Ada Ferrer to Join Faculty in the Fall

March 27, 2024

Ada Ferrer, a historian of Latin America and the Caribbean, will join the History Department in the fall as Dayton-Stockton Professor of History. From 1995 to 2024, she taught at New York University, where she was jointly appointed in the History Department and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her thematic interests lie in the histories of slavery, antislavery, and emancipation, as well as in the comparative and transnational study of revolutions.

Her first book, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 (UNC Press, 1999), was a history of the Cuban independence movement against Spain and the central role of slavery and race in its unfolding. The book won the 2000 Berkshire Book Prize for the best first book by a woman in any field of history. Her second book, Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge, 2014), explored the pivotal role of the Haitian Revolution in Cuba and the ways in which that singular event helped propel the intensification of slavery in Cuba even as it provided enslaved people there a potent example and impetus for revolt. It won the Frederick Douglass Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University, as well as multiple prizes from the American Historical Association. Her most recent book, Cuba: An American History (Scribner, 2021), is a sweeping history of more than five hundred years of Cuban history with a particular focus on the island’s complex relationship with the United States. Based on more than thirty years of research, the book won a Pulitzer Prize in History in 2022, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History.

She is currently at work on two book projects, both to be published by Scribner. The first combines history and family memoir to explore the experiences and meanings of revolution and migration at an intimate scale. The second focuses on the figure of José Antonio Aponte, an antislavery artist and conspirator in early nineteenth-century Havana. In 2017-2019, Ferrer worked with Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié to curate the contemporary art exhibit Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom, focused on Aponte’s most important artistic creation, his missing book of paintings.

Ferrer has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Dorothy and Lewis Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Commission, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Social Science Research Council, among others.