Justin Leroy, Ph.D.


Position Title
Assistant Professor


4211 SS&H


  • Ph.D., American Studies, New York University, 2014
  • M.A., Humanities and Social Thought, New York University, 2009
  • B.A., Film Studies, Wesleyan University, 2005


Justin Leroy is an historian of the nineteenth-century United States, specializing in African American history. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2016, he was a postdoctoral fellow in global American studies at Harvard University. He is at work on his first book, Freedom’s Limit: Racial Capitalism and the Afterlives of Slavery.

Research Focus

19th-century United States; African American history; intellectual history; slavery and abolition; the Atlantic World; comparative histories of empire; the history of capitalism.

  • Selected Publications

  • Leroy, J. (Forthcoming) Freedom’s Limit: Racial Capitalism and the Afterlives of Slavery, Columbia University Press
  • Leroy, J. (2016) “Black History in Occupied Territory: On the Entanglements of Slavery and Settler Colonialism.” Theory and Event 19.4.
  • (2016) “Interchange: Globalization and Its Limits between the American Revolution and the Civil War” [Special section]. Journal of American History 103.2: 1-34.
  • Helton, L., Leroy, J., Mishler, M., Seeley, S., Sweeney, S. (Eds.) (2015). The Question of Recovery?: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive [Special issue]. Social Text 125.
  • Kish, Z. and Leroy, J. (2015) “Bonded Life: Technologies of Racial Finance from Slave Insurance to Philanthrocapital.” Cultural Studies 29.5-6: 630-51.


Professor Leroy teaches courses in African American history, Atlantic slavery, U.S. intellectual history, and the history of capitalism.

Winter 2018:

  • African American History to 1877 (177A)
  • Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World (201X)

Spring 2018:

  • African American History from 1877 (177B)
  • American Intellectual History (175)


  • Society of American Historians, Allan Nevins Prize for Best Dissertation in American History (2015)
  • American Studies Association, Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for Best Dissertation (finalist) (2014)
  • Harvard University, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Global American Studies (2014-2016)
  • Princeton University, Center for African American Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2015)
  • University of Virginia, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2016)
  • University of Chicago, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) (2014-2016)