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Lindsey K. Walters

Lindsey K. Walters

PhD Candidate in American History


Biography:

I am a PhD student in American History at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Dr Nicholas Guyatt, and jointly funded by the Cambridge Trust, Corpus Christi College, and the Faculty of History. Prior to beginning my PhD, I studied for an MPhil in American History at Cambridge from 2016-2017. I received my BA (magna cum laude with distinction) from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where I double majored in History and African American Studies and minored in Women's and Gender Studies.

Research Interests

My PhD dissertation is a social and intellectual history of slavery and nature from the perspective of enslaved people in the antebellum southern United States. In this project I use nineteenth-century slave narratives, newspapers, plantation records, correspondence, and travel narratives, as well as 1930s interviews with formerly enslaved people, to dramatically revision the landscape of plantation slavery. My PhD argues that enslaved people’s ideas about, and knowledge of, nature were central to how they thought about themselves and their world, how they worked, organised, and sought comforts, and how they marshalled resistance. Nature was a space where enslaved people cultivated profoundly different worldviews than those of enslavers. My research reorients historical conversations about the black body and the agency of enslaved peoples, arguing that histories of slavery must attend to enslaved people’s thoughts and ideas, as well as their experiences. This research is part of a growing body of scholarship on African American intellectual history, and is a step towards a comprehensive history of enslaved peoples’ extensive and varied knowledge about the environment.

During my BA and MPhil, I studied the public history, historical memory, and memorialisation of slavery in America. My first article, which stems from research on universities and slavery conducted during my undergraduate degree, is linked below.

Keywords

  • American History

Key Publications

Lindsey K. Walters (2017) Slavery and the American university: discourses of retrospective justice at Harvard and Brown, Slavery & Abolition, 38:4, 719-744, DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2017.1309875