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Leslie Alexander

Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography: 

Dr. Leslie Alexander specializes in early African American and African Diaspora history, particularly late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Black culture, political consciousness, and resistance movements. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. 

Her first monograph, entitled African or American?: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861, explores Black culture, identity, and political activism during the early national and antebellum eras. She is also the co-editor of “We Shall Independent Be:” African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the United States, the Encyclopedia of African American History, and is the author of the widely read op-ed piece, “The Birth of a Nation is an Epic Fail,” which appeared in The Nation.

Her forthcoming book, Fear of a Black Republic: African Americans, Haiti, and the Birth of Black Internationalism explores how Haitian independence influenced the rise of Black internationalism in the U.S. Based on her new research, she has published two articles, “The Black Republic: The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Black Political Consciousness, 1817-1861,” which appears in African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, and “A Land of Promise:” Emigration and Pennsylvania’s Black Elite in the Era of the Haitian Revolution in The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience.

A recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Senior Fellowship, Dr. Alexander has given considerable service to the discipline. She is the immediate past president of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), and is an Executive Council member of the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS). She also serves on the Advisory Councils for the Journal of African American History, The Black Scholar, the International Journal for Africana Studies, and the Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History. During her career, she has won several significant awards including the coveted University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award at Ohio State University (OSU). 

Education: 

Ph.D, Cornell University

M.A., Cornell University

B.A., Stanford University

Videos
Leslie Alexander appears on a panel with her sister, Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, to discuss slavery and its contemporary legacy in mass incarceration
Research Interests: 

A specialist in early African American and African Diaspora history, she received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Dr. Alexander's research focuses on late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Black culture, political consciousness, and resistance movements.

Publications: 

Books:

Fear of a Black Republic: African Americans, Haiti, and the Birth of Black Internationalism, Forthcoming, University of Illinois Press.

African or American?: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861. Champaign and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Awarded the National Council for Black Studies prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Field of Africana Studies

Culture and Resistance: A History of African Americans, Under Contract, Routledge Press.

 

Edited Books:

Co-editor, We Shall Independent Be: African American Place Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the United States. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2008.

Co-editor, Expanding the Boundaries of Black Intellectual History. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, Forthcoming, 2020.

Co-editor, Encyclopedia of African American History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio, 2010. Revised, expanded edition forthcoming 2020.

Articles/Book Chapters:

“African Americans and the Transnational Turn,” forthcoming in the William and Mary Quarterly, 2021.

“James Turner, Black Nationalism, and the Birth of Black Internationalism” in Discourse on Africana Studies: James Turner and Paradigms of Knowledge, Scot Brown, ed., (New York: Diasporic Africa Press, Inc., forthcoming edition, 2021).

“‘A United and Valiant People:’ Black Visions of Haiti in the Immediate Aftermath of Haitian Independence,” in Expanding the Boundaries of African American Intellectual History, eds. Leslie Alexander, Brandon Byrd, and Russell Rickford, Northwestern University Press, forthcoming 2021.

“The Birth of a Nation is an Epic Fail,” The Nation, October 6, 2016.

“A Land of Promise: Emigration and Pennsylvania’s Black Elite in the Era of the Haitian Revolution” in The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Senator John Heinz History Center, 2013, pp. 96-132. Recipient of the 2014 American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit.

“A Pact With the Devil?: The United States and the Fate of Modern Haiti,” Origins e-History, online journal, February 2011.

Co-author, “Africana Studies and Oral History: A Critical Assessment” in African American Studies, ed, Jeanette Davidson. Edinburgh University Press, 2011, pp. 171-193.

“The Black Republic: The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Black Political Consciousness, 1816-1862,” in African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, eds. Maurice Jackson and Jacqueline Bacon. Routledge, 2009, pp. 57-80. Republished in Haitian History: New Perspectives, ed., Alyssa Sepinwall. New York: Routledge Press, 2012, pp. 197-214.

“Rethinking the Position of Black Women in American Women’s History” in Major Problems in American Women’s History, eds. Mary Beth Norton, Ruth M. Alexander, and Thomas Paterson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007, pp. 19-25. Originally published as: “The Challenge of Race: Rethinking the Position of Black Women in the Field of Women’s History.” Journal of Women’s History, volume 16, no. 4, December 2004, pp. 50-60.

“The New York City Draft Riot of 1863,” in The Encyclopedia of American Race Riots, eds. James Upton and Walter Rucker. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006, pp. 464-474.

“Seneca Village,” in Slavery in New York, eds. Ira Berlin and Leslie Harris. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005.

Research Activity: 

Dr. Alexander’s current research project, “Fear of a Black Republic: African Americans, Haiti, and the Birth of Black Internationalism” is an exploration of early African American foreign policy. It examines how Black activists became involved in international movements for racial and social justice, and lobbied the United States government for changes in its policies towards African and African diasporic nations. Using Haiti as an illustrative example of early Black internationalism, this project charts the changing views Black leaders held about Haiti over the course of the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century. More specifically, it examines how and why the Haitian Revolution inspired Black activists, why Black leaders in the United States fought relentlessly to protect and defend Haitian independence, and how they pressured the U.S. government to grant Haiti diplomatic recognition. This study also delves deeply into the question of why the United States government denied Haiti’s autonomy for several decades, and what the debate over Haitian independence revealed about the larger battle over race and slavery throughout the Atlantic World. 

Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 598Special Topics
Honors / Awards: 

Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Arizona State University
Ford Foundation Senior Fellowship
Grant Recipient, $50,000 award, University of Oregon
Fellow, Leadership Academy, University of Oregon
Provost’s Senior Humanist Fellowship, Oregon Humanities Center
Award for Faculty Excellence, Black Student Association, The Ohio State University
Presidential Award for Service, National Council for Black Studies
Virginia Hull Research Award, The Ohio State University
Honoree, Who’s Who in Black Columbus
Distinguished Faculty Award, Ohio State University Panhellenic Association Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, given by OSU Outstanding Senior Fire and Focus Award for Distinguished Teaching
National Council for Black Studies Award for Distinguished Scholarship National Council for Black Studies Award for Outstanding Service
Arts and Humanities Diversity Enhancement Award
University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching
University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award
College of Humanities Diversity Enhancement Award
College of Humanities “Seven Stars” Award
Inductee, Ohio Academy of Teaching
Nominee, Distinguished University Faculty Mentor Award
Sphinx and Mortar Board Teaching Award
Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

 

Editorships: 
Journal of African American History
The Black Scholar
The International Journal of Africana Studies
Professional Associations: 
American Historical Association
Committee on Women Historians, 2009-2012
American Studies Association
Association for the Study of African American Life and History Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora
Association of Black Women Historians, Lifetime Member
Association of Caribbean Historians
Caribbean Studies Association
Haitian Studies Association National Council for Black Studies
Executive Board Member, 2010-present Organization of American Historians
Society of Senior Ford Fellows