My name is Devin Leigh, and I am a PhD student and teacher’s assistant in the History Department at the University of California Davis. Since 2015, I have been working towards my doctorate in History, pursuing a major in Atlantic History and a minor in African History.
Before coming to Davis, I obtained a master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where I specialized in American and Atlantic History. Before Loyola, I obtained a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, Chicago, where I focused on African-American History, African History, Forced Migration Studies, and the History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Broadly speaking, I am interested in the history of the Atlantic World in the early-modern period, which I define as lasting from the Portuguese explorations of Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1440s to the Latin American revolutions for independence in the 1820s and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in the 1830s.
More specifically, I research connections between Atlantic Africa, the West Indies, and the British empire in the long-eighteenth century (about 1655 to 1807). I am interested in such themes as slavery, colonization, ethnic identity, race, empire, politics, culture, biography, ethnography, and the production of history. My dissertation, tentatively called “Necessary at this Time: The Politics of African Culture in the Age of Abolition,” is about the many ways that proslavery writers deployed their knowledge of African culture as an intellectual tool in the British debates concerning the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In this work, I take a somewhat long view of the British slave-trade debates, starting with a series of slave insurrections in Jamaica in the early 1760s and going up to the passage of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.
For more about my current scholarship and academic interests, please visit my graduate student profile on the UC Davis History Department website. Also, some of the earlier writings that have appeared on this blog can be found on The Lakefront Historian, the Public History blog of the History Graduate Student Association (HGSA) at Loyola University Chicago. If you are interested in contacting me with any questions, suggestions, critiques, or comments, please feel free to do so via the “Contact” page. Thank you for reading TZR, and I hope that you enjoy the blog.
Checkout the write-up “Next Stop: Doctorate” about myself and some of my fellow graduates on the homepage of the History Department of Loyola University Chicago.
For samples of my writing, please browse posts in either the archives section or the home page of The Zamani Reader. You can also send me a message via the Contact page, and I can forward you some samples for consideration. Thanks.