Department of History
Office: Bowden 124
Dawn Peterson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Early North American and U.S. History. Dawn Peterson joins the Department of History in Fall 2013. She received her PhD in American Studies from New York University in 2011, her MA from the same institution in 2007, and her BA from Barnard College in 1999. In her research, she considers the roles of race, gender, and kinship in the history of U.S. capitalism, settler colonialism, and slavery, particularly in the post-Revolutionary period. More specifically, in her book Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion (Harvard UP, 2017), she looks at a group of white slaveholders who adopted Southeast Indian boys (Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw) into their plantation households in the decades following the U.S. Revolution. While these adoptions might seem novel at first glance, they in fact reveal how the plantation household – and the racialized kinship structures that underpin it – increasingly came to shape human life for American Indians, African Americans, and Euro-Americans after the emergence of the United States. Peterson has received fellowships to support this work from the American Antiquarian Society, Harvard University, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Newberry Library. Her dissertation, upon which her book is based, was selected as a finalist for the 2012 Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize in American Studies.