of History, Law, and the College
Affiliated Faculty, Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies
Faculty Board, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
On Research Leave, 2018–19
PhD 1990 Yale University
The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 E. 59th Street, Mailbox 76
Chicago, IL 60637
Social Science Research Building, room 209– Office
(773) 702-4327 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax
Nineteenth-century United States, slavery and emancipation, political economy, law, history of ideas, cultural history, 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. Along with scholarly essays, her work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Dissent, the Nation, and the Jacobin.
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. She was chair of the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History (2018).
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.
The Antislavery Ethic and the Spirit of Commerce: 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.
- 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.)
Articles & Chapters
"The Sovereign Market and Sex Difference: Human Rights in America." In American Capitalism: New Histories, edited by Sven Beckert and Christine Desan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.
"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, 2015.
“Contract.” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies, 2nd ed., edited by B. Burgett and G. Hendler. New York: New York University Press, 2014.
"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 115, no. 3 (June 2010): 732–65.
"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 (Sum. 2004).
"Dominion and Dependence in the Law of Freedom and Slavery." Law & Social Inquiry 28, no. 3 (Aut. 2003): 1127-34.
"Marriage, Property, and Ideals of Class." In Blackwell's Companion to American Women's History, edited by Nancy Hewitt. Oxford: 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, no. 4 (Mar. 1992): 1265–93.
"Conjugal Bonds and Wage Labor: Rights of Contract in the Age of Emancipation." Journal of American History 75, no. 2 (Sept. 1988): 471–500.
—Chairs 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History Jury
—Writes on "Did the abolition of slavery create a right to go to the theater?" for Slate, Dec. 2017.
—Named an OAH Distinguished Lecturer
—Kyle Volk, PhD'08, Praises Stanley's Scholarship on the Oxford University Press blog
—Participates on Yale Panel on the 14th Amendment
—Amy Dru Stanley and Jonathan Levy Embark on New Study of the Economy
—Coorganizes "Human Trafficking, Labor Migration, and Migration Control in Comparative Historical Perspective" conference, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
—Writes for the New York Times Opinionator blog on the Civil War Enlistment Act