December 7, 2021

EP. 242 — Who Built The Panama Canal? with Professor Kaysha Corinealdi

In 1903, a Frenchman and an American granted the United States ninety nine years of control over the Isthmus of Panama. No Panamanians signed that treaty. This week, Professor Kaysha Corinealdi and Jonathan explore the political history and legacy of what came next: the Panama Canal.


Kaysha Corinealdi is an interdisciplinary historian of modern empires, migration, gender, and activism in the Americas. Her forthcoming book Panama in Black centers the activism of Afro-Caribbean migrants and their descendants as they navigated practices and policies of anti-Blackness, xenophobia, denationalization, and white supremacy in Panama and the United States. Her research can also be found in Black Perspectives (September 14, 2021), Caribbean Review of Gender Studies (Issue 12, 2018), the International Journal of Africana Studies (18:2, Fall-Winter 2017), and the Global South (6:2, Fall 2013).

You can follow her on Twitter @KCorinealdi, and read more of her work here.

Find out what today’s guest and former guests are up to by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN.

Transcripts for each episode are available at

Check out Getting Curious merch at

Listen to more music from Quiñ by heading over to

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Professor Kaysha Corinealdi JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Professor Kaysha Corinealdi, where I ask her: what’s the story of the Panama Canal? Welcome to Getting Curious, this is Jonathan Van Ness. I’m so excited for this week’s episode. I’m so excited for this week’s guest. So without any further ado, welcome to the show Kaysha Corinealdi, who is an assistant professor at Emerson College and an interdisciplinary historian of modern empires, migration, gender, and activism in the Americas. And before we dive in, I realized I live really close to a dam and then I was like, “What is going on with dams?” Like, what’s going on with, like, water stuff? So we just had our first kind of learning experience with, li

Recent Episodes

May 31, 2023

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down decisions that could have major implications for LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, tribal sovereignty, and beyond.

May 24, 2023

We’re dripping in jewels this week on Getting Curious! What does it mean for a diamond to be “hard”? Are lab-grown gems made to perfection? What’s the difference between rubies and pink sapphires?

May 18, 2023

New Orleans was one of America’s most important cities in the early 1800s. It was also one of the most deadly. This week, to mark the new season of Queer Eye, we’re exploring New Orleans history with Dr. Kathryn Olivarius in a special two-part episode.