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Dr Erik Mathisen


Honorary Fellow



Erik is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States and the Atlantic World more broadly, with particular interests in the history of slavery and emancipation, the Civil War and the Reconstruction eras. He has written broadly on these topics, including a study of loyalty and citizenship entitled The Loyal Republic, which will be published in Spring 2018 with the University of North Carolina Press. He received his PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a Fellow of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. He is at work on several projects, including a global history of Reconstruction and a political and cultural history of the New Left and the American “roots music” revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s.





The Loyal Republic: Traitors, Slaves, and the Remaking of Citizenship in Civil War America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018).



“‘Know All Men By These Presents’: Bonds, Localism and Politics in Early Republican Mississippi,”
Journal of the Early Republic 33, no. 4 (2013): 727-50.

“Paradigms of Freedom: Emancipation and the ‘Second Slavery’ in the Civil War Era” (accepted by the Journal of the Civil War Era).



“Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction,” in A Companion to Reconstruction Presidents, 1865-1881, ed. Edward O. Frantz (New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), 20-41.


“‘It Looks Much Like Abandoned Land’: Property & The Politics of Loyalty in Reconstruction Mississippi,” in After Slavery: Race, Labor and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South, ed. Brian Kelly and Bruce Baker (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2013), 77-97.

“Freedpeople, Politics and the State in Civil War America,” in Reconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations, ed. Ewan Morgan and Phillip Davies (New York: Palgrave, 2013), 59-76.

“Emancipation in the Dock: African Americans and the Mississippi Courtroom During Reconstruction,” in Slavery and the Civil War, ed. Laura Sandy and Marie Malloy (in preparation).


Recent Book Reviews

Review of A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights, by Laura F. Edwards, and Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South, by Martin Ruef. Journal of American Studies (forthcoming).

Review of New Directions in Slavery Studies: Commodification, Community and Comparison, ed. Jeff Forrett and Christine E. Sears. Slavery & Abolition 38, no. 1 (2017): 210-12.

Review of Reconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South After the Civil War, by Justin Behrend. Reviews in History, no. 1924 (2016).

Review of More American than Southern: Kentucky, Slavery, and the War for an American Ideology, 1828-1861, by Gary R. Matthews. Journal of Southern History 81, no 4 (2015): 968-69.

Review of River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, by Walter Johnson. Reviews in History, no. 1496 (2013).


Popular Press


‘Robert E. Lee, George Washington and the trouble with the American pantheon,’ The Conversation, 25 August 2017.

‘Trump’s loyalty fixation recalls one of the US’s most disastrous presidencies,’ The Conversation, 28 June 2017 (Republished in Salon, 6 July 2017).

‘Myth, Reconstruction & The Free State of Jones,’ The Conversation, 26 September 2016.

Public Engagement

Media Appearances


Monocle 24.

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