Emily Tran

Email: eytran@wisc.edu

Advisor: Walter Stern

Emily Tran headshot


As a joint Ph.D. student in History and Educational Policy Studies, I am interested in contestations over the role of racism in popular recollections of the American past, or in Americans’ historical memory. My research seeks to understand why inaccurate understandings of the history of racism in the United States remain durable and impervious to change, even in the face of prominent counter-narratives advanced by scholars, activists, and communities of color.

In my master’s thesis, I analyzed how Bostonians involved in the city’s effort to desegregate its public schools in the 1970s invoked or elided racism in their personal recollections of racial desegregation. My current research centers on contestations over historical memory during moments of racial reckoning in the late 20th century, when racist incidents sparked renewed, yet fleeting, attempts to take account of and come to terms with the history and persistence of racism in the United States.


M.A., University of Wisconsin–Madison
B.A., (Hons), University of Alberta


  • U.S./North American History

MA Title

  • “‘Do You Call It Desegregation, Do You Call It Busing’: Race and Personal Memory of Boston’s School Desegregation”

Selected Awards

  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 2019-2022
  • Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction (Doctoral), 2020-2021
  • Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction (Master’s), 2018-2019
  • Graduate School Fellowship, 2017-2018

Courses Taught (as TA)

  • History 102: American History from the Civil War Era to the Present (Fall 2019)
  • History 221: The Cultural and Intellectual History of Your Parents’ Generation (1970s-’90s)
  • History/ED POL 412: History of American Education (Fall 2021)