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David Doddington   BA (hons), MA, PhD, FHEA, FRHistS

Dr David Doddington

BA (hons), MA, PhD, FHEA, FRHistS

Senior Lecturer in North American History

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Available for postgraduate supervision


Research interests

I am Senior Lecturer in North American History at Cardiff University and Programme Convenor for the History Department. I am the Editor (UK) for the journal American Nineteenth Century History. I received my PhD from the University of Warwick in February 2013, and before taking up post at Cardiff in 2014, I held teaching and research positions at the University of Warwick, the University of Leicester, and the University of York. 

My research interests centre on slavery, race, age, and gender in the antebellum South, with a particular interest in examining resistance and solidarity within slave communities. I have published in journals such as Gender & History, Slavery & AbolitionJournal of Global Slavery, Journal of Southern History, and in edited collections, including Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie Harris (Eds.) Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas (Athens: Univeristy of Georgia Press, 2018). My first monograph, Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018, and my second, Old Age and American Slavery was published by Cambridge University Press in November 2023 (UK) and January 2024 (US). Alongside Professor Enrico Dal Lago (NUI Galway), I was the editor for Writing the History of Slavery, which was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2022. This was (generously!) described by Professor Orlando Patterson as “the best collection of studies on the historiography, methodologies and theoretical approaches to the comparative and transnational histories of slavery.”

My work has been generously supported with research fellowships awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, the British Association of American Studies (BAAS), the Eccles Centre at the British Library, British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH), Welsh Crucible, and the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Middelburg.

I have broader interests in the history of U.S. expansion during the nineteenth century, noting the conflict and violence that marked such expansion, as well as wider issues associated with migration, movement, and colonisation. I welcome enquiries over teaching and supervision on slavery, gender, and race in American history.








  • Doddington, D. 2019. Slavery and the family. In: Burnard, T. ed. Oxford Bibliographies in Atlantic History. Oxford: Oxford University Press









Book sections




Research projects

Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South (New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

This monograph demonstrates that masculine identity was a site of contest and comparison within slave communities of the antebellum South. In exploring how enslaved people negotiated identities in relation to one another, and not simply with white society in mind, I help to demonstrate the fluidity of gender as a social and cultural construct and the limitations to any monolithic model of black solidarity.

Writing the History of Slavery (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022)

Exploring the major historiographical, theoretical, and methodological approaches that have shaped studies on slavery, this addition to the Writing History series highlights the varied ways that historians have approached the fluid and complex systems of human bondage, domination, and exploitation that have developed in societies across the world. The first part examines more recent attempts to place slavery in a global context, touching on contexts such as religion, empire, and capitalism.

In its second part, the book looks closely at the key themes and methods that emerge as historians reckon with the dynamics of historical slavery. These range from politics, economics and quantitative analyses, to race and gender, to pyschohistory, history from below, and many more. Throughout, examples of slavery and its impact are considered across time and place: in Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, colonial Asia, Africa, and the Americas, and trades throughout the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Also taken into account are thinkers from Antiquity to the 20th century and the impact their ideas have had on the subject and the debates that follow.

This book is essential reading for students and scholars at all levels who are interested in not only the history of slavery but in how that history has come to be written and how its debates have been framed across civilizations.

Old Age and American Slavery (New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Old Age and American Slavery reveals how antebellum southerners, Black and white, adapted to, resisted, or failed to overcome changes associated with old age, both real and imagined. Slavery was a system of economic exploitation and a contested site of personal domination: both elements of this were affected by concerns with age. In examining how individuals, families, and communities felt about the aging process, and dealt with elders, I emphasize the complex social relations that developed in a slave society. In connecting old age to the arguments of Black activists, abolitionists, enslavers and their propagandists, I reveal how representations of old age, and experiences of aging, spoke to wider struggles relating to mastery, paternalism, resistance, and survival in slavery. The book asks us to rethink long-standing narratives relating to networks of solidarity in the American South and it illuminates the violent and exploitative nature of American slavery.


Future Projects


Oxford Handbook of the Histories of Age and Aging (edited with Tracey Loughran)

‘Age’ is a capacious category. All societies, in all times and places, have employed classifications based on age. At the same time, age has different resonances in different political, legal, social, religious, and cultural contexts. It is lived differently depending not only on time and place, but on the body that ages: how it is sexed, gendered, and raced, and what capacities it holds. Scholars across different disciplines make use of formal and informal concepts of age, and these practices have also infiltrated the inherently interdisciplinary approach of history.

