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Dr David Doddington

David Doddington is Lecturer in North American History at Cardiff University, and received his PhD from the University of Warwick in February 2013 under the supervision of Professor Tim Lockley. 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), and the Leverhulme Trust.

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, Journal of Global Slavery, 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 (New York; Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018), is out in June.

Having recently completed this project, he is working on an edited collection entitled Writing the History of Slavery, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2019, and was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to begin work on his new project, entitled Old Age and American Slavery.

Academic Profile


University of Warwick (10/2012- 06/2013).
Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study.

PhD Studies

University of Warwick (2009- 2012).
Thesis Title - Hierarchies and Honour among Enslaved Men in the antebellum South. Supervised by Dr Tim Lockley; examined by Professor Gad Heuman and Dr. Rebecca Fraser.


University of Warwick (2008 - 2009).
MA - The History of Race in the Americas.


University of Warwick (2005 - 2008).

BA - History - 1st Class.

Dissertation - How far were male slaves in the antebellum South able to foster a sense of masculinity within slavery?

Competitive Research Awards (select)

05/2013 – Summer Research Fund, Humanities Research Centre and the Institute of Advanced Study

02/2013 – Warwick Transatlantic Fellowship, Humanities Research Centre

08/2011 - Conference Bursary Award, the 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 - 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, 3 year stipend, University of Warwick

Conferences, Publications, and Memberships


‘Discipline and Masculinities in Slave Communities of the antebellum South’, in Paul E. Lovejoy and Vanessa Oliveira (Eds), Slavery, Memory and Citizenship (Trenton; NJ: Africa World Press, 2016), 53-81.

‘Domestic Economies and Masculine Hierarchies in Slave Communities of the U.S. South’, Gender & History, 27.5 (2015), 773-787.

‘Maroon and Slave Communities in South Carolina before 1865’, South Carolina Historical Magazine, 113: 2 (April 2012), 125-146. (Co-authored with Tim Lockley, 50%)

In press:

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

‘Manhood, Sex, and Power in Antebellum Slave Communities’, in Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie M. Harris (Eds), Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas (Athens: University of Georgia Press, Fall 2018).

‘“Old Fellows”: Age, Identity, and Solidarity in Slave Communities of the Antebellum South’, Journal of Global Slavery (Fall, 2018).

Under contract:

Writing the History of Slavery (London: Bloomsbury, 2019) eds with Enrico Dal Lago


Hierarchies among male slaves in the antebellum South


Theorising Masculinity

'You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.'

Chapter 1:

‘I never seen such a worker as my father’: Work and Masculine Responsibility

Chapter 2:

'My daddy was much of a man, yessir': Sex and Masculinity among the Enslaved

Chapter 3:

‘A SLAVE CAN'T BE A MAN!’: Resistant Manhood

‘The best amongst them was picked for that job’: Resisting the resistors

Chapter 4:

'The best man whipped and the other took it': Male violence in slave communities


Navigating a path to manhood: conflict and comparison on the road

 Early Map of U.S.A


Map of Texas

Source - The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Source Base

I remain committed to exploring the lives of slaves as much as possible through their own words and performances. This is not to say that white testimony is excluded; indeed, it is important not to base work on the Slave South solely on enslaved testimony. Although mediated through an outsider’s lens, plantation diaries, court records, pro-slavery and travel writings all offer significant insights into the world of the enslaved, and should not be ignored. The historian Nell Painter describes the need to transcend such a binary approach: ‘most historians followed (and all too often still follow) segregations decree and wrote about the South as though people of different races occupied entirely different spheres.’[1] That this was not the case is abundantly clear and setting a stark binary will lead to a warped understanding of the topic, regardless of who is being studied. In this respect, John Blassingame’s statement from 1975, whilst undoubtedly one of the most commonly repeated quotes in histories of slavery, remains relevant:

If scholars want to know the heart and secret thoughts of slaves they must study the testimony of the blacks... But since the slave did not know the heart and secret thoughts of masters, they must also examine the testimony of whites. Neither the whites nor the blacks had a monopoly on truth, had rended the veil cloaking the life of the other, or had seen clearly the pain and the joy bounded by color and caste.[2]

Communities and people do not exist in separate universes based on colour; it is only through exploring the interactions and engagements between white and black people that we can come to wider conclusions on the nature of male identities in the antebellum South. Any study on enslaved conceptions of gender must be placed within wider understandings and engagement with manhood and identity amongst antebellum southerners of different creeds and classes. Interactions between various groups of people played a significant role in constructing, solidifying or denying certain identities, and therefore exploring how groups of people, as well as individuals, were semantically, legislatively or practically categorised as “male” will enable a more detailed discussion on specific understandings of gender.

[1] Nell Irvin Painter, Southern History Across the Color Line (UNC; Chapel Hill, 2003), p. 2

[2] Blassingame, ‘Using Slave Testimony: approaches and problems’, Journal of Southern History, Vol 41 1975, pp.473-492, p. 492

Teaching and Organisational Responsibilities



  • Seminar tutor for Making HistoryLink opens in a new window (HI175). HI175 is a first year core module which explores the practice of history through the research process, from primary sources to the presentation, dissemination, manipulation and consumption of historical interpretation. This module includes input from and interaction with the University's Modern Records Centre and the Student Careers and Skills department.
  • Seminar tutor for Early American Social HistoryLink opens in a new window (AM204). AM204 examines English colonies in North America from their establishment in the early seventeenth century to their break away from Britain in the 1770s. It will examine why the English felt the need for colonial expansion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, why they chose North America and how they went about creating new societies three thousand miles from home. While much of the module will be arranged chronologically, time will be set aside for the consideration of several social, ethnic, and cultural themes that do not fit quite so neatly into this format.


  • Seminar Tutor for North America: Themes and Problems, (AM102)Link opens in a new window.AM102 is is a first year core module for undergraduate students in the School for Comparative American Studies. It is also opened as an option module for first and second year students in the undergraduate programmes within the History Department. Alongside guiding the seminars I am responsible for providing feedback and advice on both writing and research, including marked essays throughout the year and individual feedback.
  • Theory, Skills and Methods: Quantitative Research Lectures. A Comparative Analysis of White and Slave Mortality in Savannah, 1854-1860
  • Theory, Skills and Methods - Q & A at 'Speaking History: Presenting a Seminar Paper.'
  • Race, Gender and Sexuality in North America. Lecture and workshop series. On Thursday 25th November I delivered a series of lectures and interactive workshops at The Westwood School: Technology College. The lecture was based broadly around the manner in which constructions of a deviant African American sexuality became a tool of oppression and a legitimating factor in forms of extra-legal mob violence during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The workshops provided a more broad thematic discussion on sexuality in mass media and the manner in which "sexual health" should incorporate an understanding of the social and cultural construction of sex and sexuality.

Organisational Responsibilities

  • Director of the Warwick History Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick, May 2010
  • Postgraduate E-Portfolio Advisor - As part of my position as Postgraduate E-Portfolio advisor I ran development workshops for postgraduate students
  • History Open Day Convenor
  • History Postgraduate Open Day Advisor


Dr David Doddington


For more information please feel free to contact me:
Email: doddingtond at cardiff dot ac dot uk
Post: 5.38 John Percival Building, Colum Drive
Cardiff University

CF10 3EU


University of Warwick