Sophie White

Sophie White

Professor, Department of American Studies

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Sophie White is a Professor of American Studies, Concurrent Professor in the Departments of Africana Studies, History, and Gender Studies, and Fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame.

She is an historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives.

Her newest book, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press, 2019) foregrounds an exceptional set of source material about slavery in French America: court cases in which enslaved individuals testified and in the process produced riveting autobiographical narratives. Voices of the Enslaved has won 7 book awards, including the AHA’s James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History and the Frederick Douglass Prize for most outstanding book on slavery.

Her first book, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana was published with the University of Pennsylvania Press/McNeil Series in Early American Studies in 2012 and was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize.

With Trevor Burnard, she has co-edited a volume on slave testimony in French and British America 1750-1848 (Routledge, 2020).

She is also completing a digital humanities project, Hearing Slaves Speak in Colonial America, which will launch with the Omohundro Institute in Spring 2022.

She has two new book projects. One, His Master’s Grace, is a study of slavery and extra-judicial violence. The other, nascent, book project examines redhead myths, juxtaposing cultural history with the new genetic discoveries and biological implications of red hair, a project that falls within her purview as a scholar of appearance and of cultural constructions of otherness. She is signed to the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency for this book.

In addition, White is the author of numerous articles and essays, in journals such as The William and Mary QuarterlyGender and History and The Winterthur Portfolio.

Among other grants and awards, White was a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Wild Frenchmen and Voices of the Enslaved.

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