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Dr David Doddington

Dr David Doddington

Senior Lecturer in North American History

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

+44 (0)20 2087 4251
5.38, John Percival Building


Research interests

David Doddington is Senior Lecturer in North American History at Cardiff University, and received his PhD from the University of Warwick in February 2013. Prior to his arrival at Cardiff in 2014, he held teaching and research positions at the University of Warwick, the University of Leicester, and the University of York. David has been awarded research awards from the British Association of American Studies, the Eccles Centre at the British Library, British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH). His research interests centre on slavery, race, and gender in the antebellum South, with a particular interest in examining resistance and solidarity within slave communities. He has publications in journals such as Gender & History, and in edited collections, including Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie Harris (Eds.) Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas (Athens: Univeristy of Georgia Press, 2018). His book, Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

He is working on an edited collection entitled Writing the History of Slavery, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2020, and was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to begin work on his new project, entitled Old Age and American Slavery.

David has broader interests in the history of U.S. expansion during the nineteenth century, noting the conflict and violence that marked such expansion, as well as wider issues associated with migration, movement, and colonisation. He welcomes enquiries over teaching and supervision on slavery, gender, and race in American history.

Impact and engagement

External activity:

05/2018 - 'Decentering History' - Invited lecture at Tredegar House, National Trust

04/2018 - 'Reconstruction, Redemption, and Retreat' - Invited lecture at Howell's School, Llandaff, Cardiff

01/2018 - 'Was slavery the main cause of the US Civil War?' - Invited lecture at Malvern St James, Girls' School

03/2017 - PhD Masterclass on Slavery in the Americas, Leiden University. Organized by the N.W. Posthumus Institute, Research School for Economic and Social History in the Netherlands and Flanders.

10/2015 - 'Secession and the U.S. Civil War', Lecture delivered to KS5 Students of Fitzalan High School, Cardiff

'A "Promissory Note": The U.S. Constitution and the legacy of slavery',Race in the Americas: Legacy of Martin Luther King: 'I have a dream' 50 Years On,

'Slavery and dogs in the antebellum South', Sniffing the Past,February 23, 2013, See more in Henry Gates Jr., Did Dogs Really Eat Slaves, Like in 'Django'?


Education and qualifications

2005-2008 – BA (Hons), First Class, History, the University of Warwick

2008-2009 – MA in the History of Race in the Americas, the University of Warwick

2009-2013 – PhD in History, the University of Warwick

Career overview

2009 – 2013 – Seminar Tutor, the University of Warwick

2012-2013 – Lecturer in U.S. History (fixed term), the University of Leicester

2012-2013 – Early Career Fellow, the Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Warwick

2013-2014 – Lecturer in U.S. History (fixed term), the University of York

Honours and awards

2018/19 – Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Middleberg University - £550.

2018/19 – Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Old Age and American Slavery – £50,148.

2018/19 – BAAS Founders’ Award, “The Inexorable Hand of Time”: Age and Power in American Slavery – £1000.

12/2013 – Centre for the Americas at York, Award for a conference entitled, Representing and Remembering Slavery in the Americas

05/2013 – Travel Award, Humanities Research Centre and the Institute of Advanced Study, the University of Warwick

02/2013 – Warwick Transatlantic Fellowship, Humanities Research Centre

08/2011 – Conference Bursary, Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, York University Toronto

06/2011 - The Eccles Centre Postgraduate Award in North American Studies at the British Library: awarded for the best proposal in research at the British Library, Eccles Centre.

02/2011 – The University of Warwick American Study and Student Exchange Committee Travel Award.

09/2010 - Peter J. Parish Memorial Award – British American Nineteenth Century Historians.

2009/2012 - The Richard and Anne Crossman Award for doctoral research, the University of Warwick.

Professional memberships

  • British Association for American Studies (BAAS).
  • The Association of British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH).
  • The Southern Historical Association (SHA).
  • Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW).
  • Reviewer, Oxford University Press
  • Book reviews for journals, including Nineteenth Century American History
  • Contributor to AQA A Level History Textbook, The Making of a Superpower: USA, 1865-1975

Speaking engagements

03/07/2019 – ‘The summer of my life was passing away’: Age, Masculinity, and Resistance in the US Slave South’, Invited speaker, Historicising Masculinities Conference, Newcastle University.

10/04/19 – ‘Violence and Honour in Slave Communities of the US South’, Invited speaker, Slavery and Honour in the Ancient Greek World, University of Edinburgh.

01/2019 – ‘Old Age and American Slavery’, Invited speaker, Life-Cycles, Institute for Historical Research.

11/2018 – ‘Age, Identity, Selfhood and Slavery’, Invited speaker, Gender, Body, & Selfhood, University of Essex.

06/2017 – ‘Resistance, Survival, and Subjectivity in Studies of U.S. Slavery’, International Society for Cultural History Conference, Umeå University.

