On Leave 2016-2017
Office: Wood Hall, Rm 319
Fax: (860) 486-0641
Areas of Specialty
Early American, Southern, and African American History, Transnational Histories of Slavery, Abolition, and Feminism, United States Political History, the History and Legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction
Manisha Sinha is professor and the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in Early American History. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed on faculty and received the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in Recognition of Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Advising from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she taught for over twenty years. Her recent book The Slave’s Cause has been reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe, among other newspapers and journals. It was featured as the Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review. Her first book, The Counterrevolution of Slavery, was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015.
Her research interests lie in early United States history, especially the transnational histories of slavery and abolition and the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is a member of the Council of Advisors of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center, New York Public Library, co-editor of the “Race and the Atlantic World, 1700-1900,” series of the University of Georgia Press, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of the Civil War Era. She has written for The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Time Magazine, and The Huffington Post and been interviewed by The Times of London and The Boston Globe. She appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show in 2014. She was an adviser and on-screen expert for the Emmy nominated PBS documentary, The Abolitionists (2013), which is a part of the NEH funded Created Equal film series. Professor Sinha is on leave for the 2016-2017 academic year working on her new book on abolition and the making of Radical Reconstruction.
The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016)
Co-authored, The Abolitionist Imagination (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012)
Co-edited, Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race and Power in American History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007)
Co-edited, African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the African Slave Trade to the Twenty First Century Vol. I To 1877 & Vol. II From 1865 to the Present (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004)
The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)
Finalist, Avery O. Craven Award for Best Book on the Civil War Era, Organization of American Historians
Finalist, George C. Rogers Award for Best Book on South Carolina History
“The Long and Proud History of Charleston’s AME Church,” in Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams, and Keisha N. Blain eds., Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2016): 69-70
“Abraham Lincoln’s Competing Political Loyalties: Union, Constitution, and Antislavery,” in Nicholas Buccola ed., Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2016): 164-191
“The Other Francis Ellen Watkins Harper,” Common-place (Spring 2016) Vol. 16 No. 2
“Was Harriet Beecher Stowe an Abolitionist?” We’re History April 14, 2016,
“Did he Die an Abolitionist? The Evolution of Abraham Lincoln’s Antislavery” American Political Thought 4 (Summer 2015): 439-454.
“Lincoln and Black Abolitionists,” in David S. Reynolds ed., Lincoln’s Selected Writing: Authoritative Texts, Lincoln in His Era, Modern Views (New York, 2015): 495-502 Reprint of “Allies for Emancipation?: Lincoln and Black Abolitionists,” in Eric Foner ed., Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008): 167-196.
“Memory as History, Memory as Activism: The Forgotten Abolitionist Struggle after the Civil War,” Common-place 14 (Winter 2014)
“Stanley Harrold’s Border Wars: An Appreciation,” Ohio Valley History 14 (Summer 2014): 32-42
“Black Abolitionists Developed Their Own Radical Tradition” in Richard D. Brown and Benjamin Carp eds., Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution Third Edition (Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2014): 277-285 Reprint of “To ‘Cast Just Obliquy’ on Oppressors: Black Radicalism in the Age of Revolution” William and Mary Quarterly LXIV (January 2007): 149-160
“The Complicated Histories of Emancipation: State of the Field at 150,” Reviews in American History 41 (December 2013): 665-671
“Architects of Their Own Liberation: African Americans, Emancipation and the Civil War,” OAH Magazine of History 27 (April 2013): 1-6
“Historians’ Forum: The Emancipation Proclamation,” Civil War History 59 (March 2013): 7-31
“The Strange Victory of the Palmetto State” in Ted Widmer ed. with Clay Risen & George Kalogerakis, The New York Times Disunion: Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider the Civil War from Lincoln’s Election to the Emancipation Proclamation (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2013): 60-63
“Did the Abolitionists Cause the Civil War?” in The Abolitionist Imagination (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012): 81-108.
“Secession,” Civil War at 150 First Series (New York: Library of America, 2012): 1-5
“James W.C. Pennington and Transatlantic Abolitionism,” Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Annual Report 2010-2011 (Heidelberg, Germany, 2011): 160-175
“The Political Ideology of Secession in South Carolina,” in Michael Perman and Amy Murrell Taylor eds., Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction Third Edition (Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011): 121-135. Reprint of “Revolution or Counterrevolution? The Political Ideology of Secession in Antebellum South Carolina,” Civil War History Vol. XLVI No. 3 (September, 2000): 205-226.
“Making Sense of John Brown’s Raid,” in Edward Ayers and Carolyn R. Martin eds., America on the Eve of the Civil War: A Virginia Sesquicentennial Conference (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010): 69-89, 112-120.
“Allies for Emancipation?: Lincoln and Black Abolitionists,” in Eric Foner ed., Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008): 167-196.
“An Alternative Tradition of Radicalism: African American Abolitionists and the Metaphor of Revolution, 1775-1865” in Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race and Power in American History (Columbia University Press, 2007): 9-30
“To ‘Cast Just Obliquy’ on Oppressors: Black Radicalism in the Age of Revolution” William and Mary Quarterly LXIV (January 2007): 149-160
“Coming of Age: The Historiography of Black Abolitionism,” in Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer eds, Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (New York: New Press, 2006): 23-38
“His Truth Is Marching On: John Brown and the Fight for Racial Justice,” in Civil War History 52 (June 2006): 161-169
“Black Abolitionism: The Assault on Southern Slavery and the Struggle for Racial Equality,” in Ira Berlin and Leslie Harris eds., Slavery in New York (New York: New Press, 2005): 239-262
“Eugene D. Genovese: The Mind of a Marxist Conservative,” Radical History Review 88 (Winter 2004): 4-29
“History and Art in Ready for Revolution” in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (February 2004): 130-133
“American Slavery Ten Years Later,” Journal of American Ethnic History (Fall 2004): 105-109
“The Caning of Charles Sumner: Slavery, Race and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War,” Journal of the Early Republic Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer 2003): 233-262
“Revolution or Counterrevolution? The Political Ideology of Secession in Antebellum South Carolina,” Civil War History Vol. XLVI No. 3 (September, 2000): 205-226
“Judicial Nullification: The South Carolina Led Southern Movement to Reopen the African Slave Trade in the 1850s” in Maria Diedrich, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Carl Pedersen eds., Black Imagination and the Middle Passage (Oxford University Press, 1999) 127-143
“The Caning of Charles Sumner and the Struggle for a Non Racial Democracy in the Age of the Civil War” in Biancamaria Pisapia, Ugo Rubeo, and Anna Scacchi eds., Red Badges of Courage: Wars and Conflicts in American Culture (Bulzoni Editore, Rome, Italy, 1998) 304-314
“Louisa Susanna McCord: Spokeswoman of the Master Class in Antebellum South Carolina,” in Susan Ostrov Weisser and Jennifer Fleischner eds., Feminist Nightmares Women at Odds: Feminism and the Problem of Sisterhood (New York University Press, 1994) 62-87
Selected Awards and Accolades
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016-2107
Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in Recognition of Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Advising, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2015-2016
Exceptional Merit Award, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2013
Chancellor’s Medal and Distinguished Faculty Lecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2011
Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University, 2009-2010
Faculty Fellowship, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, 2007-2008
Elected Member, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, 2006-
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, 2004-2005
Appointed to Distinguished Lecture Series, Organization of American Historians, 2003-
Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia 1999
Rockefeller Post Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1994-95
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University, 1993-94
Mrs. Giles Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, Columbia University, 1992-93