Kiefer Holland (BA, MSc)

Thesis title: “I out-live them”: The Creation of Out-Living Selves and Textual Layering in the Writing and Speeches of Six Nineteenth-Century African American Women


Kiefer was awarded a BA in English Literature and the Walker May Prize for the standard of his undergraduate dissertation from the University of Brighton in 2016 and an MSc in US Literature from the University of Edinburgh in 2018. He is currently pursuing his PhD in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh after being awarded a full studentship from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.

Postgraduate teaching

English Literature 2 Tutor - Second Semester, 2020/21

Research summary

My PhD research examines the lives, writing, speeches, and photographs of six African American women: Jarena Lee, Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Charlotte Forten, and Anna Julia Cooper. The project considers how those women imagined and created versions of themselves that lived outside the boundaries nineteenth-century US racist ideology placed upon their humanity and examines how those self-created personas were expressed through work with layers of meaning designed to communicate different messages to different audiences.

Current research interests

Nineteenth-Century African American Women, Black Studies, US and Transatlantic Slavery Studies, Intersectionality, the Black Radical Tradition.

Past research interests

Undergraduate Dissertation (2016): Black Men and Optic White America; Masters Dissertation (2018): Cast(e)ing Voters: Race, Gender, and Suffrage in the Works of Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, 1845-1870.

Project activity

Five-week research trip to the US, visiting archives and institutions in Newburyport, MA, Salem, MA, Boston, MA, New York City, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC. Institutions visited included Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem State University, Harvard, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Historical Society, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, Howard University, and the Library of Congress. September – October 2019. Funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Student Development Fund.


Confronting Shadows: Mindful and Ethical Communication of Sensitive Content, a cross-institutional, interdisciplinary, daylong workshop. St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow. 22nd November 2019. Funded by the SGSAH Cohort Development Fund.

Current project grants

SGSAH Three-Year Full PhD Studentship 2018-2021.

Past project grants

Student Development Fund - SGSAH (£4275)
Cohort Development Fund - SGSAH (£2500)


Panel Chair, “Memory, Resistance, and Connection in the Media.” BAAS PG Symposium 2020: Connection and Collective Action: Past and Present. Online. 28th November 2020.

Papers delivered

“Josiah Henson: The Escape from Life to Truth.” English Literature Work in Progress Presentation Series. University of Edinburgh. 21st February 2018.

“Josiah Henson: The Escape from Life to Truth.” Black Atlantic Authorship and Art (1818-2018) International Symposium. University of Edinburgh. 17th November 2018.

“Sojourner Truth: ‘I am a woman’s rights.’” Scottish Association for the Study of America Conference. University of Edinburgh. 2nd March 2019.

“Word from the Black Woman: Anna Julia Cooper’s US in A Voice from the South.” British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference. British Library. 7th December 2019.

“‘I out-live them’: The Creation of Out-Living Selves and Textual Layering in the Writing and Speeches of Six Nineteenth-Century African American Women.” American History Workshop. University of Edinburgh. Online. 9th July 2020.

“When I think and feel the most, I say the least”: The Importance of Charlotte Forten’s “Daybook.” Scottish Association for the Study of America Conference. Online. 6th March 2021.

“All dressed in black”: Allegorical Representation in Maria Stewart’s “The First Stage of Life.” British Association for American Studies Conference. Online. 4th April 2021.

Book Review: Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness across the Disciplines, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Luke Charles Harris, Daniel Martinez HoSang, and George Lipsitz (eds.). Journal of American Studies. Vol. 52, No. 4, 2020. Cambridge University Press. DOI:

“The Escape from Life to Truth: Reimagining Josiah Henson and his Autobiographies.” Kalfou. Vol. 7, No. 1, 2020. Temple University Press.

Book Review : An Intimate Economy, Alexandra J. Finley. United States Studies Online. 12th February, 2021. URL: