Robert Colby

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IMG_4983PhD Student

Major Field: Nineteenth-century United States History
Harry L. Watson



BA University of Virginia, 2009
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015
MA Thesis: “The Continuance of an Unholy Traffic: The Virginia Slave Trade During the Civil War.”

Research Interests

My research focuses on the nineteenth-century United States with an emphasis on the domestic slave trade before and during the American Civil War and the living legacies of slave trading capital and former slave traders after the war.  I am interested in the ways in which examining the domestic slave trade and slave traders can complicate our understanding of American capitalism and antebellum economic development, as well as the evolution of the slave system.  I am further intrigued by the slave trade’s continuance and decline during the Civil War and the ways in which this shaped the wartime and postwar experiences of Southerners white and black, and particularly the ways in which these groups negotiated the process of emancipation.

My past research has allowed me to investigate Civil War military campaigns, post-Reconstruction politics, and religious perspectives on the Secession Crisis, and I retain a great deal of interest in all these fields. I have also performed much research in environmental and industrial history as well as in a wide variety of other fields in modern American history.

Curriculum Vitae

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