Lacy Feigh is a historian of modern Ethiopia and the greater Nile Valley interested in legacies of slavery, empire, and constructions of race. Utilizing an array of sources from legal archival records to modern art and literature, Feigh’s research examines how individuals navigated expansion of the modern Ethiopian imperial state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her broader work aims to bridge histories of Africa and the Middle East through the lives of individuals and ideas which traveled widely across these historiographically-imposed borders.
Feigh holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania where she specialized in themes of race, labor, and migration in modern Africa and the Middle East. At Penn, her work was supported by Fulbright and the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship. She also received a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Penn’s Middle East Studies Center from 2022-2023. At Princeton, she is developing her first book, which looks to expand upon her dissertation, “Abyssinia to Ethiopia: Slavery, Race and the Transition from Empire to Nation, 1855-1957.” This project follows Ethiopian freed and enslaved travel guides, intellectuals, and administrative officials to highlight the importance of slavery, freed slaves, and antislavery legislation to the making of the modern imperial state. The book delves into the paradoxes of Ethiopia’s unique position as a modern African empire and independent state.
Prior to her graduate work, Feigh served as an English Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Yirgalem, Ethiopia and worked as an English Teaching Assistant with Fulbright in Amman, Jordan. She has published a piece on the Peace Corps in The Washington Post.
In Fall 2023, Feigh will teach a course in the History Department: “A Global History of Ethiopia: Ras Tefari to Haile Selassie.”