Damian Pargas is Executive Director of the RIAS and Professor of the History and Culture of North America at Leiden University.
Damian Alan Pargas’ research focuses mainly on the history of slavery in the American South. He is especially interested in comparative perspectives on slave life, including internal comparisons within America itself. His first book, The Quarters and the Fields: Slave Families in the Non-Cotton South (University Press of Florida, 2010), compared and contrasted slave family life in three distinct regions of the American South. His second monograph, Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the experiences of interstate, local, and urban slave migrants from a comparative perspective. At present he is working on a comparative study of fugitive slaves in North America between 1775 and 1860, including fugitive slaves who left the South altogether (to the North, Canada, and Mexico) as well as runaways who remained within the slave states (illegally passing for free in southern cities, or remaining hidden by other slaves). For this project he recently received an NWO Vidi grant, titled “Beacons of Freedom: Slave Refugees in North America, 1800-1860.”