Robert Colby

Department of Leadership and American Studies

Robert Colby

Visiting Faculty

McMurran Hall 306
(757) 594-7881


  • Ph D in History, University of North Carolina
  • MA in History, University of North Carolina
  • BA in History, University of Virginia


Slavery and American Democracy.


Slavery, race, capitalism, emancipation, and the American Civil War.


I am an historian of slavery, emancipation, the American Civil War, and the nineteenth century United States. My research explores the domestic slave trade during the Civil War. Through wartime transactions in enslaved people, I study not only the effects of that commerce on those who lived through the conflict, but the interactions of slavery and capitalism as well as the onset of freedom in the United States.

  • Anne J. Bailey Dissertation Prize, Society of Civil War Historians. (2020)
  • Allan Nevins Prize, Society of American Historians. (2020)
  • Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award, Society of Civil War Historians. (2019)
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    (2020). “‘Negroes Will Bear Fabulous Prices’: The Economics of Wartime Slave Commerce and Visions of the Confederate Future". Journal of the Civil War Era. Volume, 10. Issue, 4. Pages, 439-468.
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    (2020). In the Shadow of the Capitol: Runaway Slaves and the Washington Jail. Lincoln Forum Bulletin. Volume, 48. Pages, 34-36.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2018). Lee Returns to the Capitol: A Case Study in Reconciliation and its Limits. Routledge.
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