Friday, February 16, 2007
Welcome Dr. Christine Sears!
The History Department welcomes Christine E. Sears as its new expert on the early American republic, comparative slavery, the Atlantic World, and public history. During the first week of April, Christine successfully defended her dissertation at the University of Delaware, and we offer her our hearty congratulations! In addition to teaching at Delaware, Christine has taught high school and community college, and has also worked as a guide at the Winterthur Museum. Christine studies Barbary pirates! Her dissertation examines the roughly seven hundred Americans held in North African bondage between 1776 and the 1830 occupation of Algiers. Christine found that the experiences of American captives varied greatly, depending on how one was captured, by whom one was owned, how long one's captivity lasted, as well as one's class, race, and, sometimes, pure luck. Her work examines these variations, as well as the processes through which Americans were released from their bondage, and with what frequency this occurred. She explores how American captives were used, how they interacted with each other and with other slaves, and how they interacted with local inhabitants. Sears' work will provide a broader, comparative context for American captivity in Barbary, and will thus sharpen understanding of North African enslavement of Westerners during this period. Welcome Christine!!