Helen Gibson


10/2015 – present       

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

10/2012 – 09/2014     

M.A. in American History, Culture and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

08/2001 – 05/2005    

B.A. in American Studies, University of Virginia


Academic Employment

04/2013 – 04/2014     

Tutor, Amerika-Institut Writing Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Grants and Awards

10/2015 – 09/2018     

Doctoral Fellowship, German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

Research Interests

Helen Gibson is a historian of American civil rights. Her research interests include the intersection of the histories of citizenship and incarceration in the United States and the limits of consumption-as-citizenship in postwar American society. She is currently researching the historical relationship between civil rights and automotivity within the intersecting arenas of American capitalism, the American legal system, and American race relations. In her dissertation project entitled, “Automotive Culture and Citizenship in America: the Racial Dynamics of Postwar Consumerism,” she explores the unique circumstances faced by African Americans in the twentieth-century American pursuit of freedom through driving.


"Felons and the Right to Vote in Virginia: a Historical Overview" in The Virginia News Letter 91, no. 1 (January 2015): 1-9. (Link to article)


Contributions in the News

“Virginia’s History of Taking Away Civil Rights” in The Virginian-Pilot, February 1, 2015. (Link to guest column)


Conference Papers

"Hog Stealing in Virginia's Colonial Statutes: Racially Discriminatory Seeds of Felon Disenfranchisement Sown in the Colonial Capital." Paper prepared for the 5th annual Lemon Project Spring Symposium, Williamsburg, VA, April 10-11, 2015.