Christopher Dingwall

US pre 1900

Research Interests

U.S. cultural history of the 19th century; slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World; race in popular, literary, visual, and material cultures; memory in modernity and postmodernity; history and theory

Disseration Project

Selling Slavery: Memory, Culture, and the Renewal of America, 1876-1920


Chris Dingwall is a Ph.D. candidate in History and member of the Object Cultures Project at the University of Chicago, where he studies the history of American culture, race, and slavery. His dissertation, “Selling Slavery: Memory, Culture, and the Renewal of America, 1876-1920,” examines the mass manufacture of memories of slavery in literature, public amusements, early cinema, commercial art and photography, and mechanical toys. It argues that by “selling slavery,” the early purveyors of mass culture raised, elided, and shaped questions about race, and modernity which vexed the era of national rebirth.

Before entering the Ph.D. program, Chris received a Combined Honours BA in English and History from the University of British Columbia (2005), and an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (2006), after which he spent a happy year employed at the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library. Currently a Preceptor for the History Department, Chris has held research fellowships from the John Hope Franklin Fund and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, taught in the America in World Civilization sequence and in the Writing Program, and was a member of the Mapping the Stacks archival project. He is currently curating “Race and the Design of American Life: African Americans in Commercial Art,” an exhibition opening in October 2013 in the Regenstein Library's Special Collections Gallery.


“19th-Century Modern” (exhibition review), West 86th 19.1 (Spring 2012) []