David Jamison

David Jamison

Visiting Assistant Professor

227 Johnston Hall


  • Ph.D., African Diaspora History, 2014. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 
  • M.A., History, 2009. California State University at Los Angeles 
  • B.A., English, 1993. University of California at Los Angeles 

Recent Courses Taught

  • BWS 151 “Introduction to Black World Studies”
  • BWS 156 “Introduction to Africa”
  • IDS 159 “Strength through Cultural Diversity”

Research Interests/Experience

In my work I explore resistance as the methods and tactics marginalized peoples use to navigate social systems that seek to control them. During the slave era, although there certainly were slaves who sided either with the colonial slave complex or with rebel movements, the majority of slaves were less motivated by ideals of freedom and more by the desire to safeguard the health and well-being of their families. The first stage of my research sought to understand whether this process changed between two major slave rebellions in Guyana: the 1763 Berbice Rebellion and the 1823 Demerara rebellion. Between those two revolts, many scholars have argued that Toussaint L’Ouverture’s 1791 Haitian Revolution shifted the rhetoric that black people in the New World were using to acquire social freedoms. In the 19th Century, blacks had begun to use Western legal rhetoric as well as Western political philosophy, most especially the “natural rights of man” philosophy coming out of France and England. But what is so often left out of the history of New World black resistance is how cannily slaves utilized the identity categories others put them into in order to protect themselves and their families. Rather than New World blacks finding a new justification for their freedom, they just learned to use Western notions of reason and the morality of the law against itself in arguments about chattel slavery.

Selected Publications

Book Review: Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic by Wendy Wilson-Fall International Journal of African Historical Studies Vol. 49, no. 2 (2016), 292

David Jamison “Guyana” The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Sciences Perspectives (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2017), 763

David Jamison “Steps Into the Organic Unknown: How Eighteenth-Century Dutch Slaves Turned a Foreboding Amazon Jungle into a Welcome Refuge” Wadabagei: The Journal for Scholars, Students, Community Leaders and Sustainable Developers Vol. 17 (2016)

David Jamison “New World Slavery and the Natural Rights Debate” Journal of Caribbean History Vol. 49, no. 2 (Dec. 2015)

David Jamison “Continental Divide: Money, Power, and Corporate Politics in the Field of African Studies in America 1957 – 1969” Perspectives: A Journal of Historical Inquiry Vol. 34 (2007 – 2008) pp. 59 - 74


Learning Committee of the Miami Middletown Center for Teaching and Learning