I work on slavery, race, and the law in the early modern and colonial Atlantic World. My dissertation, “The Currency of Race: Slave Courts and Compensation in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic,” examines slave courts, or courts that exclusively tried the crimes of enslaved peoples, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. From their theoretical origins in Early Modern England and establishment in the British Caribbean, to their further development in the North American colonies, I trace how Colonial Assemblies used slave courts to police alleged enslaved criminality, strengthen gendered notions of slaveholder prestige, and racialize jurisprudence. Utilizing a wealth of newly discovered slave court records from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Jamaica, my dissertation asks how the compensation paid to enslavers for their executed slaves connected Atlantic slave markets and catalyzed the development of legal knowledge among enslaved peoples. My analysis of these payments shows how the rise of British legalism shaped, and intertwined with, the Atlantic slave market, producing colonial states that paid elite slaveowners for their misbehaving property. Slave courts helped define property rights for elite white slaveowners, provided an antithesis for the development of white criminal rights, and made race function as a legal category in colonists’ daily lives over the course of the eighteenth century.
Prior to coming to Princeton, I received my Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2014 where I double-majored in Anthropology and History. After graduation, I worked at the New-York Historical Society for three years in both their Education and Curatorial departments. During my time at Princeton, I have worked on the Princeton and Slavery project, coordinated the Colonial Americas Workshop for two years, and participated in the Black Graduate Student Caucus as well as the Graduate Women of Color Caucus. When I am not submerged in the history of colonial North America, I consider myself a proud plant mother and novel reader.
I would be happy to discuss Princeton’s department, the campus, or any other aspect of my experiences with prospective students.