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Research and Teaching

Brett Rushforth teaches courses on the history of early America, American Indians, and comparative race and slavery at the College of William & Mary. His research focuses on cultural, diplomatic, and commercial relationships between Europeans and the Native peoples of the Atlantic world. His first book, co-edited with his colleague Paul Mapp, is Colonial North America and the Atlantic World: A History in Documents (Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2008). His second book, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, explores the enslavement of American Indians by French colonists and their Native allies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It will be published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in 2012. He is now at work, with Christopher Hodson, on a general history of the early modern French Atlantic. Under contract with Basic Books, its working title is Discovering Empire: France and the Atlantic World from the Age of Columbus to the Rise of Napoleon.

Professor Rushforth works with Ph.D. students in the following fields: French Atlantic world (North America and the Caribbean), comparative slavery, American Indians before 1800, and North American colonial history before 1800. He also co-hosts – with Christopher Grasso, Paul Mapp, and Karin Wulf – the department’s graduate reading group in early American history.


Professor Rushforth received his B.A. in 1995 from the University of Utah, his M.A. in 1998 from Utah State University, and his Ph.D. in 2003 from the University of California, Davis. From 2003 to 2005 he was National Endowment for the Humanities postdoctoral fellow at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. He currently holds a Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.