Gloria Whiting

Position title: E. Gordon Fox Assistant Professor of History



I am a historian of early America with interests in the history of race and slavery as well as women, gender, and family.

I am currently writing my first book. Titled Belonging: An Intimate History of Family and Slavery in Early New England, it explores the attempts of people of African descent, both bound and free, to create and maintain families in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. Pulling together thousands of fragments of evidence, the project reveals patterns in bondspeople’s living situations, gendered relationships, and kin communities that historians have never before recognized. At the same time, it advances arguments related to a range of historical issues, from the relationship between family and freedom in early New England to the nature of slave family life on smallholdings in Anglo-America. The book sets forth methodological arguments as well. Contending that historical method has an important bearing on the ability of scholars to understand and portray enslaved people as fully human, with complete life spans and complicated contexts, it makes a case for the importance of reconstructing the lives and trajectories of these individuals in great depth, despite the archival challenges that such an undertaking inevitably entails.

After the completion of my book, I plan to begin work on several interrelated projects: an investigation of women in maroon colonies throughout the Atlantic world (notable for their incredible lack of gender parity); a digital project related to enslaved people, space, and Atlantic seaports; and a book-length effort to better understand the lives of runaway women—slave, servant, and free—in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Anglo-American colonies.


Ph.D., History, Harvard University
M.A., History, Harvard University
B.A., History, English, and Policy Studies, Rice University


  • “Race, Slavery, and the Problem of Numbers in Early New England: A View from Probate Court,” forthcoming in the William and Mary Quarterly (July 2020).
  • “Emancipation without the Courts or Constitution: The Case of Revolutionary Massachusetts,” Slavery & Abolition (November 2019): 1–21.
  • “Power, Patriarchy, and Provision: African Families Negotiate Gender and Slavery in New England,” Journal of American History 103 no. 3 (December 2016): 583–605.
  • Review of Jared Ross Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (New York, 2016), in the Journal of Social History 51 no. 3 (Spring 2018): 627–29.
  • “Sojourners and Strangers in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic.” Review of Cornelia H. Dayton and Sharon V. Salinger, Robert Love’s Warnings: Searching for Strangers in Colonial Boston (Philadelphia, 2014) in Common-place 15 no. 2 (Winter 2015).
  • Review of Katherine Howlett Hayes, Slavery Before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651–1884 (New York, 2013) in the Journal of the Early Republic 34, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 285–87


  • Dorothy and Hsin–Nung Yao Teaching Award, UW–Madison Department of History, 2020
  • Distinguished Honors Faculty Award Recipient, UW–Madison Letters & Science Honors Program, 2019
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellowship, UW–Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities, 2019
  • First Book Award, UW–Madison Center for the Humanities, 2017
  • University Housing Honored Instructor Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, UW–Madison, 2017, 2018, and 2019
  • Outstanding Instructor Award, Tri–Delta Sorority (Mu Chapter) of UW–Madison, 2016
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Charles Warren Center, Harvard University, 2014–2015
  • Grant for Innovative Graduate Research, Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, 2014, 2015
  • New England Regional Consortium Fellowship Grant, 2012–2013
  • Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 2012–2013
  • Michael Kraus Research Grant in Colonial History, American Historical Association, 2012
  • Artemas Ward Fellowship for Dissertation Research, Harvard University, 2011–2014
  • Richard A. Berenson Graduate Fellowship, Harvard University, 2010–2013
  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall Prize, Southern Association for Women Historians, 2009