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Devin Leigh


  • MA in History from Loyola University Chicago (2015)
  • BA in History and African Studies from DePaul University (2012)


Devin Leigh is a PhD Candidate in the History Department at the University of California, Davis.

Research Focus

Devin researches the history of the Atlantic World. In particular, he studies connections between West Africa, the West Indies, and Britain in the eighteenth century. He is interested in such themes as slavery, colonization, empire, politics, culture, biography, and the production of history. His dissertation is tentatively called “Conscripting the Other: The Politics of African Studies in an Age of Abolition.” In this project, Devin explores the lives and works of a generation of British slave owners and slave traders who turned to studying Africa and Africans as a way to resist slave-trade abolition. He explores why and how these anti-abolitionist figures developed and deployed their knowledge of Africa and Africans.

Selected Publications

Digital Media:

 “The Jamaican Airs Exhibit.” Early Caribbean Digital Archive. Northeastern University, 2019. ecda.northeastern.edu/jamaican-music-exhibit-leigh/

Journal Articles: 

“The Jamaican Airs: An Introduction to Unpublished Pieces of Musical Notation from Enslaved People in the Eighteenth-Century Caribbean,” Atlantic Studies: Global Currents (forthcoming, 2020).

"The origins of a source: Edward Long, Coromantee slave revolts, and The History of Jamaica," Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies vol. 40, no. 2 (2019): 295-320. 

“Black Caesar’s Klan: Albert Payson Terhune, the Birth of Miami, and the Cultural Battle for an Old Bahamian Legend,” Tequesta: The Journal of HistoryMiami Museum, vol. 75, no. 1 (Winter, 2015): 49-87. 

“Between Swamp and Sea: Bahamian Visitors in Southeast Florida before Miami,” The Florida Historical Quarterly vol. 93, no. 4 (Spring, 2015): 511-537.

“Ghost of the Gallows: The Historical Record of Black Caesar,” Creating Knowledge: The LAS Student Research Journal of DePaul University, vol. 5 (Spring, 2012): 28-38.

Book Reviews: 

Book Review of Louisiana and the Gulf South Frontier, 1500-1821 by F. Todd SmithJournal of Florida Studies, vol. 1, no. 5, Special Issue “Travel and Travels, Part 2” (Spring, 2016): 1-12.

Book Review of The Struggle for Black Freedom in Miami: Civil Rights and America's Tourist Paradise, 1896-1968 by Chanelle N. Rose. H-Florida, H-Net Reviews. Sept., 2015.

Book Review of Miami: A Cultural History by Anthony P. Maingot. H-Florida, H-Net Reviews. Jan., 2016.

Book Review of Redskins: Insult and Brand by C. Richard King. H-Florida, H-Net Reviews. March, 2016. 

Book Review of Indian River Lagoon: An Environmental History, by Nathaniel Osborn, The Florida Historical Quarterly Vol. 95, no. 2 (Fall, 2016): 248-250.