exist. Like Martha Hodes or Laurel Ulrich, historians who have carefully built worlds around subjects who have left few traces, Carole used extensive research of Hopkins’ world, in conjunction with the themes, settings, and characters of her novels, as the basis of her paper. All of this was essentially self-guided; she had the born researcher’s gift of knowing where next to go, and pursued every possible lead with passion. I am delighted that I will have the chance to continue working with Carole in the Ph.D. program in History beginning in the fall of 2005. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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