03/2017 - Age, Identity, and Solidary in American Slave Communities', Invited speaker, Beyond the Slave Community and Resistance Paradigms: Alternative Approaches to the Social Lives of Bondpeople in the Atlantic World.

02/2016 – “Old Fellows”: Age and Manhood among Slaves in the Antebellum South’, Invited speaker, American Studies Seminar Series, Canterbury Christ Church University.

02/2015 - Contesting Manhood in Slave Communities of the Antebellum South', Invited speaker, Modern History Seminar Series, the University of York

04/2014 – 'Aged Manhood among the Enslaved', BrANCH Special Conference, Rice University, Houston.

04/2014 – 'Men at Home: Domestic Economies and Masculine Hierarchies in antebellum Slave Communities of the U.S. South, Men at Home: Authority, Domesticity, Sexuality, and Household Production, the University of Urbino, Italy.

04/2013 – "I never seen such a worker as my father": Work and Masculine Responsibility among the Enslaved', British Association for American Studies Annual Conference 2013, The University of Exeter.

10/2012 - 'Marronage and the Slave Community', BrANCH Annual Conference, The University of Northumbria.

06/2012 - "My Daddy was much of a man, yessir!" Sex and Masculinity among the Enslaved', Comparative Approaches to Slavery in Worlds Old and New, The University of Warwick.

10/2011 - "Them as won't fight, is called poke-easy": Violence and resistance among male slaves in the antebellum South', BrANCH Annual Conference, The University of Cambridge.

09/2011 - 'Conspiracy and the "Slave Community", Conspiracies Real and Imagined: York Cultural History Conference, The University of York.

08/2011 'Masculinity and Slavery', Slavery, Memory and Citizenship Workshop, the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, York University, Toronto.

04/2011 'Honour and Violence in the Slave Community', British Association for American Studies Annual Conference 2011, The University of Central Lancashire.

02/2011 - 'Hierarchies and Honour among Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South', Intersecting Identities in African American History and Culture, New Perspectives on African American History and Culture Conference, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

07/2010 'Slave Work and Masculinities in the Antebellum South: Homosocial Hierarchies', Masculine Identifications: An Interdisciplinary Conference, The University of Huddersfield.

05/2010 – "As many treacherous colored as white": Runaways and the Slave Community', Historical Perspectives: Conflict and Conformity, The University of Dundee.




  • Doddington, D. 2019. Slavery and the family. In: Burnard, T. ed. Oxford Bibliographies in Atlantic History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. -.









  • HS1760 – "An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space, and Power in the United States, 1775-1898
  • HS1890 – Slavery and Slave Life in North America, 1619-1865
  • HS1801 – Dissertation Convenor
  • HS1701 – Approaches to History
  • HS1107 – History in Practice
  • HS1105 – Making of the Modern World
  • Research projects

    Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South (New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

    This monograph demonstrates that masculine identity was a site of contest and comparison within slave communities of the antebellum South. In exploring how enslaved people negotiated identities in relation to one another, and not simply with white society in mind, I help to demonstrate the fluidity of gender as a social and cultural construct and the limitations to any monolithic model of black solidarity.

    Writing the History of Slavery (Under contract with Bloomsbury Academic Press)

    Writing the History of Slavery explores major historiographical, theoretical, and methodological approaches that have shaped studies on slavery, highlighting the varied ways historians have approached the fluid and complex systems of human bondage, domination, and exploitation that have developed in societies across the world.

    "Old Fellows":  Age, Identity, and the Antebellum Slave Community (Supported with Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, £50,148)

    In this project I will explore how enslaved men experienced "old age" in bondage, examining how ideas on physical and/or mental decline impacted upon their sense of self, their relationships with others in their communities, and their responses to slavery. The past few decades have seen a significant amount of work on enslaved manhood, demonstrating that enslaved men fought against the emasculating effects of slavery with public performances of power, authority, self-reliance, and assistances to others. Yet such depictions often represent manhood and men's responses to slavery as static; as enslaved men grew older, though, the performances expected of them and the possibilities afforded them shifted - both from within the slave community but also from outside - and this affected how enslaved men perceived of themselves and others. This project will, therefore, explore how enslaved men dealt with the process and pressures of ageing while enslaved.

    This project will make an important impact in terms of: (i) furthering our understanding of the diverse identities forged in enslavement, the dynamic relations that marked slave communities and the tense negotiations between individuals ostensibly united by oppression; (ii) challenging monolithic depictions of black masculinity and allowing for a more nuanced treatment of gender as a social and cultural construct; (iii) showing how experiences of slavery, including abstract notions like "resistance", "accommodation", and "agency" were interpreted, negotiated, and shaped by reference to age and identity.

    Areas of expertise