Harry C. Black Professor of History
Early Modern colonial British America, Slavery
The Johns Hopkins University
Department of History
3400 North Charles Street
370 Gilman Hall
Baltimore MD 21218
Telephone: (410) 516-7587
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 1:00 - 2:00
Primarily an Early American historian, I also have subsidiary interests in African-American history and the study of the Atlantic world. I am a newcomer to the department, having been appointed in 2000 (although I was once an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar at Hopkins). I came from the College of William and Mary, where I was a professor of history and editor of the William and Mary Quarterly. My publications include: Colonial Chesapeake Society (1988), Strangers within the Realm: Cultural Margins of the First British Empire (1991), Cultivation and Culture: Work and the Shaping of Afro-American Culture in the Americas (1993), and Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (1998). Fellowships include: Institute of Early American History and Culture, Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, John Carter Brown Library, American Antiquarian Society, the Huntington Library, American Council of Learned Societies, and Guggenheim Foundation. Prizes include: Association of Caribbean Historians Best Article Prize (1995-1997); American Historical Association, Albert J. Beveridge Award and Wesley-Logan Prize (1998); Organization of American Historians, Elliott Rudwick Prize (1999); South Carolina Historical Society Prize (1999); Columbia University, Bancroft Prize (1999); Library of Virginia Literary Nonfiction Award (1999); Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Yale University, Frederick Douglass Prize (1999); Southern Historical Association, Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Prize (1999); and American Philosophical Society, Jacques Barzun Prize (1999).
My major project is provisionally entitled, "Jamaican Small World: White and Black in the Eighteenth Century." My microhistorical study has four major goals: to explore the process of colonization and the transition from homeland to adopted land in personal and comprehensive terms; to capture the routines and rhythms of daily life in southwestern Jamaica and related corners of the Atlantic world; to probe an interracial world of plain folk; and to paint a vivid portrait of the individuality of ordinary people and the particularity of one local community. My main informant is Thomas Thistlewood, a man of no particular distinction except that he kept one of the most detailed records of plantation life in existence. I have also a number of subsidiary plans e.g. I am co-editing a book, "The Black Experience and the British Empire," for Oxford University Press (to be submitted 2001) and another "Arming Slaves: From the Classical Era to the American Civil War" for Yale University Press (also to be submitted 2001). I have also guest edited (with David Eltis) a special issue, "New Perspectives on The Transatlantic Slave Trade," set to appear in William and Mary Quarterly, LVIII (January 2001).
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