Empires & Colonialism

Historians of empire and colonialism consider how power operates across space. We treat empires as political, cultural, social, and economic institutions that shape human agency and identity. At the University of Virginia, we work across different time periods and geographic areas – from the Greek and Roman empires of the ancient world to the imperial formations of the Cold War. In our teaching and research, we examine how such empires acquire, exercise, and justify authority. We ask how they administer diverse populations, and what role these populations play in imperial rule. We study the many forms of colonial domination and resistance – but also hybridization, collaboration, and mutual influence. We track the circulation of goods, people, ideas, and practices, both within empires and across them. And, we consider the varied legacies of empire, such as the racialsocial, and religious categories they produce. The study of empire and colonialism helps to locate the local in the global, and vice versa. It highlights both the networks and the hierarchies that structure our world.


Associate Professor, Co-Director, UVA Early American Seminar at Monticello, Director, Mapscholar
431 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:30-4:30 (General); Mondays, 2:30-4:30 (Digital Projects)
Themes: Digital Humanities, Economic History & History of Capitalism, Empire & Colonialism, Environmental History, History of Slavery, Spatial History, Frontiers, & Migration
Julian Bishko Professor of History, Professor of Law
Nau 454
Office Hours: Mon. and Weds., 10:30-12:00; and by appointment
Themes: Empire & Colonialism, Legal History, Transnational and Diplomatic History
Associate Professor of French
317A Cabell Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, Labor History, Material Culture, Political History
Professor of Architectural History, Associate Dean in the School of Architecture
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, History of Slavery, Material Culture, Race & Ethnicity
Saunders Director, Robert H.Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Office Hours: N/A
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism

Graduate Student