Department of History and the College
Mary Hicks is a historian of the Black Atlantic, with a focus on transnational histories of race, slavery, capitalism, migration, and the making of the early modern world. Her first book, Captive Cosmopolitans: Black Mariners and the World of South Atlantic Slavery, 1721–1835 (The University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming), reimagines the history of Portuguese exploration, colonization, and oceanic commerce from the perspective of enslaved and freed Black seamen laboring in the transatlantic slave trade. More broadly, she seeks to interrogate the multiplicity of connections between West Africa and Brazil through the lens of mutual cultural, technological, commercial, intellectual, and environmental influences, and to redefine how historians understand experiences of enslavement and the Middle Passage. Her second book will detail new gendered and racialized subjectivities in the wake of Portugal’s initiation of trade with West Africa in the 15th century.
She is the winner of the Southern Historical Association’s Latin American and Caribbean Section Dissertation Prize and a recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and the Mark Claster Mamolen Fellowship at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Her work has been published in Slavery & Abolition and Journal of Global Slavery.
Hicks received her BA in history with honors from the University of Iowa, and her MA and PhD in history from the University of Virginia, where she was a recipient of the Jefferson Fellowship.