Universities Studying Slavery Consortium

December 12, 2019

The University of Georgia has joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium to facilitate scholarly exchange and academic collaboration. 

The University's participation in the consortium follows the November 2019 awarding of a grant to a 21-member UGA academic team to study the history of slavery at UGA from the institution’s founding in 1785 until the end of the Civil War in 1865.

The research team—which spans multiple schools, colleges and other units across the university—will conduct a multidisciplinary study of enslaved African Americans who labored on the UGA campus. In September, the team submitted a proposal, which was selected for funding by David Lee, vice president for research; Michelle Garfield Cook, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives; and Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost.

“We are excited to have a team of faculty from several units and departments collaborating on this project,” said Cook. “The range of expertise represented by the research team will provide a rich, academic examination of the history of slavery at UGA and contribute significantly to our scholarly understanding of the history of this institution.”

Faculty and student researchers—led by Chana Kai Lee, an associate professor of history and African American studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences—will analyze primary sources and archaeological data related to the history of slavery at the university, including:

  • Existing research conducted by the Russell Special Collections Libraries, the Willson Center’s Digital Humanities Lab and Southeastern Archeological Services, as well as by individuals affiliated with the School of Social Work and the departments of anthropology, English, geography, history, historic preservation and sociology.
  • Family and community histories.
  • Personal papers of faculty who worked at UGA before 1865.

The research team plans to publish its work as a print and electronic collection of essays with the University of Georgia Press and as a roundtable in the journal The Public Historian.

The research initiative, which is supported by private funds from the Office of the President, is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.

University of Georgia Faculty Team Members

  • Lisa Bayer, Director, University of Georgia Press
  • Stephen Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era, Department of History
  • Jennifer Birch, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology; Affiliate, Institute of Native American Studies
  • James F. Brooks, Carl and Sally Gable Distinguished Professor of History, Department of History
  • Peter Brosius, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Anthropology; Founding Director, Center for Integrative Conservation Research
  • Llewellyn J. Cornelius, Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies, School of Social Work; Director, Center for Social Justice, Human, and Civil Rights
  • Lesley Feracho, Associate Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Institute for African American Studies
  • Maureen Flint, Assistant Professor, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy,  
  • Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of Southern History, Department of History
  • Sujata Iyengar, Professor, Department of English
  • Chana Kai Lee, Associate Professor, Department of History and Institute for African American Studies (Project Lead)
  • Barbara McCaskill, Professor, Department of English; Associate Academic Director, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
  • Emily McGinn, Academic Professional Associate, Digital Humanities Lab
  • Jane McPherson, Assistant Professor and Director of Global Engagement, School of Social Work
  • Scott Nesbit, Assistant Professor, College of Environment and Design
  • Akela Reason, Associate Professor, Department of History; Director, Interdisciplinary Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program
  • Laurie Reitsema, Associate Professor,  Department of Anthropology; Director, Bioarchaeology and Biochemistry Laboratory
  • Jennifer L. Rice, Associate Professor, Department of Geography
  • Daniel B. Rood, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History
  • Cassia Roth, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute
  • Julie Velásquez Runk, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology