Calvin Schermerhorn is a historian of slavery, capitalism, and African American inequalty. He teaches courses in US and global history and advises Barrett Honors and graduate students. He is currently the Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies.
His new book Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery gives a thematic overview of African American slavery from the Revolution to Reconstruction. He is the author of The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860 which was a finalist for the Harriet Tubman Prize awarded by the Lapidus and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. Previous books include Money over Mastery, Family over Freedom: Slavery in the Antebellum Upper South (2011) and a long-lost ex-slave autobiography by Henry Goings (c.1810-18??), Rambles of a Runaway from Southern Slavery, co-edited with Mike Plunkett and Edward Gaynor (2012).
He is actively working on a new book, Disinherited, Dispossessed, and Decapitalized: The Limits of Black Wealth in America, 1619-2019. It explains the deep history of why African Americans today have one-tenth the wealth of white Americans and the mutually reinforcing impediments to the intergenerational transfer of wealth over the last 400 years.
Schermerhorn arrived at ASU in 2008 after earning a doctorate from the University of Virginia. Before that he worked in marketing in New Jersey and family support on an Air Force base in Washington, D.C. His research has been funded by fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian, Huntington Library, Gilder Lehrman Center, American Philosophical Society, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, among other organizations.