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Justin Leroy


  • Ph.D., American Studies, New York University, 2014
  • M.A., Humanities and Social Thought, New York University, 2009
  • B.A., Film Studies, Wesleyan University, 2005


Justin Leroy is an historian of the nineteenth-century United States, specializing in African American history. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2016, he was a postdoctoral fellow in global American studies at Harvard University. He is at work on his first book, Freedom’s Limit: Racial Capitalism and the Afterlives of Slavery.

Research Focus

19th-century United States; African American history; intellectual history; slavery and abolition; the Atlantic World; comparative histories of empire; the history of capitalism.

Selected Publications

Leroy, J. (Forthcoming) Freedom’s Limit: Racial Capitalism and the Afterlives of Slavery, Columbia University Press

Leroy, J. (2016) “Black History in Occupied Territory: On the Entanglements of Slavery and Settler Colonialism.” Theory and Event 19.4.

(2016) “Interchange: Globalization and Its Limits between the American Revolution and the Civil War” [Special section]. Journal of American History 103.2: 1-34.

Helton, L., Leroy, J., Mishler, M., Seeley, S., Sweeney, S. (Eds.) (2015). The Question of Recovery?: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive [Special issue]. Social Text 125.

Kish, Z. and Leroy, J. (2015) “Bonded Life: Technologies of Racial Finance from Slave Insurance to Philanthrocapital.” Cultural Studies 29.5-6: 630-51.


Professor Leroy teaches courses in African American history, Atlantic slavery, U.S. intellectual history, and the history of capitalism.

Fall 2018:

  • African American History from 1877 (177B)
  • Slavery and Its Legacies (102L)


Winter 2019:

  • History of Global Capitalism (14)
  • History of Race in the United States since 1865 (18B)


Society of American Historians, Allan Nevins Prize for Best Dissertation in American History (2015)

American Studies Association, Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for Best Dissertation (finalist) (2014)

Harvard University, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Global American Studies (2014-2016)

Princeton University, Center for African American Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2015)

University of Virginia, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2016)

University of Chicago, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2016)