We propose to negotiate the wide-ranging status of age through the structure of the handbook and specific principles guiding the selection of contributors and the approach of each chapter. The handbook will be divided into sections on ‘life stages’, ‘times and places’, ‘identity and intersectionality’, and ‘perspectives and methods’, each with a separate introduction that draws out specific themes. The first section establishes age as a relational category, the second demonstrates that it is context-specific, the third addresses how age intersects with, connects to, and sometimes supersedes alternative identities, and the fourth provides methodological overviews. Contributors will be specialists in different regions and time periods, ensuring that the book is global in scope. Chapters in each section can include substantive case studies from the contributors’ specialist areas but must make comparisons in global context to maintain awareness of the relational and context-specific status of age. All chapters must consider how ‘race’, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, and relationships of power affect the representations and experiences of age under discussion. We will encourage authors to engage with a range of source materials including visual and material culture.


Mixed Martial Arts: Gender, Power, and American Identity

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the most popular sports across the globe, but also one of the most controversial. Since its contested “birth” as a sanctioned sport in the US during the 1990s, critics have excoriated both its violence – assumed and real – but also the relative frequency with which practitioners, promoters, and fans have supported extremist political viewpoints. These have frequently related to visions of manhood predicated on strength and dominance and been tied to political movements associated with “strongmen,” with exclusionary rhetoric and a focus on authority by force. The ever-growing popularity of MMA, alongside its controversial nature, provides an ideal focus for an interdisciplinary study that reveals insights into US and UK society. The project will explore the history of MMA and its connections to social and cultural tensions in the Atlantic world from 1970 to 2022, with focus on age, class, gender, and race.


My teaching at Cardiff includes:

  • Year 1: Making of the Modern World.
  • Year 1: History in Practice.
  • Year 1: Global Histories.
  • Year 1: Projecting the Past.
  • Year 2: Reading History.
  • Year 2: Making History.
  • Year 2: Debating History.
  • Year 2: America: From Revolution to Reconstruction
  • Year 3: Dissertation.
  • Year 3: Slavery and Enslaved Life in the United States, 1775-1865.
  • PGT: Skills in Historical Research.
  • PGT: Trends in Historical Research.
  • PGT: Atlantic Worlds.
  • PGT: Dissertation.

I am supervising PhD students on the following topics:

  • Co-supervisor (50%) for Elizabeth Maeve Barnes, 'Rape, Power, and Race: Black Women’s Responses to Sexual Violence in the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction US South.’  COMPLETED
  • Co-supervisor (50%) for Erin Shearer, 'Women of Violence: Challenging Perceptions of Enslaved Women’s Resistance in the Antebellum United States, 1815-1861.' COMPLETED
  • Co-supervisor (50%) for Pamela Price, 'Who holds the book? The Rise of the Eighteenth-Century Child and the Contemporary Young Adult Reader.' COMPLETED

I welcome enquiries for supervision in topics relating to slavery, gender, and race in American history.

Teaching outreach and engagement:

  • Outreach and engagement with ECR and PhD students. Includes invitation to deliver PhD “Masterclass” on Slavery in the Americas, Leiden University. Organized by the N.W. Posthumus Institute, Research School for Economic and Social History in the Netherlands and Flanders. Presentations at ECR events for BrANCH, BGEAH, and BAAS; publication for BAAS online relating to job applications.
  • Outreach and engagement with schools and community organizations. Includes publications targeted at secondary school-level students, namely AQA A-Level History Textbook, The Making of a Superpower: USA, 1865-1975, Modern History Review. Providing workshops at secondary schools in Cardiff, Kent, Coventry, Malvern, Monmouth. Delivering public lecture at National Trust property, Tredegar House, Newport.


Career overview

2019- – Senior Lecturer in North American History, Cardiff University.

2014-2019 – Lecturer in North American History, Cardiff University.

2013-2014 – Lecturer in U.S. History (fixed term), the University of York.

2012-2013 – Lecturer in U.S. History (fixed term), the University of Leicester.

2012-2013 – Early Career Fellow, the Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Warwick.

2009 – 2013 – Seminar Tutor, the University of Warwick.


