Dr Lindsey Wimpenny

PhD Candidate in American History

I have recently completed a PhD 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. My PhD dissertation is titled "Enslaved People's Environmental Thought in the Antebellum American South" and is a social and intellectual history of enslaved people's ideas about and experiences with nature. My PhD argues that enslaved people’s knowledge of nature was 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. This research is part of a growing body of scholarship on black intellectual history, and is a step towards a comprehensive history of enslaved peoples’ extensive and varied knowledge about the environment.

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. 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.

“The Environmental Thought of Runaways from Slavery,” American History Workshop, Cambridge, 21 January 2020

“Enslaved Migrants and Environmental Thought,” Flows: Environmental History Workshop, Northumbria University, Newcastle, 13 September 2019

“The Environmental Thought of Runaways from Slavery,” Oxford Early American Republic Seminar, Rothermere American Institute, Oxford, 15 May 2019

“Enslaved Environmental Thought and the Domestic Slave Trade,” American History Workshop, Cambridge, 6 November 2018

“Slavery, Nature, and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South,” British American Nineteenth Century Historians Conference, Madingley Hall, Cambridge, 6 October 2018

I supervise students taking Paper 22: North American History from ca. 1500 to 1865.


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Key publications

Lindsey K. Walters, "Slavery and the American University: Discourses of Retrospective Justice at Harvard and Brown," Slavery & Abolition 38, no. 4 (2017): 719-744, DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2017.1309875.