Lecturer awarded prestigious fellowships to aid research and awareness into the history of American slavery

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Jefferson Monticello
Jefferson's Monticello. Martin Falbisoner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] by Wikimedia

Dr Laura Sandy, Lecturer in the History of Slavery at the University of Liverpool, was recently awarded two fellowships to facilitate projects looking into the slave trade in the United States. Dr Sandy discusses the awards and the impact the funds will have on her work.

BAAS / US Embassy Small Grants Programme

Project Title: Race, Slavery and Memory in American History

This exciting project is funded by the BAAS/US Embassy small grants programme and promises to have very significant outcomes. By linking on-going research projects, both my own and those of Dr Kristen Brill at Keele, with continuing professional development activities for teachers, the project will deliver clear impact, that can add support to the university's environment statement for REF 2020/21.

Furthermore, it raises the University's profile with local schools, as we strive to encourage widening participation. By involving our own students in the project, and incorporating the product they developed in the first year module HIST 106, we will both develop their employability skills and actively involve them in public engagement and, also, offer an innovative pedagogic template for others to follow.

The project promises an important legacy too by creating a dynamic transatlantic network of institutions and individuals: strengthening our ties with the International Slavery Museum, forging a strong regional bond with the David Bruce Centre for American Studies at Keele, and linking with both Monticello  and Mount Vernon in the United States.

Peter Nicolaisen International Fellowship (Awarded by the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies)

Project Title: A Tale of Two Masters: Managing Free and Enslaved Labour at Mount Vernon and Monticello

This research award provides $3,000 per month, travel costs and residential accommodation for scholars working at the International Centre for Jeffersonian Studies (ICJS) and using special collections held at the University of Virginia.

The two month award is to support a proposed research project which draws upon my established track record as a ground-breaking scholar in the field of slavery and labour management on colonial and revolutionary era North American plantations.

This research not only features in my current monograph, which focusses on the lives of colonial plantation overseers and their families, but also represents a significant new direction, not just for myself but in terms of the historiography generally.

In the long-term, this project offers the first explicitly comparative study of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as planters and managers, and will be the first to consider labour management at their plantations holistically, covering both the enslaved and the extensive free white labour, which has received little to no attention in the literature to date.

In short, I aim for this project to have a transformative impact on the existing historiography, producing works that will meet the highest criteria of originality, significance and rigour and become essential reading for all those who study early American history, the lives of these two pivotal figures and those, free and unfree, who laboured for them. 

Visit the Centre for the Study of International Slavery site.