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Peter Kolchin

  • Henry Clay Reed Professor Emeritus of History

curriculum vitae

Peter Kolchin is the Henry Clay Reed Professor Emeritus of History. With research interests in slavery, emancipation, the nineteenth-century United States, southern history, and comparative history, he is currently working on a comparative study of emancipation and its aftermath in Russia and the U. S. South. Among his most important honors and awards are the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Organization of American Historians’ Avery Craven Award, the Southern Historical Association’s Charles Sydnor Award, UD’s Francis Alison Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He was the 2014 President of the Southern Historical Association.



  • First Freedom: The Responses of Alabama’s Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction (The University of Alabama Press, 1972, rev. ed. 2008)
  • A Sphinx on the American Land: The Nineteenth-Century South in Comparative Perspective (Louisiana State University Press, 2003)
  • American Slavery, 1619-1877 (Hill and Wang, 1993, rev. ed. 2003)
  • Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Comparative Perspectives on Emancipation in the U. S. South: Reconstruction, Radicalism, and Russia,” Journal of the Civil War Era (June, 2012)
  • “The South and the World,”Journal of Southern History(August, 2009)
  • “L’Approche comparée de l’étude de l’esclavage: Problèmes et perspectives,” in Myriam Cottias et al, eds., Esclavage et dépendances serviles: Histoire compare (2006)
  • “Eugene D. Genovese: Historian of Slavery,” Radical History Review (Winter, 2004)
  • “Whiteness Studies: The New History of Race in America,” Journal of American History (June, 2002)

Links to Publications

  • First Freedom
  • A Sphinx on the American Land
  • American Slavery, 1619-1877
  • Unfree Labor

Department of History • 236 John Munroe Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA
Phone: 302-831-2371 • Fax: 302-831-1538

Map background Ratzer, Bernard "Province of New Jersey" (map) courtesy Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark Delaware.