Professor Emily West
Areas of interest
I am broadly interested in issues of race and gender in American history and my research focusses on US slavery in the US South, especially the lives of enslaved women, the relationships between enslaved spouses, family life under enslavement, and affective ties between enslaved people and free people of colour. I am also interested in the history of infant and child feeding, including wet nursing.
- Katryna Peart (2020-) ‘Rootworkers and Conjure Doctors: An Exploration of African American folk religion in the US Antebellum South to 1940’.
- Bill Smith (2020-) ‘The Weaponization of Dogs by US enslavers’.
- Erin Shearer (AHRC SWW DTP funded studentship, 2019-), ‘Women of Violence: Challenging Perceptions of Enslaved Women’s Resistance in the Antebellum United States, 1815-1861’.
- Aisha Djelid ‘“Slave Breeding” in the Antebellum United States’.
Previous PhD supervision:
- Liz Barnes (AHRC SWW DTP funded studentship, 2016-2019), ‘Race and Sexual Assaults in the US South in Slavery and Reconstruction’. Selected to present the University Wide Annual PGR Fairbrother Public Lecture, ‘Women’s Voices, from Slavery to #MeToo’, May 2019.
- R.J. Knight (funded GTA studentship, 2014-2017), ‘Mother, Home, and Mammy: Motherhood, Race and Power in the Antebellum South’. Now a permanent lecturer at the University of Sheffield.
- Daniel Hale (p/t, 2011-2016), ‘Executive Clemency in Texas, 1849-1865’.
- Mike Luff (p/t, 2009-2014), ‘The Haitian Revolution and South Carolinian Statutes on Slavery and Free People of Colour, 1791-1823’.
Foundation Year: Contribution to ‘Ethics and Empathy’
Part One: Contribution to core modules; Part 1 Option: ‘Women in American History: From Slavery to Second Wave’
Part Two: Contribution to HS2HAD on enslaved people’s autobiographies, Part 2 Option: ‘'Race', Ethnicity and Citizenship in America’
Part 3: Special Subject: ‘Slavery in America’, Dissertation Supervision
I have additionally supervised four Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) studentships (R. J. Knight, Erin Shearer, Sian David, Jude Reeves)
Postgraduate MA (postgraduate taught)
Contribution to the MA in History: core modules: ‘Archival Silences’ and ‘Plantation Archaeology’; MA Option: ‘Slavery and Gender in the US’
Research centres and groups
- Chair, British American Nineteenth Century Historians: https://branchuk.wordpress.com/
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
- Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy
- Gender History Cluster, University of Reading
Awards and honours
2021: Leverhulme Visiting Professorship Scheme (with Professor Maria Helena Machado, University of São Paulo).
2021: BA postdoctoral fellowship (with Dr Beth Wilson)
2020: Archie K. David Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society
2020: Mellon Fellowship: Virginia Historical Society
2020: Fellowship: Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, Virginia
2020: Summersell Centre for the Study of the South (University of Alabama)
2019: Kentucky Historical Society Research Fellowship
2019: Filson Historical Society (Kentucky) Research Fellowship
2019: BAAS Founders Award Research Travel Grant (for research in US)
2019: BAAS Conference Support to host annual SHAW (Society for the History of Women in the Americas) annual conference
2014: AHRC International Network Grant: Mothering Slaves: Comparative Perspectives on Motherhood, Childlessness, and the Care of Children in Atlantic Slave Societies. PI: Diana Paton (Edinburgh). Co-I Emily West (Reading). Steering group of Maria Helena P.T. Machado (São Paulo) and Camillia Cowling (Warwick). The network involved three conferences (Newcastle and São Paulo in 2015 and Reading, April 2016). The network’s outputs included two journal special editions, for which I am co-editor: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/motheringslaves/
2013: Eccles Centre for American Studies Fellowship (based at the British Library)
2007: Leverhulme Trust Award to employ postdoctoral research assistant (Dr Laura Sandy)
2002: AHRB (research leave scheme)
2020: Contributor and member of editorial board: University of Oxford’s ‘America and Race: A Bibliography for UK History Undergraduates’. https://www.rai.ox.ac.uk/america-and-race-bibliography
2020: Invited member of Editorial Board, Gilder Lehrman Institute
2020: Invited member of Editorial Board, Journal of American Studies
2019-: Invited member: Southern Historical Association Membership Committee
2017-18: Committee member, IHR Doctoral Fellowships Scheme
2015-: Invited member of Editorial Board, Civil War History
2014-: Invited member of Editorial Board, Slavery & Abolition
2014: Prizewinner: Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) award for the best research-inspired teaching
- West, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-3444-3814 and David, S. (2021) Hidden voices: the lives of enslaved women in the Lowcountry and the South. Lowcountry Digital History Initiative , Charleston, South Carolina.
