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Julia Gilman

  • Field(s):  United States, Modern Europe
  • Specialization: Colonial, Imperial and Diasporic History; Legal & Criminal History; Political & Policy History; War & Empire in History.
  • Advisor(s):  Doug Kiel


Julia Gilman, a Chicago-area native, is a Doctoral Student in History. She attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she was an Undergraduate Fellow in the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy before obtaining her B.A. History, B.A. Constitutional Democracy, a Minor in Political Science, and Certificate in Multicultural Studies with University Honors. After completing her undergraduate degrees, Julia stayed on at the University of Missouri for her M.A. in Atlantic History and Politics. Julia’s research interests lie in 18th and 19th century French and Early American Indigenous history of the Midwest (with a primary focus of Illinois and Missouri). Julia’s research focuses on the intersection of social and legal history, paying special attention to the perspectives of local actors in times of heavy federal policy influence. Her undergraduate honors thesis, “‘An Act to Restrict Intercourse with Indians’: Indigenous Dispossession in Missouri, 1800-1860,” traces Missouri’s Indigenous history from the Louisiana Purchase through the 1845 enactment of a restrictive state law preventing trade between Indigenous and white Missourians. Julia hopes to expand this research to establish more comprehensive perspectives of the different actors in Missouri while at Northwestern. Julia has also presented research on French colonial-Indigenous relations in the Central Mississippi River Valley at two conferences. She presented her paper, “‘Prejudicial to the Good of the Trade of the Company’: French Commodification of Indigenous Enslavement in the Central Mississippi River Valley, 1698-1763,” at the Texas A&M History Graduate Student Conference in February 2022 and her paper, “Le grand feline appelé par les Sauvages Missisipi’: French Dual Settlements in the Central Mississippi River Valley, 1698-1763,” at the Missouri Conference on History in March 2022. Her article, “‘The Least Dangerous Branch’: The Supreme Court’s Transformation into a Judicial and Legislative Body,” will be published in the Journal on Constitutional Democracy in Spring 2023. This article focuses on the way in which the Supreme Court has evolved from a body of judicial review enumerated in Marbury v. Madison (1803) to that of the main actor in policy making enumerated in Roe v. Wade (1973) (and now Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022)), Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), and Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (2018).

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