Education and qualifications

2009-2013 – PhD in History, the University of Warwick.

2008-2009 – MA in the History of Race in the Americas, the University of Warwick.

2005-2008 – BA (Hons), First Class, History, the University of Warwick.

Honours and awards

Honours and Awards (select)

  • 2024 - British Association for American Studies, Honourable mention for Best Book Award, Old Age and American Slavery.
  • 2023 and 2024 - Nominated for Cardiff University, Celebrating Excellence: Excellence in Leadership
  • 2023 – Nominated for Enriching Student Life Awards: Personal Tutor of the Year.
  • 2021 and 2022 – Nominated for Enriching Student Life Awards: Most Uplifting Staff Member.
  • 2020 – Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • 2018/19 – Fellowship, Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Middelburg University.
  • 2018/19 – Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Old Age and American Slavery – £50,148.
  • 2018/19 – BAAS Founders’ Award, “The Inexorable Hand of Time”: Age and Power in American Slavery.
  • 2018/19 – AHRC/BBC 3 New Generation Thinkers Finalist/Workshop Stage.
  • 2017 – Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.


Professional memberships

  • British Association for American Studies (BAAS).
  • The Association of British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH).
  • The Southern Historical Association (SHA).
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Speaking engagements

Select speaking engagements:

2024 - 'Publishing in American Studies'. Invited roundtable, British Association for American Studies annual conference.

2023  'Old age, power, and identity'. Invited keynote to introduce the new interdisciplinary MA offered at Essex University, 'History, Power, and Identity'.

2023 – 'Teaching histories of slavery and gender in UK Universities: Roundtable plenary', British American Nineteenth Century Historians annual conference. Opening plenary.

2023 'Age, gender, and power in American Slavery', invited speaker at Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars at Bloomington University, Indiana (US) on Global Slaveries.

(Covid + 2 kids...)

2019 – ‘The summer of my life was passing away’: Age, Masculinity, and Resistance in the US Slave South’. Invited speaker, Historicising Masculinities Conference, Newcastle University.

2019 – ‘Violence and Honour in Slave Communities of the US South’. Invited speaker, Slavery and Honour in the Ancient Greek World, University of Edinburgh.

2018 – ‘Age, Identity, Selfhood and Slavery’. Invited speaker, Gender, Body, & Selfhood, University of Essex.

2017 – ‘Age, Identity, and Solidarity in American Slave Communities’. Invited speaker, Beyond the Slave Community and Resistance Paradigms: Alternative Approaches to the Social Lives of Bondpeople in the Atlantic World, Leiden University.

Committees and reviewing

  • Member of Senate, Cardiff University
  • Athena Swan Committee (2022-23), SHARE, Cardiff University.
  • Editor (UK) for American Nineteenth Century History.
  • Committee member for British American Nineteenth Century History.
  • Awards committee for Peter Parish Dissertation Prize, British American Nineteenth Century History.
  • Advisory Board for the Routledge Online Encyclopaedia of Race and Racism.
  • Advisory Board, Journal of Global Slavery.
  • External assessor for ECR fellowship Applications to Cambridge University Colleges: Churchill, Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards, Robinson, Trinity Hall.
  • Assessor and moderator for AHRC DTP Scheme.
  • Awards committee for BAAS student prize.
  • Solicited book reviews, peer reviews, and endorsements of book and article manuscripts, including (but not limited to): American Historical Review, Family History, Journal of the Civil War Era, Black Perspectives, Slavery & Abolition, Journal of Southern History, William & Mary Quarterly, Nineteenth Century American History, Gender & History, Journal of Global Slavery, Journal of the Early Republic, Reviews in History, Journal of Social History, Social Sciences, Oxford University Press, Louisiana State University Press, University of North Carolina Press, De Gruyter.


I welcome enquiries over teaching and supervision on slavery, gender, age, and race in American history.

Current supervision

Myya Helm

Myya Helm

Research student

Past projects

Erin Shearer (PhD): Women of Violence: Challenging Perceptions of Enslaved Women's Resistance in the United States, 1808-1861. Awarded 2023.

Pamela Price (PhD): Slavery, Literacy, and Power, and When We Were Nobody. Awarded 2022.

Elizabeth Maeve Barnes (PhD): 'Rape, Power, and Race: Black Women’s Responses to Sexual Violence in the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction US South.’ Awarded 2020.