Wells Fargo Lectures

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Through the generous support from Wells Fargo, CLAW is proud to present the Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecturers.  

The lectures feature a diverse of scholars, historians, artists and authors on topics relevant to the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World.

Many of these lectures result from collaboration with other entities at the College of Charleston:

  • Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
  • Friends of the Library
  • Interdisciplinary programs including African Studies, African American Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecturers

Spring 2020
John McCurdy has been a member of the Department of History and Philosophy at Eastern Michigan University since 2005. He is the author of "Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution" (Cornell University Press, 2019). The book investigates quartering (housing, supplying, and transporting) British soldiers in eighteenth-century America, and asks why quartering helped lead to American independence. It answers this question by drawing on recent studies of place, asserting that the late colonial debates over quartering shaped perceptions of house, city, and nation. Lecture delivered by John McCurdy: “Quartering the British Army During the American Revolution”

Fall 2019
Terri L. Snyder is a professor of American studies at California State University, Fullerton. Her research focuses on the intersections of law, gender, and race in early America, and her most recent book is Brabbling Women: Disorderly Speech and the Law in Early Virginia (2003).

Lecture delivered by Terri Snyder: “Jane and Elisha Webb: Claiming Freedom and Black Antislavery Work in the Early American South”

Fall 2018
Ashley Carse is Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University. His research and lecture entitled  “Dredging the Atlantic Word:  How Ships and Sedimentation Link the Lowcountry with the Panama Canal” explores how the cities and ports of the Carolina Lowcountry connect with the Atlantic World and beyond and the complexities of conceptualizing  global interconnections in terms of the “flow” or “circulation” of commodities, bodies, and information from one place to another. While useful, these metaphors can also distract our attention from the localized construction and maintenance of the infrastructure (roads and cables, pipelines and ports) that make the cheap, rapid connectivity of globalization possible. Through an analysis of harbor deepening projects at the Port of Charleston and Port of Savannah, two of the many dredging projects on the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts associated with the recent Panama Canal expansion, Carse shows how distant waterways are standardized to accommodate new generations of megaships. Dredging focuses our attention on the local, material transformation of environments for circulation.

Fall 2017
Edward Baptist, PhD. is a professor of History at Cornell University and is the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. He won the Organization of American Historians’ Avery O. Craven Award and Sidney Hillman Book Prize for his most recent book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2014). This book demonstrates how the expansion of slavery in the early nineteenth century spurred massive economic growth and his research has radically reshaped conventional understandings of American capitalism.

Baptist’s lecture entitled “African Resistance to White Policing in the South Carolina Lowcountry” draws from his new book project which examines four centuries of white America’s focus on controlling the movement of African and African American people, from fugitive slave ads and patrols to segregation and incarceration. Baptist also co-directs the “Freedom on the Move” project, a database of digitized runaway slave advertisements.

Benjamin Park, PhD. is assistant professor at Sam Houston State University. Park’s lecture entitled “Algernon Sidney Johnston’s Nationalism: What A South Carolina Novel About Intergalactic Travel, Carnivorous Demons, and Romantic Bonds Tell Us About Early American Union and Disunion” is informed by his current scholarship which looks at three distinct regions, including South Carolina, to explore how local cultures influenced American identity and union in the fifty years following independence.

Carter Hudgins, PhD. President and CEO of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. For further information, click here

Caryl Phillips. Caryl Phillips is an internationally recognized and award winning author, having published numerous fiction and non-fiction works that cover the Black Atlantic.


Nicole Maskiell

Assistant Professor of History, University of South Carolina.

