Sophie White

Professor of American Studies

Professor of American Studies
1042 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5611
+1 574-631-6529


Sophie White is Professor of American Studies. She also holds Concurrent Appointments as Professor of Africana Studies, of History, and of Gender Studies, and is a Fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights, and the Institute for Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame.  

She is an historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives.

Her newest book, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press, 2019, 2021) foregrounds an exceptional set of source material about slavery in French America: court cases in which enslaved individuals testified and in the process produced riveting autobiographical narratives.

Voices of the Enslaved has won 7 book prizes, including the 2020 James A. Rawley Book Prize from the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of the Wordwide African Diaspora’s Terborg-Penn Book Prize in Gender & Sexuality, and the Frederick Douglass Book Prize for most outstanding book on slavery published in 2019.

Her first book, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana was published with the University of Pennsylvania Press/McNeil Series in Early American Studies in 2012, and was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. 

With Trevor Burnard, she has co-edited a volume on slave testimony in French and British America 1750-1848 (Routledge, 2020) She is completing a digital humanities project, Hearing Slaves Speak in Colonial America, that will launch in Spring 2022 with the Omohundro Institute and is collaborating on a number of other DH projects on race and slavery.

She has two new book projects. One, His Master’s Grace, is a study of slavery and extra-judicial violence. The other, Strangers Within, examines redhead myths, juxtaposing cultural history with the new genetic discoveries and biological implications of red hair, a project that falls within her purview as a scholar of appearance and of cultural constructions of otherness. She is signed to the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency for this book.

In addition, White is the author of over twenty articles and essays, in journals such as The William and Mary Quarterly, Gender and History and The Winterthur Portfolio.

Among other grants and awards, White was a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Wild Frenchmen, Voices of the Enslaved, and Strangers Within.

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