Marcella Schute is mainly interested in the history of slavery, the slave trade and Black freedom in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. Her PhD project explores the overt and covert efforts by the state of Louisiana to reopen the transatlantic slave trade in the late 1850s. The first part of her project focuses on the direct and indirect motivations for Louisiana to reopen the foreign slave trade. By taking Louisiana as a case study and integrating the state into the wider Atlantic world, Marcella hopes to argue that the movement to reopen the transatlantic slave trade in the American South should be considered a transnational phenomenon. In the second part of her project, Marcella underscores how slaveholders in Louisiana contemplated over the issue of Black freedom. By zooming in on the African Apprentice Bill of 1858 – a covert effort to circumvent the 1808 law that prohibits the transatlantic slave trade in the United States – Marcella argues that slaveholders in Louisiana aimed to introduce a new legal status for Black laborers; one that came to exist in between the already established legal categories of slavery and freedom.

Marcella Schute received her BA in Liberal Arts & Sciences (American Studies, Political Science, and Law) from University College Roosevelt in 2019. She completed her MA in American Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2020.