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Edward Bartlett Rugemer
Board Member Emeritus

Associate Professor of History and African American Studies

A historian of slavery and abolition, Ed Rugemer grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Fairfield University in 1993. He received his doctorate in History from Boston College in 2005 and joined the faculty at Yale in 2007. His first book The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2008) explores how the abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean shaped the coming of the American Civil War. The book won the Avery Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians for the most original book on the Civil War era; the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize from Yale University; and was co-winner of the Francis B. Simkins Award of the Southern Historical Association for the best first book in southern history.

His second book, The Politics of Slave Resistance in Jamaica and South Carolina, 1661-1838, under contract with Harvard University Press, explores the political dynamic between slave resistance and the laws of slavery over the longue durée. Both slave societies developed out of the expansion of Barbados in the seventeenth century; both became African majorities where enslaved people mobilized significant slave rebellions. The planter class in each colony grew quite wealthy and politically dexterous in the use of power; and while South Carolina became part of the United States while Jamaica remained in the British Empire, the planter classes of Jamaica and South Carolina led attack on radical abolitionism when it emerged in the late 18th century. The book closes in 1838, when Britain abolished Caribbean slavery and South Carolina planters led by John C.  Calhoun advocated the boldest proslavery argument ever articulated in Atlantic History. An article based on this project, “The Development of Mastery and Race in the Comprehensive Slave Codes of the Greater Caribbean during the Seventeenth Century” appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly in July 2013. Rugemer has also published articles in the Journal of Southern History, Slavery and Abolition, Reviews in American History, and the Journal of the Civil War Era.

At Yale, Professor Rugemer teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on slavery and abolition in the Atlantic World from about 1500 to 1888. Previous to his career as a historian he served as a Jesuit volunteer, teaching at St. George’s College, a Jesuit high-school for boys in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, from 1994-1996. He continues to work with youth as a Little League baseball coach in New Haven.