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
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)
Conferences and Colloquia Co-Organized
09/2016 - present
2017 Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA/GAAS), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
05/2016 - present
"From Canada to Mexico: Doctoral Lab in North American History," Freie Universität Berlin
10/2015 - 06/2016
“Flows and Undercurrents: Dimensions of (Im)mobility in North America,” GSNAS Graduate Conference 2016, Freie Universität Berlin
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)
“'Adventures on Highways and Byways’: the Multifarious Automotive Life of Jack Johnson." Paper prepared for the Interdisciplinary Forum of the John. F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, July 5, 2016.
“Joyriding in the Early Twentieth-Century United States: Race, Mobility, and the Right to Consume.” Paper prepared for the Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College, June 20-26, 2016.
“Joyriding Along the Color Line: Race and Automotivity in the Early Twentieth-Century United States.” Paper prepared for From Canada to Mexico: Doctoral Lab in North American History, Freie Universität Berlin, June 9, 2016.
“Chauffeurs’ Clubs and the Color Line: Automotivity and Race in Early Twentieth-Century America.” Paper prepared for the Interdisciplinary Forum of the John. F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, February 9, 2016.
"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, College of William & Mary, April 10-11, 2015.