Edward E. Baptist

Edward E. Baptist

Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: U.S. History

Competition: US & Canada

Edward E. Baptist is Professor of History at Cornell University, where he has taught since 2003. Prior to that, he taught at the University of Miami. He received his PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania, and his undergraduate degree is from Georgetown University.

He is the author of various articles and essays , and of the prize-winning books The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2014) and Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War (2002). He is the co-editor (with the late Stephanie M.H. Camp) of New Studies in the History of American Slavery (2006) and (with Louis Hyman) of American Capitalism: A Reader (2014).

Baptist’s current project examines the long arc of a fundamental feature of social, political, and cultural life in the United States: the nation’s compulsion to police, surveil, and regulate the movement of African and African-American people in ways that are fundamentally different from the policing of whites. At the same time, resistance to these discriminatory forms of control has shaped not only African-American politics, but also African-American and national culture. In recent times, the most public aspects of this policing (and resistance) are the rise of mass incarceration and the emergence of #BlackLivesMatter and related movements. Yet the roots of the present crisis are deep. Part of this project draws on a large database of runaway slave ads which Baptist and his colleagues Professor Mary Niall Mitchell (University of New Orleans) and Professor Joshua Rothman (University of Alabama) are currently constructing.

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