Justine Walden

Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2019-2020)

Ph.D., History and Renaissance Studies, Yale University

Portrait image "selfie" of Justine Walden standing in a tree-lined street wearing green earrings and leather straps around her shoulders

What Price Souls: Capuchin Mission in Congo, Mercantilism, and Antislavery

What Price Souls looks at how in their responses to Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French slaving in seventeenth-century Congo, West Africa, Italian Capuchin missionaries brought Mediterranean and Atlantic slavery into dialogue. Analyzing the dispatches sent by Capuchins to their headquarters at the Propaganda Fide in Rome, I show how Capuchins mediated empire, weighed in on ideas about profit, and contributed to evolving ideas about race. In that Capuchins condemned slavery’s abuses, I argue that their work represents a prescient instance of antislavery sentiment.

After receiving my Ph.D. in History and Renaissance Studies at Yale University (2016), I served as a visiting Postdoctoral researcher on a digital mapping project at the University of Toronto. My first book (forthcoming, Brepols) looks at a series of exorcism manuscripts written by Florentine monks to understand religious change, politics, and why the persecution of groups like witches, Jews, and peasants spiked in late fifteenth-century Europe. My bachelor’s degree is in Philosophy from the University of California Berkeley; my MA is in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.