I am Associate Professor of History at William & Mary (beginning fall 2022). I have a PhD in History from Duke University and I previously taught for eight years at Georgia State University. My research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
My first book, Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition after Revolution was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015 and won the 2016 Mary Alice and Frederick Boucher Book Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society. It was positively reviewed in fifteen academic journals, including the American Historical Review and The William and Mary Quarterly.
Shortly after my archival identification of the only known official copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence in 2010, I gave numerous interviews on air and in print: for example, in print in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail (Canada), and The Times (London) and on radio with BBC World Service, PRI’s The World, and CBC’s As it Happens.
I organized a conference, “The Haitian Declaration of Independence in an Atlantic Context,” sponsored by and hosted at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and featuring the top American, Haitian, and British scholars on the Haitian Revolution, which led to an edited volume, The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy, published by the University of Virginia Press in 2016. I created a website to support the goals of the conference, “Haiti and the Atlantic World” (HaitiDOI.com). I have expanded the scope of the website to include archival material as well as pedagogical resources and blog-style essays. The focus of my work with this archival material is a digital exhibit, entitled the “Dessalines Reader,” and is a comprehensive collection of the writings and publications of Haiti’s first leader, Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
In addition to writing and posting relevant material on my own website, I have written for various digital publications and I have discussed my book, Haitian Connections, in publications including in Common-place and Black Perspectives. I have written articles for The Conversation and I wrote two articles for the Washington Post, “Haiti was the first nation to permanently ban slavery” and “Five Myths About the Haitian Revolution.”
I am currently working on two book projects: the first, tentatively entitled, Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the Haitian Revolution, is a trade biography of the Haitian founding father (under contract with Yale University Press). The second, tentatively entitled, The Abandoned Faithful: Race and International Law in the Aftermath of the Haitian Revolution (under contract with OIEAHC/UNC Press), shows how Haiti’s state-sanctioned claim to Roman Catholicism after 1804 had local and global implications that helped reshape the dominant understanding of international law.