I regularly teach courses in the history of the Old and New South. I also offer courses in the history of American Religion, American legal history, and Southern Autobiography.
Africans in the Old South: Mapping Exceptional Lives Across the Atlantic World
Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2016
Where the Negroes Are Masters
An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014
Paths to Freedom: Manumission in the Atlantic World
Edited with Rosemary Brana-Shute
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2009
The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey
German translation with Rogner & Bernhard, 2004
French translations with Editions Les Persides 2007
Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2004
Memory and Identity: Minority Survival Among the Huguenots in France and the Atlantic Diaspora
Edited with Bertrand Van Ruymbeke
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2003
Religion in Mississippi
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi for the Heritage of Mississippi Series, 2001
Money, Trade, and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society
Edited with Jack P. Greene and Rosemary Brana-Shte
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001
On Jordan's Stormy Banks: Evangelical Religion in Mississippi, 1773-1876
Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994
My research revolves around three broad areas of interest: the Atlantic World, Southern History, and American Religious History.
My interest in Atlantic history has focused on race and the slave trade. My most recent publication, Africans in the Old South: Mapping Exceptional Lives Across the Atlantic World (Harvard, 2016), examines the experiences of a range of West Africans who lived in the American South between 1740 and 1860. These exceptional lives challenge long-held assumptions about how the slave trade operated and who was involved. The African Atlantic was a complex world characterized by constant movement, intricate hierarchies, and shifting identities. Not all Africans who crossed the Atlantic were enslaved, nor was the voyage always one-way.
Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade (Harvard University Press, 2014) is an urban Atlantic history of the port of Annamaboe, located in present-day Ghana. It recreates the town's feverish bustle and brutality, tracing the entrepreneurs, black and white, who thrived on a lucrative traffic in human beings.
The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey (Harvard, 2004) explores the slave trade through biography. In 1767, two "princes" of a ruling family in the port of Old Calabar, on the slave coast of Africa, were ambushed and captured by English slavers. The princes were themselves slave traders who were betrayed by African competitors--and so began their own extraordinary odyssey of enslavement. Their story, written in their own hand, survives as a rare firsthand account of the Atlantic slave experience.
My research in Southern history has focused on race and religion, particularly the history of biracial worship in the Old South. My first two books, On Jordan's Stormy Banks: Evangelical Religion in Mississippi, 1773-1876 (University of Georgia Press, 1994) and Religion in Mississippi, (University Press of Mississippi for the Heritage of Mississippi Series, 2001) explored the interplay between race and religion in the South. My co-edited volumes of essays in Atlantic history also reflect my interest in race and religion.
My current research projects focus on the United States' involvement in the illegal slave trade of the 19th Century and freedom suits around the Atlantic World.