Office: SOC 288
Ph.D. in History, University of Chicago, 2012
My courses reflect my underlying interests in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the history of slavery and the African diaspora in the New World. My course on Modern Caribbean History incorporates all of the larger societies and linguistic groups of this complex region. Starting with the Spanish conquest and ending with contemporary problems of migration, tourism, unemployment and environmental degradation, this course traces the ways in which contrasting patterns of colonial slavery, slave emancipation, post-emancipation social conflict and U.S. economic and military hegemony can account for the divergent trajectories of the different Caribbean societies. My course on Atlantic Slavery is designed to give students a broad understanding of the economics, demographics, and cultural legacies of the largest and most prolonged forced migration in history. Students in this course will take on the distinctions between “slave societies” and “societies with slaves,” the differences between slavery on the sugar plantations of the circum-Caribbean and the plantations of North America, and the different strategies that slaves adopted to endure, escape, or subvert the slave system.
I am a historian of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. My scholarship grows out of my own efforts to comprehend the history of Hispaniola – the initial site of European conquest and African slavery in the new world. Today the island is divided into two nationalities and three languages, and its history has been complicated by centuries of tyranny, political unrest, and foreign economic and military control. My scholarship draws from archival work in the United States and France as well as extended periods of study in the National Archives of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
My forthcoming book on early nineteenth century Haiti focuses on systems of land ownership and crop production devised by the former slaves who overthrew the plantation system of colonial Saint Domingue. In particular I have focused on unauthorized settlements of runaways and squatters that emerged amidst the violence and upheaval of the Haitian Revolution and that came to shape the culture, demographics and economics of the Haitian countryside. Related questions of maroon resistance and Haitian free soil policy inspired my first article, which deals with fugitive slaves from the Turks and Caicos who escaped to Haiti during the 1820s.