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A History Blog by W. E. Skidmore II

Archive for December, 2012

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Friday, December 28th, 2012

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Brief Introduction

Friday, December 28th, 2012

I am a graduate student in the History department at Rice University.  I received my M.A. from the University of Delaware (2012), and have started my first year of coursework at Rice University.

My academic interests focus on comparative nineteenth-century history and antislavery studies.  As an institution of global proportions, slavery directly and indirectly influenced the development of societies from the Americas to Afro-Eurasia.  Starting at the end of the eighteenth-century, however, this dynamic labor system met a new challenge: the arrival of organized abolitionism.  British reformers led this antislavery charge, and by the mid-nineteenth century adopted the first global antislavery mission.  I am fascinated by this transformation and how it led to the creation of transcontinental antislavery networks with other abolitionists from Rio de Janeiro to Calcutta.  Approaching the history of antislavery from a global perspective, I argue, sheds new light onto how specific groups of abolitionists wrestled with questions concerning slavery, freedom, and emancipation.

I am taking History 588 (Reading Seminar in Nineteenth Century U.S.) for several reasons.  First, nineteenth-century U.S. history is an important part of my research interests.  Learning more about American abolitionism and slavery will help prepare me for my future dissertation endeavors.  Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Lewis Tappan, Wendell Phillips, and Sarah Grimké had strong ties to various abolitionists groups outside of the United States, especially with the British and Foreign Antislavery Society.  Second, I will use this class to prepare for my comprehensive exams.  As one of my three exam fields, I wish to learn more about nineteenth-century U.S. history, especially in the subfields of antebellum politics, race relations, and class interactions.  Finally, I want to use this class to engage with the historiography of other fields outside of my research interests, which I would not encounter outside of this class.

I look forward to a productive semester in this reading seminar, and cannot wait to begin reading about nineteenth-century U.S. history.

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