Associate Professor of History and the College
PhD 1990 Yale University
Social Sciences Research Building, room 209– Office
(773) 702-4327 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax
The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 East 59th Street, Mailbox 76
Chicago, IL 60637
Office: Social Sciences Research Building, room 209
Nineteenth-century United States; slavery and emancipation; capitalism and political economy; legal and gender; cultural, social, and human rights
Amy Dru Stanley's research and teaching focus on US history, from the early Republic through the Progressive Era. She is especially interested in the history of capitalism, slavery, and emancipation, and the historical experience of moral problems. Methodologically, she works at the intersections of intellectual, social, and legal history.
She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, from institutions including the Center for Human Values at Princeton University, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Museum of American History, the American Bar Foundation, and the New York University Law School. She has also been awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2009 and a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring in 2005.
Her current and former PhD students work on issues ranging from slavery and memory, risk, and urban space to marriage, civil rights, working women, consumer culture, the free press, temperance, tax policy, mental health, and criminal law.
From Slave Emancipation to the Commerce Power: An American History of Human Rights. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, forthcoming.
From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
From Bondage to Contract has received the following prizes:
- Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, 1999. (For the best first book in US History, awarded by the Organization of American Historians.)
- Morris D. Forkosch Award, 1999. (For the best book in intellectual history.)
- Avery O. Craven Award, 1999. (For the best book on the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction, awarded by the Organization of American Historians.)
- Frederick Douglass Prize, 1999, honorable mention. (For the best book on the history of slavery.)
"The Traffic in Things and the Rights of Persons: An American Peculiarity." In The New History of Capitalism, edited by Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, forthcoming.
"Slave Emancipation and the Revolutionizing of Human Rights." In The World the Civil War Made, edited by Greg Downs and Kate Masur. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming, 2015.
"Slave Breeding and Free Love: An Antebellum Argument over Slavery, Capitalism, and Personhood." In Capitalism Takes Command, edited by Michael Zakim and Gary Kornblith. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
"Instead of Waiting for the Thirteenth Amendment: The War Power, Slave Marriage, and Inviolate Human Rights." American Historical Review (June 2010).
"When We Were Young." In Wayne F. Miller: Photographs 1942–1958, edited by Stephen Daiter. Brooklyn: Powerhouse Books, 2008.
"Wages, Sin, and Slavery: Some Thoughts on Free Will and Commodity Relations." Journal of the Early Republic 24 (Summer 2004).
"Dominion and Dependence in the Law of Freedom and Slavery." Law & Social Inquiry (2003)
"Marriage, Property, and Ideals of Class." In Blackwell's Companion to American Women's History, edited by Nancy Hewitt. Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell Press, 2002.
"The Right to Possess All the Faculties that God Has Given: Possessive Individualism, Slave Women, and Abolitionist Thought." In Moral Problems in American Life, edited by Lewis Perry and Karen Halttunnen. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.
"Home Life and the Morality of the Marketplace: Slavery and Freedom, Women and Men." In The Market Revolution in America, edited by Melvyn Stokes. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1996.
"Beggars Can't Be Choosers: Compulsion and Contract in Postbellum America." Journal of American History 78 (March 1992): 1265–93.
"Conjugal Bonds and Wage Labor: Rights of Contract in the Age of Emancipation." Journal of American History 75 (September 1988): 471–500.