- West, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-3444-3814 (2021) ‘We chilluns, long wid her, wuz lak de udder slaves’: free black families and quasi-slavery in the pre-Civil War US South.. Journal of American Studies ISSN: 1469-5154 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021875820001735
- West, E. (2020) Nominal slavery, free people of colour, and enslavement requests: slavery and freedom at the ‘edges’ of the regime in the antebellum South. In: Aje, L. and Armstrong, C. , (eds.) The Many Faces of Slavery: New Perspectives on Slave Ownership and Experiences in the Americas. Bloomsbury , London. pp. 199-210. ISBN: 9781350071421 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781350071452.ch-013
- Clinton, C. and West, E. (2020) Gender and sexuality in the Old South. In: Thompson Friend, C. and Glover, L. , (eds.) Reinterpreting Southern Histories: Essays in Historiography. Louisiana State University Press , Baton Rouge. ISBN: 9780807172568
- Cowling, C. , Machado, M. , Paton, D. , West, E. , eds. (2019) Motherhood, Childlessness and the Care of Children in Atlantic Slave Societies. Routledge pp 376. ISBN: 9780367202026
- West, E. (2019) The union of enslaved couples during the disunion of the nation: love, discord and separations in US slavery and thereafter. In: Grey, D. and Gregory, J. , (eds.) Union and Disunion in the Nineteenth Century. Routledge , London. ISBN: 9781138354302
- Cowling, C. , Machado, M. , Paton, D. , West, E. , eds. (2018) Mothering slaves: motherhood, childlessness and the care of children in Atlantic slave societies. Women's History Review (special issue) , 27. Women's History Review , 27 (6). ISSN: 1747-583X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2017.1336832
- West, E. and Shearer, E. (2018) Fertility control, shared nurturing, and dual exploitation: the lives of enslaved mothers in the antebellum United States. Women's History Review , 27 (6). pp. 1006-1020. ISSN: 1747-583X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2017.1336849
- West, E. (2018) Reflections on the 'History and Historians' of the black woman's role in the community of slaves: enslaved women and intimate partner sexual violence. American Nineteenth Century History , 19 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN: 1466-4658 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14664658.2018.1429333
- West, E. (2017) African Americans; Chinese Exclusion Acts; Frederick Douglass; Emancipation Proclamation; Freedmen's Bureau; fugitive slave laws; slave revolts; Nat Turner; Underground Railroad. In: Stevenson, J. and Cook, C. , (eds.) The Cambridge Dictionary of Modern World History. Cambridge University Press , Cambridge. ISBN: 9780521847711 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9780511842740
- Cowling, C. , Machado, M. , Paton, D. , West, E. , eds. (2017) Mothering slaves: comparative perspectives on motherhood, childlessness, and the care of children in Atlantic slave societies. Slavery & Abolition (special issue) , 38. Slavery and Abolition , 38 (2). pp. 223-231. ISSN: 1743-9523 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2017.1316959
- West, E. and Knight, R. (2017) Mothers’ milk: slavery, wet-nursing, and black and white women in the Antebellum South. Journal of Southern History , 83 (1). pp. 37-68. ISSN: 0022-4642 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1353/soh.2017.0001
- West, E. (2014) Enslaved women in America: from colonial times to emancipation. African American History Series Rowman and Littlefield , Lanham, Maryland, USA. pp 160. ISBN: 9781442208711
- West, E. (2013) Free People of Color: expulsion and enslavement in the Antebellum South. In: Link, W. , Brown, D. , Ward, B. , Bone, M. , (eds.) Creating citizenship in the nineteenth-century South. University Press of Florida , Gainesville, FL. pp. 64-83. ISBN: 9780813044132
- West, E. (2013) 'Between slavery and freedom': the expulsion and enslavement of free women of colour in the US South before the Civil War. Women's History Review , 22 (3). pp. 460-477. ISSN: 1747-583X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2012.726126
- West, E. (2012) Family or freedom: free people of color in the antebellum South. New Directions in Southern History University of Kentucky Press , Lexington, Kentucky, USA. pp 256. ISBN: 9780813136929
- West, E. (2010) "He come sometime widout de pass". Rethinking Cross-Plantation Marriages and Enslaved Families in Antebellum South Carolina.. In: Thompson Friend, C. and Jabour, A. , (eds.) Family Values in the Old South. University of Florida Press , Gainesville. pp 42. ISBN: 9780813034188
- West, E. (2009) Gender in eighteenth and nineteenth century America. The Historical Journal , 52 (1). pp. 253-264. ISSN: 0018-246X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X08007395
- West, E. (2009) Dolly, Maria, Lavinia and Susan: enslaved women in Antebellum South Carolina. In: Spruill, M. , Johnson, J. , Littlefield, V. , (eds.) South Carolina women: their life and times. University of Georgia Press , Athens and London. pp. 127-142. ISBN: 9780820329352
- West, E. (2007) 'She is dissatisfied with her present condition’: requests for voluntary enslavement in the antebellum American south . Slavery and Abolition , 28 (3). pp. 329-350. ISSN: 1743-9523 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01440390701685530
- West, E. (2004) Tensions, tempers, and temptations: marital discord among slaves in antebellum South Carolina. American Nineteenth Century History , 5 (2). pp. 1-18. ISSN: 1466-4658 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1466465042000257837
- West, E. (2004) Chains of love: slave couples in antebellum South Carolina. University of Illinois Press , Urbana. pp 184. ISBN: 9780252029035
- West, E. (2000) Masters and marriages, profits and paternalism: slave owners' perspectives on Cross-Plantation Unions in Antebellum South Carolina. Slavery and Abolition , 21 (1). pp. 56-72. ISSN: 1743-9523
- West, E. (1999) Surviving Separation: Cross-Plantation Marriages and the Slave Trade in Antebellum South Carolina. Journal of Family History , 24 (2). pp. 212-231.
- West, E. (1999) The Debate on the Strength of Slave Families: South Carolina and the Importance of Cross-Plantation Marriages. Journal of American Studies , 33 (2). pp. 221-241. ISSN: 1469-5154