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Photo of Rashauna Johnson, professor of history and AAASHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we talk with Rashauna Johnson, Associate Professor of History, and author of Slavery's Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions (Cambridge University Press, 2016; paperback 2018). Rashauna's book has received much acclaim, garnering the 2016 Williams Prize for the best book in Louisiana history and an honorable mention for the Urban History Association's Kenneth Jackson Award.  Slavery's Metropolis was also a finalist for the 2016 Berkshire Conference of Women's Historians Book Prize, and the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

What is your book about?

It shows how fights over the physical place of enslaved people in New Orleans were proxies for Atlantic debates about urbanity, mobility and modernity.

Where do you get your ideas?

Archival research, other scholars, and popular culture.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Good music and great coffee.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

Beats me. I just hope it exists!

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

To pay attention to the craft of writing, and to remember that inspiration and discipline feed one another.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Fiction. I love novels.  I haven’t started it, but next up is Brit Bennett’s The Mothers.