In the Archives
I specialize in African-American history, women’s and gender history, and the history of American slavery, but I am equally fascinated with colonial and 19th century legal and economic history, especially as it pertains to women, systems of bondage, and the domestic slave trade.
My book, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, is based on my revised dissertation which I wrote under the direction of Professor Deborah Gray White. In 2013, it won the Organization of American Historians’ Lerner-Scott Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women's history.
My work has appeared in Slavery and Abolition, Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, the recently published anthology, Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas, as well as on the web.
I am currently at work on two new projects. The first, entitled “She had…a Womb Subjected to Bondage”: The Afro-Atlantic Origins of British Colonial Descent Law, examines the ways that West African customs and laws influenced English thinking about matrilineal descent and may have influenced their decisions to implement matrilineal descent laws in their North American colonies. My second project, “A Country so dreadfull for a White Woman” reconstructs the lives of nearly 300 British women who travelled to the African littoral on Royal African Company slave ships and settled in the company’s forts and castles before 1750.