A third-year student studying early American history, Sean Gallagher was co-awarded the 2016 Emile G. Scholz Prize for is second-year research paper, "Enslaved Maritime Laborers and Military Overseership in Revolutionary South Carolina." This prize was established in honor of alumnus Bret Hewitt's grandfather, Emile G. Scholz, to honor the graduate student with the best piece of historical written research.
Sean Gallagher's research focuses on the lived experiences of enslaved people during the American Revolution. Specifically, Sean is interested in studying the Revolution in the South as a period in which political and military institutions conscripted thousands of enslaved people for public labor to police them. Sean's dissertation will explore how enslaved people forged new kinds of community and shaped their own racial identities in the process of surviving and contesting Revolutionary labor discipline and surveillance.
His advisor, Professor Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, writes of his work: "Sean's research uncovers the overlapping efforts of revolutionary governments and occupying armies to contain and mobilize the labor of people in the South for war and its aftermath. His careful detective work in British and American military records, business correspondence, and slave sale advertisements also promises to glimpse the tenuous communities of men and women who worked on waterways, roads, and workshops of the late eighteenth century. Rightfully suspicious of claims that liberty and Revolution went hand-in-hand, Sean demonstrates how Patriots bolstered the system of slavery with wages, as well as violence."