Philip Misevich is a scholar of the transatlantic slave trade with broad interests in the history of Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on each of these regions along with more specialized offerings on the history of slavery, abolition, and the Atlantic World. A passionate advocate for digital history, he challenges students and scholars to think boldly about how to reach wide-ranging publics with their work.
Misevich’s research considers how enslaved Africans and their descendants experienced slavery, the slave trade, and emancipation across the Atlantic World. His first book, Abolition and the Transformation of Atlantic Commerce in Southern Sierra Leone, 1790s to 1860s, probes how the growth of Freetown, a British anti-slavery colony in West Africa, transformed the trade in human and non-human goods in the major slaving centers on the colony’s southern frontier. The book reveals how two contrasting forces – one rooted in slave trading, the other in the conjoined projects of abolition and colonialism – collided along the southern Sierra Leone coast and profoundly affected the lives of free and enslaved Africans throughout the region.
Additionally, Misevich has been a part of several important public-facing projects that aim to document aspects of the transatlantic slave trade. He is the co-Principal Investigator of the African Origins database (www.African-Origins.org), which uses crowd sourcing to assess the likely homelands of more than 91,000 captives who were liberated from slave vessels in the nineteenth century. He is on the Steering Committee and has played a central role in the development of the Slave Voyages website (www.slavevoyages.org), which allows visitors to search records of more than 36,000 unique transatlantic slave voyages. Misevich also co-produced Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels, which was awarded the 2015 John E. O’Connor Prize by the American Historical Association for best historical documentary.
“Abolition and the Domestic Slave Trade in Sierra Leone, 1830s-1860s,” Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora Annual Conference, November 2019.
“The African Origins Database Project,” Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade, Michigan State University, March 2019.
“The Igbo Diaspora, 1810-1839: African Origins and American Destinations,” African Studies Association Annual Meeting, November 2018.
“The Transatlantic Muslim Diaspora to Latin America in the Nineteenth Century,” Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, January 2017.
“The Transatlantic Muslim Diaspora to Latin America in the Nineteenth Century,” Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University, November 2016.
Radio interview (with Konrad Tuchscherer), KZSC’s Artists on Art program, Santa Cruz, October 2016, concerning the documentary, Ghosts of Amistad. Interview archived online at http://www.artistsonart.net/philip-misevich-konrad-tuchscherer/
“Names, Origins and Identities: Ethnolinguistic Patterns of Southern Sierra Leone Captives in the Nineteenth Century,” University of Pittsburgh, April 2014.
“The Atlantic Slave Trade in the Era of Abolition,” Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College – A Symposium, New York University, October 2013.
Abolition and the Transformation of Atlantic Commerce in Southern Sierra Leone, 1790s to 1860s. Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora. Trenton: African World Press, 2019.
Philip Misevich and Kristin Mann, eds. The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2016.
Philip Misevich and Daniel Domingues da Silva. “Atlantic Slavery and the Slave Trade: History and Historiography.” Oxford Research Encyclopedias. Oxford University Press, 2018. Available online at: https://oxfordre.com/africanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.001.0001/acrefore-9780190277734-e-371
Philip Misevich et al. “The Transatlantic Muslim Diaspora to Latin America in the Nineteenth Century.” Colonial Latin American Review 26, no. 4 (2017): 528-45.
Philip Misevich et al. “A Digital Archive of Slave Voyages Details the Largest Forced Migration in History.” The Conversation (April 30, 2017): https://theconversation.com/a-digital-archive-of-slave-voyages-details-the-largest-forced-migration-in-history-74902
“The Mende and Sherbro Diaspora in Nineteenth-Century Southern Sierra Leone.” In The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World, edited by Philip Misevich and Kristin Mann, 247-65. Rochester: Rochester University Press, 2016.
Philip Misevich and Kristin Mann. “Introduction” to The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World, edited by Philip Misevich and Kristin Mann, 1-30. Rochester: Rochester University Press, 2016.
“Freetown and Freedom?” Colonialism and Slavery in Sierra Leone.” In Slavery, Abolition and the Transition to Colonialism in Sierra Leone, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy and Suzanne Schwarz, 189-216. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2014.
Philip Misevich et al. “The Diaspora of Africans Liberated from Slave Ships in the Nineteenth Century.” The Journal of African History 55, no. 3 (2014): 347-69.
Philip Misevich et al. “Tuning the Core: History, Assessment, and the St. John’s University Core Curriculum.” Perspectives on History 51, no. 4 (April 2013): https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/april-2013/tuning-the-core
Philip Misevich et al. “Using African Names to Identify the Origins of Captives in the Transatlantic Slave Trade: The Registers of Liberated Africans, 1808-1862.” History in Africa 40, no. 1 (2013): 165-91.
“The Sierra Leone Hinterland and the Provisioning of Early Freetown, 1792-1803.” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 9, no. 3 (Winter, 2008).
“The Origins of Slaves Leaving the Upper Guinea Coast in the Nineteenth Century.” In Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, edited by David Eltis and David Richardson, 155-75. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.
Major Digital History Projects
Co-Principal Investigator, African Origins Database (www.African-Origins.org).
Steering Committee, Slave Voyages (www.slavevoyages.org).
Co-Producer, Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels (Alexander Street Press, 2014).
Modern Caribbean History
A History of the Atlantic World
A History of Brazil
African Civilizations and the African Diaspora
Colonial African History
The United States and Africa
A History of Slavery and Abolition
Diasporas, Migrations, and Borders
The Emergence of Global Society
Introduction to History