Ted Maris-Wolf, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., U.S. History, The College of William and Mary (2011)
Office: 540 Griffin Hall
How did slavery and notions of freedom develop together in American history? How do we as a people choose to remember or forget certain aspects of the past? Why did racial categories and labels become so important, and what role has race played in United States history? Such questions continue to preoccupy Professor Maris-Wolf’s research and inspire him to challenge students to examine and discuss difficult issues relating to our shared history.
Professor Maris-Wolf is currently revising his dissertation, Liberty, Bondage, and the Pursuit of Happiness: The Free Black Expulsion Law and Self-Enslavement in Virginia, 1806–1864, for publication. His manuscript examines law, race, and the idea of freedom through the lives of free black women and men and their families in mid-nineteenth-century Virginia. His other research projects center on runaway slave (maroon) communities in North America, the nineteenth-century transatlantic slave trade, communities of immigrants from Saint Domingue (now Haiti) in late-eighteenth-century Virginia, and the memory of slave trading and slavery in nineteenth-century West-Central Africa and Liberia.
In the classroom, Maris-Wolf uses various forms of historical evidence, including art, music, architecture, food, and archaeological data, in courses on African American history, slavery, memory, public history, and U.S. History. Through the words of those who lived in the past—expressed in song, story, poetry, and autobiography—Maris-Wolf hopes to further spark students’ interest in the study of history, an immensely complicated endeavor that requires focus, perseverance, and, above all, creativity.
Maris-Wolf is the author of a review essay, “Many Seasons Gone: Memory, History, and the Atlantic Slave Trade” in The New West India Guide (Jan. 2009), and the author and producer of “The Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: Origins, Effects, and Legacies,” an educational film released by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and distributed by the University of North Carolina Press (2009). He has also written several reviews and regularly participates in conferences. For his dissertation at the College of William and Mary, he received the 2011 Thatcher Prize and the Arts and Sciences Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences.