Damian Pargas is Executive Director of the RIAS and Professor of History and Culture of the United States and the Americas 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."
Damian Alan Pargas studied history at Leiden University, earning his PhD cum laude in 2009. From 2009 to 2013 he was assistant professor of history and American studies at Utrecht University. He subsequently returned to Leiden, where he was appointed Professor of American History in 2017. He is the author of three books and several articles on American slavery, and has received a number of grants and fellowships, including a visiting research fellowship at the JFK Institute for North American Studies in Berlin, an NWO Veni research grant (2011-2014), and an NWO Vidi research grant (2015-2020). He is also a board member of the Netherlands American Studies Association, founder of the Leiden Slavery Studies Association, founder and chief editor of the Journal of Global Slavery, and co-editor of the book series Studies in Global Slavery.
Damian Alan Pargas, ed., Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America, 1775-1860 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018).
Jeff Fynn-Paul & Damian Alan Pargas, eds., Slaving Zones: Cultural Identities, Ideologies, and Institutions in the Evolution of Global Slavery (Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2018).
"Urban Refugees: Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Informal Freedom in the American South, 1800-1860," Journal of Early American History (Nov. 2017).
Damian Alan Pargas & Felicia Roşu, eds., Critical Readings in Global Slavery, 4 vols. (Boston and Leiden: Brill 2017).
"Slavery as a Global and Globalizing Phenomenon: An Editorial Note," Journal of Global Slavery vol. 1, nr. 1 (Apr. 2016): 1-4.
"'When I Think How Our Family is Scattered': Comparing Forced Migration among Antebellum Slave Families," in Jeffrey Forret and Christine Sears, eds., New Directions in Slavery Studies: Commodification, Community, and Comparison (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015), 239-57.
"Slave Crucibles: Interstate Migrants and Social Assimilation in the Antebellum South," Slavery & Abolition vol. 36, no. 1 (March 2015): 26-39.
Damian Alan Pargas, Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
"In the Fields of a 'Strange Land': Enslaved Newcomers and the Adjustment to Cotton Cultivation in the Antebellum South," Slavery & Abolition vol. 34, no. 4 (Dec. 2013): 564-80.
"The Gathering Storm: Slave Responses to the Threat of Interregional Migration in the Early Nineteenth Century," Journal of Early American History vol. 2, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 286-315.
"From the Cradle to the Fields: Slave Childcare and Childhood in the Antebellum South," Slavery & Abolition vol. 32, no. 4 (Dec. 2011): 477-493.
The Quarters and the Fields: Slave Families in the Non-Cotton South (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010).