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Dr Natalie Zacek

Dr Natalie Zacek
Lecturer in History and American Studies

ON LEAVE AUTUMN 2007

Contact Details

Postal address: Department of History
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL UK

Office:
Room N.2.8, Humanities Lime Grove
Phone: (0161) 275-7073
E-mail: natalie.a.zacek@manchester.ac.uk

Profile

I received my PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University in 2000, and since then have been Lecturer in History at Manchester, with a joint appointment in the American Studies programme. Within the University, I am an active member of the emerging World Histories Group and of the American Studies Research Group, and am affiliated with the Cultural Theory Institute, the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture, and the Centre for Latin American Cultural Studies.

Current research

I am completing final revisions to my book manuscript, Dangerous Tenants: Conflict and Community in a Colonial British American World, 1670-1776. This monograph is a study of the formation of white settler societies in the British West Indian colony of the Leeward Islands, comprising Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts, in the century from their foundation as an English colony to the outbreak of the American Revolution and onset of their subsequent socioeconomic decline. It is based upon extensive archival research in the United States, Britain, and the islands, and examines such topics as norms of gender and sexuality, competing religious practices, relations between white ethnic communities, and the formation of a political culture which was simultaneously imperially British and locally West Indian.

A 1761 map of the Leeward Islands

In autumn 2007, I will be on research leave. As a visiting research scholar at Johns Hopkins University and as a Mellon Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society, I will begin work on a new project, provisionally entitled A Kingdom For a Horse: The Thoroughbred Horse in Virginian Culture, which centres upon the social and cultural meaning of the thoroughbred horse in Virginia in the half-century between 1740 and 1790. This period of political, religious, and cultural conflict saw the rise and consolidation of an endogamous elite class of white, mostly English-descended, settlers and creoles who mythologised themselves as the "First Families of Virginia," and as the literal or figurative descendants of seventeenth-century English "cavaliers." The ownership and use of pedigreed horses was an integral element in this elites self-presentation throughout the colonial and antebellum period, and was a source of conflict between members of this elite and those Virginians who embraced evangelical religion and opposed British rule. Although Virginians devotion to the breeding and racing of thoroughbred horses attracted considerable comment from contemporary observers, this subject has received scant attention from historians of colonial and antebellum America.

A 1766 advertisement for the sale of a horse

A 1766 advertisement for the sale of a horse, Virginia Gazette

In autumn 2007, I will be on research leave. As a visiting research scholar at Johns Hopkins University and as a Mellon Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society, I will begin work on a new project, provisionally entitled A Kingdom For a Horse: The Thoroughbred Horse in Virginian Culture, which centres upon the social and cultural meaning of the thoroughbred horse in Virginia in the half-century between 1740 and 1790. This period of political, religious, and cultural conflict saw the rise and consolidation of an endogamous elite class of white, mostly English-descended, settlers and creoles who mythologised themselves as the "First Families of Virginia," and as the literal or figurative descendants of seventeenth-century English "cavaliers." The ownership and use of pedigreed horses was an integral element in this elites self-presentation throughout the colonial and antebellum period, and was a source of conflict between members of this elite and those Virginians who embraced evangelical religion and opposed British rule. Although Virginians devotion to the breeding and racing of thoroughbred horses attracted considerable comment from contemporary observers, this subject has received scant attention from historians of colonial and antebellum America.

A 1761 map of the Leeward Islands
A 1761 map of the Leeward Islands.

Principal Publications

"Class Struggle in a West Indian Plantation Society," in Billy G. Smith and Simon Middleton, eds.,Class Matters: Early North America and the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)

"Cultivating Virtue: Samuel Martin and the Paternal Ideal in the Eighteenth-Century English West Indies," Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and its Diaspora, special issue on gender and family history (Autumn 2007)

"Rituals of Rulership: The Material Culture of West Indian Politics," in David S. Shields and Bernard Herman, eds., The Material World of the Tidewater, the Lowcountry, and the Caribbean (University of South Carolina Press, 2007)

"Reading the Rebels: Currents of Black Resistance in the Eighteenth-Century British West Indies," History in Focus (Spring 2007) (electronic journal [http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus])

"Of Codfish, Cane, and Contraceptives: Early Modern Commodities in Atlantic Perspective," Journal of Peasant Studies 34:1 (January 2007)

"The Newest New World," Reviews in American History 34: 2 (June 2006)

"A Death in the Morning: The Murder of Daniel Parke, Antigua, 1710," in Robert A. Olwell and Alan Tully, eds., Cultures and Identities in Colonial British America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005)

"National Endowments Summer Vacation," Common-place (electronic journal) 6:1 (October 2005 [www.common-place.org])

"Voices and Silences: The Problem of Slave Testimony in the English West Indian Law Court," Slavery and Abolition 24:3 (December 2003)

"Columbus and My Voyage of Discovery," Times Higher Education Supplement, 16 May 2003

Current Teaching

In 2006-07, I taught the following undergraduate modules:

I have also taught a number of other modules at the University of Manchester, including:

At postgraduate level, I have contributed to the core courses for the MA programmes in American Cultural Studies, Early Modern European History, Cultural History, and Constructions of the Sacred, the Supernatural, and the Holy, as well as teaching the following courses:

Areas of supervision

In 2007/08 I will not be supervising Year 2 Long Essays. Thesis supervision will be linked to HIST30952 (Cities of Dreadful Delight).

I have supervised theses linked to a number of the Departments MA programmes; topics have included the emotional lives of American Civil War soldiers, the rise and decline of Atlantic piracy, the formation of Caribbean national identities, ideals of masculinity in Theodore Roosevelts America, and the role of prostitution in the nineteenth-century British Empire.

At the PhD level, I have supervised the following students:

I welcome enquiries from potential research students interested in the history of the United States, the West Indies, and the Atlantic world in the period bounded broadly by the Columbian voyages and the American Civil War, particularly those interested in topics relating to social and cultural history, race, slavery and abolition, gender and sexuality, and the history of landscape and the built environment. The John Rylands Library holds a number of collections of particular value to these subjects, including the Stapleton Manuscripts (the history of the Leeward Islands in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries), the Brooke of Mere Muniments (Antiguan slave plantations in the early nineteenth century), the Thomas Coke Papers (missionary endeavours in colonial British America), the Raymond Anti-Slavery Collection, the Voyages and Travel Collection, the Manchester Geographical Society Collection, and numerous sources on the global/transatlantic textile industry. In addition, the University Library is well stocked with secondary literature, in both monograph and journal form, and subscribes to important databases of primary materials, including Early English Books On-Line and Eighteenth-Century Collections On-Line.