Brooke Newman, PhD

Associate Director of the Humanities Research Center, Associate Professor, the British Atlantic
bnewman@vcu.edu
(804) 828-9670

Brooke Newman specializes in the legal, social, and cultural history of Britain and the British Atlantic during the age of slavery. She’s the co-editor of Native Diasporas: Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas (University of Nebraska Press, 2014), an interdisciplinary volume exploring indigenous articulations of self and community over four centuries. Her first book, A Dark Inheritance: Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica (forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2018), argues that slaveholders in eighteenth-century Jamaica developed and codified a British system of racial classification rooted in notions of blood lineage, yoking the rights and privileges of English subjects under colonial law to hereditary blood status. A Dark Inheritance shows how a dwindling population of British colonists sought both to retain the inherited birthright of Englishmen as an exclusive identity and to exercise control over a majority population of enslaved Africans and their free descendants, as well as a smaller group of Jewish settlers, by policing the boundaries of whiteness. Her new project, Subjects of the Crown: Slavery, Emancipation, and the British Monarchy1760-1840, traces Georgian monarchial perspectives on the slave trade, slavery, and emancipation from 1760 to 1840, a transformative era encompassing the reigns of Kings George III, George IV, William IV, and Queen Victoria.

Selected publications include:

  • Contributing co-editor with Gregory D. Smithers, Native Diasporas: Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014)
  • “Identity Articulated: British Settlers, Black Caribs, and the Politics of Indigenous Identity on St. Vincent, 1763-1797,” in Native Diasporas, ed. Smithers and Newman (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 109-49.
  • “Contesting ‘Black’ Liberty and Subjecthood in the Anglophone Caribbean, 1730s-1780s,” Slavery and Abolition32, no. 2 (2011): 169-83.
  • “Gender, Sexuality, and the Formation of Racial Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Anglo-Caribbean World,” Gender and History 22, no. 3, SpecialIssue: Historicizing Gender and Sexuality (2010): 585-602.