Department of History

Yevan (Erwan) Terrien

  • Graduate Student

I joined Pitt to work with Marcus Rediker after completing an MA at the University of Texas at Dallas. I also earned a BA in Philosophy and the diploma of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po) before teaching high school in France and the US.

I enjoy research and teaching more than (almost) anything, and could probably spend my life in archives and classrooms if only I could take Çay, my beloved tuxedo cat, with me. 


Atlantic History
Early American History
Comparative Race and Slavery

Teaching Experience

World History (Summer 2016)

African American History since the Civil War (T.A. for Liann Tsoukas, Spring 2015)

History of the United States to 1877 (T.A. for: Van Beck Hall, Fall 2014; Marcus Rediker, Spring 2013; Richard Oestreicher, Fall 2012

Representative Publications

“Forced European migrants and soldiers in French colonial New Orleans,” in New Orleans, the Founding Era, ed. Erin Greenwald (The Historic New Orleans Collection, forthcoming).

Review of Cécile Vidal (ed.), Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), in Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 63/1 (Spring 2016) , p. 222-224. 

Review of Gerald Horne, The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America (New York: New York University Press, 2014), in Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 113/4, Fall 2015, pp. 735-736.

"'A motley collection of all nations:' the Napoleonic soldiers of Champ d'Asile as citizens of the world," in "Beyond Center and Periphery: New Currents in French and Francophone Atlantic Studies," ed. Jordan Kellman, special issue, Atlantic Studies, no. 1 (2013), 89-108.

Conference Presentations:

Invited talks:

“Travailleurs et déserteurs du Mississippi,” Séminaire “Etat, travail et société” dir. Philippe Minard, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 16 December 2016

“After so many repeated maronnages”: Slavery and Runaways in French Colonial New Orleans (1738-1748), Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University, Providence, 3 November 2015.

Conference organization:

Panel “Masters and Slaves on the Margins of the Law around the French Atlantic (ca. 1660-1760)”, American Historical Association, Denver, January 2017

Graduate conference “Beyond Borders: The Practice of Atlantic, Transnational, and World History,” University of Pittsburgh, April 11-12, 2015

Selected papers:

“Early Louisianans at Work: Labor, Mobility, and Resistance in the French colonization of the Mississippi Valley (ca. 1700-1760)”, Omohundro Institute annual conference, Worcester, Massachusetts, 25 June 2016.

 “La peine de l’Amérique: Convict Transportation in Louisiana and the French Atlantic (ca. 1680-1780),” 47th Annual Meeting of the Western Society For French History, Chicago, 11 November 2015.

“More Dangerous For the Colony Than the Enemy Himself”: Military Labor, Desertion, and French imperial rule in the Mississippi Valley (ca. 1700-1760), “Runaways: Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c. 1650-1850,” International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 22-23 October 2015.

“’All is Quiet Since I Removed the Savages’: Locating and Displacing Indians in French Louisiana, 1700-1760”, Graduate Student History Conference “Beyond Borders: The Practice of Atlantic, Transnational, and World History,” University of Pittsburgh, April 10-11, 2015.

“Deserting the Mississippi: Labor, Mobility, and Resistance in French Louisiana (ca. 1700-1760),” Newberry Library Colloquium, Chicago, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

Research Interests

Dissertation Topic:

Working title: "Exiles and Fugitives: Labor, Mobility, and Power in French Colonial Louisiana, ca. 1700-1769"

Committee: Marcus Rediker (Chair), Patrick Manning, Lara Putnam, Pernille Røge, Molly Warsh, Kathleen Allen.

Forced migration and coerced labor shaped the history of the Mississippi Valley long before the Louisiana Purchase paved the way for Indian removal and the domestic slave trade. During the early eighteenth century, the development of the French colony of Louisiana relied on the displacement and mobilization of tens of thousands of Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans. Yevan’s project investigates the efforts of French authorities and local elites as they sought to manage their mobility to fulfill labor needs and strategic ambitions. In the tradition of writing Atlantic history “from below,” his dissertation also explores the struggles of convicts, deserters, runaway slaves, and other fugitives to escape this control. By considering the trajectories of people in motion from three continents as part of a colonial process fraught with conflict, Yevan’s research reevaluates France’s impact in North America and the limitations of its first colonial empire.