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Nancy O. Gallman


  • M.A., History, University of California, Davis
  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., Psychology, cum laude, Yale College


Nancy O. Gallman is a Ph.D. candidate in Early American History. Her dissertation, "Blood & Property: Spanish Law and Native Justice in the Florida–Georgia Borderlands, 1784–1821," is a comparative legal history of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Spanish Florida borderlands. It examines the interactions between Spanish colonial law and the legal processes of the Lower Creeks and Seminoles to show how a broadly defined, pluralistic system of law shaped the development of East Florida, where neither the Spanish nor Native peoples could dominate but where both had to adapt to the other. She argues that, on the basis of mutual tolerance and restraint, this mixed legal culture reinforced Native sovereignty, promoted multiple conceptions of justice, race, gender, labor, and property, and, as a result, made East Florida a greater target of U.S. aggression in the early years of the new republic. This study of legal pluralism on the Florida–Georgia border refines our understanding of the role of Native law in the constitution of power during the revolutionary era.

The working title of her manuscript is “American Constitutions: Life, Liberty, and Property in Spanish East Florida.”

Research Focus

Major Field: U.S. History
Minor Field: Latin American History

Research and teaching interests include: Spanish American borderlands; early American legal pluralism; early Native history and African American history in the Southeast and Gulf South; the comparative histories of empire; North American and Atlantic slaveries; colonial Latin America

Selected Publications

"Covering Blood and Graves: Murder and Law on Imperial Margins," with Alan Taylor, in Justice in British, Iberian, and Indigenous America, 1600–1825: The Challenge of Legal Intelligibility, eds. Brian P. Owensby and Richard J. Ross (NYU Press, forthcoming).

"Reconstituting Power in an American Borderland: Political Change in Colonial East Florida," Florida Historical Quarterly 94, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 169–191.


Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2015–2016) (link)
University of California Dissertation Fellowship (2015–2016)
The Newberry Library–Jack Miller Center Research Fellowship (2015–2016) (link)
Jacob M. Price Visiting Research Fellowship, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan (2016)
American Historical Association Littleton–Griswold Research Grant (2015) (link)
Organization of American Historians Huggins–Quarles Award (2015) (link)
Global South Research Fellowship, The New Orleans Center for the Study of the Gulf South (2015)
William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Research Fellowship, awarded by the American Society for Legal History (2014–2015) (link)
The Newberry Library Renaissance Consortium Grant, Chicago, IL (2014)