Tessa Murphy

Assistant Professor, History


Contact Information

520 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-5456


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2016


The Atlantic World; the early Americas in comparative perspective; the colonial Caribbean; slavery and race; the Age of Revolutions.


HST 300: The Atlantic World: Rum, Smoke, & Steel

HST 300: Africans in the Early Americas

HST 300: Divided Loyalties: Empire & Allegiance in Early America

HST 300: Unfreedom: Comparative Slavery in the Early Americas

HST 302: Early America

HST 303: The Age of the American Revolution


Tessa Murphy’s research and teaching interests lie in the history of the colonial Americas, broadly defined to include the Caribbean, Central and South America, and what are now Canada and the United States. Her research has been supported by a number of institutions, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, France’s Institut National d’Études Démographiques, the John Carter Brown Library, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the Clements Library. This support has allowed her to pursue work on her current book project, entitled The Creole Archipelago: Race and Colonization in the Southern Caribbean, c. 1660-1797. The booktraces British and French attempts to assimilate or remake colonial societies that evolved beyond the boundaries of European empire in the early modern Americas. She offers courses on the colonial, revolutionary, and early republican Americas; the Atlantic World; and comparative slavery and emancipation.

Research Grants and Awards

2016                David Library of the American Revolution Fellowship, Washington Crossing, PA

2015                John Carter Brown Library Associates Fellowship, Providence, R.I 

2014-2015       Quinn Foundation dissertation-year fellowship

2012-2013       Pre-doctoral fellowship, Institut National d’Études Démographiques, Paris

2011-2012       Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Award

2012                Special Collections Research Fellowship, Hamilton College Library, Clinton, NY

2010-2013       Selected participant in Partner University Funded colloquium, “Migration, Material Culture, and Memory: Constructing Community in Mobile Worlds,” University of Paris X- Nanterre 

Recent Invited Lectures

Apr. 2017        “The Colony of a Colony? The establishment of plantations in Dominica, c. 1730-1763.” Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, Canada.

Jan. 2017         “Slave Societies Outside of Empire: The Neutral Islands of the Caribbean, 1700-1762” American Historical Association, Denver, CO.

Oct. 2016        “Laboring ‘beyond the line:’ Slavery in the Neutral Islands of the Southern Caribbean c. 1700-1762” Region and Nation in American Histories of Race and Slavery, sponsored by the Omohundro Institute for Early American History & Culture, Mount Vernon, VA 

Mar. 2016       “The Limits of the French Revolution: Fedon’s Rebellion, Grenada, 1795-1796.” Political Economy in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Neubauer Collegium, Chicago, IL.

Nov. 2015       “The Treaty of Paris and the Transformation of Port Towns in the Lesser Antilles, 1763-1773.” Port Cities in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800, co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and Temple University.

Nov. 2015       “An Indigenous Archipelago: Kalinagos and Europeans in the Lesser Antilles, c. 1600-1700.” John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI.

June 2015        “‘A Banditti of all nations:’ Trade in the Southern Caribbean during the American War of Independence.” Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture - Society of Early Americanists Joint Conference, Chicago.