Huw T. David
Development Officer at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University and recipient of the College of Charleston’s 2015 Hines Prize for his manuscript, The Atlantic at Work: Britain and South Carolina’s Trading Networks, c. 1730 to 1790.
Neven Leddy
Instructor at Carleton University
Richard Price
Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the College of William and Mary


Michael A. Gomez 
Professor of History, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University
Stephen Berry 
Associate Professor of Early American and Atlantic World History at the Simmons College of Arts and Sciences


Ras Michael Brown 
History and Africana Studies at Southern Illinois Univeristy and recipient of the 2013 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions for his work entitled African and Atlantic Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Kokanko Sata Doumbia 
Malian and Wasulu vocalist, percussionist, kamele ngoni player and Dogon scholar
Jessica B. Harris
Professor of English at Queens College/C.U.N.Y.,  journalist, radio show host, culinary historian, founding member of the Southern Food Alliance, 2010 inductee to the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in the United States, winner of the Lafcadio Hearn award, the 2012 International Association for Culinary Professionals prize for High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, and a member of the Kitchen Cabinet at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Tristan Stubbs 
Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society, and Lewis P. Jones Visiting Fellow at the University of South Carolina. Recipient of the 2013 Hines Prize for his book, The Plantation Overseers of Eighteenth-Century Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia.


Emory Campbell 
President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Services, former Director of the Penn Center, former Director of Community Service Education at the Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services,  received the 2005 Carter G. Woodson Memorial award, and translated the New Testament of the Bible into the Gullah language.
Albie Sachs
Activist and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Winner of the 2009 Reconciliation Award, the 2009 Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, the 2014 Taiwan’s inaugural Tang Prize in the Rule of Law for his contributions to human rights and justice globally. In 2015 Sachs was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow.


Richard Godbeer 
Prolific author and Professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Miami


James McPherson 
Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University and Pulitzer Prize winner for Battle Cry of Freedom.
Peter Wood 
Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and author of Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion.


Lisa Vollendorf
Dean of  the Colleges of Humanities and the Arts and Professor of Spanish at San José State University


Vernon Burton 
Professor of History at Clemson University and Director of the Clemson CyberInstitute


Richard Porcher 
Professor of Biology at the Citadel and recipient of the South Carolina Environmentalist of the Year Award
James Walvin 
Professor of History Emeritus at University of York and at the forefront of the historical research on the subject of Britain and the slave trade.


Donald MacRaild 
Professor of British and Irish History at the University of Ulster and member of the AHRC Peer Review College, a member of the Inner Panel of the Irish Research Council and an assessor for the Australian Research Council
Edmundo Murray 
PhD in Literature from the University of Zurich, editor and in-house publisher of the World Trade Organization


Marcus Rediker 
Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh


Stephanie Yuhl 
Professor of History at College of the Holy Cross


John Corrigan 
Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor of Religion
Professor of History at Florida State University
Patrick Griffin 
Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Department Chair at the University of Notre Dame


Vincent Carretta
Professor of English at the University of Maryland


John Martin Taylor
American food writer and culinary historian. Author of Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking, which is considered the “the prototype for any serious regional American cookbook.”
Stan Woodward
Southern Culture and Traditional Arts Documentary Producer, received the 2013 Jean Laney Harris South Carolina Folk Heritage Award. Best known for the southern documentary classic, It’s GRITS


Caryl Phillips 
Kittitian-British novelist, playwright and essayist. Winner of the 2013  Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence, the 2011 Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and the 2007 Essence Literary Award Finalist for Foreigners, to name a few.


Catherine Clinton 
Denman Professor of American History at the University of Texas at San Antonio  and an international research professor in the School of History and Anthropology at her former university Queen’s University Belfast.


Timothy H. Breen 
William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University
Kathleen Deagan 
Distinguished Research Curator of Archeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History
Sylvia Frey
Professor of History at Tulane University
Jennifer L. Morgan
Professor or History and of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University


Philip Morgan
Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University
Robert Olwell
Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin
David Shields
American internationally-bestselling author of twenty books with publications in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire, Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney’s, and Believer.
Peter Wood
Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and author of Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion.


Bernard Bailyn
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Professor Emeritus at Harvard University
David Brion Davis
Director Emeritus of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
Sidney W. Mintz
Anthropologist best known for his studies of Latin America and the Caribbean, founder of the Anthropology Department at Johns Hopkins University
J.G.A. Pocock
Harry C. Black Professor of History Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University