Christy Clark-Pujara

Position title: Professor, Department Chair


4131 Helen C. White Hall

Ph.D. 2009, University of Iowa, Iowa City
M.A. 2003, University of Iowa, Iowa City
B.A. 2001, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN

Short Biography

Christy Clark-Pujara is a historian whose research focuses on the experiences of black people in French and British North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. An absence of a large black populace did not mean that ideas of blackness were not central to the social, political, and economic development of these places. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYU Press, 2016), examines how the business of slavery—economic activity that was directly related to the maintenance of slaveholding in the Americas, specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in the Wisconsin Territory, 1725—1868, examines how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest.

Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (New York: New York University Press, 2016).


-“Many Tulsa Massacres: How the Myth of a Liberal North Erases a Long History of White Violence” in American Historical Association’s A Bibliography of Historians’ Responses to COVID-19 “Race and Health: COVID-19”:

-“In Need of Care: African American Families Transform the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans during the Final Collapse of Slavery, 1839-1846,” Journal of Family History Volume 45, Issue 3 of Journal of Family History (Spring 2020)

“Contested: Black Suffrage in Early Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Magazine of History (Summer 2017).

“Slavery and the Northern Economy,” eds. Lynn Lyerly and Bethany Jay, Understanding and Teaching American Slavery (University of Wisconsin: Madison, 2016). Winner of the James Harvey Robinson Prize (2018).

“The Business of Slavery and Anti-Slavery Sentiment: The Case of Rowland Gibson Hazard—An Anti-Slavery Negro Cloth Dealer,” Rhode Island History 71:2 (Summer/Fall 2013).

Media Presence

– Wisconsin Public Radio, Central Time, “America’s History of Northern White Violence,”, September 21, 2020.

– WORT, A Public Affair, “The History of Racism in the Midwest,” September 2, 2020.

-CNN Interview, “Historical Context concerning the Protest and Violence in Kenosha, WI,” . August 30, 2020.

-Time Magazine about events in Kenosha, WI:, August 28, 2020.

-Blogpost, Many Tulsa Massacres: How the Myth of a Liberal North Erases a Long History of White Violence, Smithsonian Magazine, August 27, 2020.

-Podcast—Textualizing the Past: Slavery in New England Episode 15., August 7, 2020.

-The Dig: Capitalism and Slavery. Part 1., May 15, 2019.

Radio Chipstone: Black Male Suffrage, WUWM 89.7,, April 7, 2018.

-Slavery and the Northern Economy, Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Hard History Podcast, Slavery and the Northern Economy, (, February 5, 2018.

Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island, Interview, Rhode Island Public Radio, Christy Clark-Pujara: A History of Rhode Island’s Slave Economy, (, February 21, 2017.

Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island, Interview, Ben Franklin’s World: A podcast about early American History (, January 2017.

– “Wisconsin’s Halting Path Towards Black Suffrage, University Place: Slavery, Citizenship And Securing The Right To Vote In a New State,” Scott Gordon, WisContext ( July 10, 2018.

– “America’s First Anti-Slavery Statute Was Passed in 1652. Here’s Why It Was Ignored,” ( May 18, 2017.

Awards and Honors

-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Just Futures Grant, “Humanities Education for Anti-racism Literacy (HEALSTEM) in Sciences and Medicine,” University of Wisconsin Madison, 2021-2024 (co-principle investigator)

-Community Leadership Award, Church Women United of Madison, World Community Day, 2020

Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Award, 2018 – 2020

Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award, University of Wisconsin System, 2018-2019

Feminist Scholar’s Fellowship (UW-Center for Research on Gender and Women), 2019

Outstanding Woman of Color Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2018

Honored Instructor Award, University Housing, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2017

Vilas Associate Award, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2015 – 2016

Honored Instructor Award, University Housing, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2014

Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities,

University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2013 – 2014

Courses Taught:

Introduction to African American History

History of Slavery in the United States

History of Slavery and Emancipation in the United States

History of Slavery and Capitalism in the United States

History of Women and Slavery in the United States

African Americans in the Age of Revolution