Dr Natalie Zacek

Senior Lecturer

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Research interests

Recent and current research projects:

In autumn 2010 Cambridge University Press published my monograph, Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776. This book, which won the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize, is a study of the formation of white settler societies in the British West Indian colony of the Leeward Islands, comprising Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts, in the century from their foundation as an English colony to the outbreak of the American Revolution and onset of their subsequent socioeconomic decline. It is based upon extensive archival research in the United States,Britain, and the Caribbean, and examines such topics as norms of gender and sexuality, competing religious practices, relations between white ethnic communities, and the formation of a political culture which was simultaneously imperially British and locally West Indian.

While on research leave autumn 2007, I was a visiting research scholar at Johns Hopkins University and a Mellon Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society, and began work on a new project, provisionally entitled A Kingdom For a Horse: A Cultural History of Horse Racing in Nineteenth-Century America. This examination of thoroughbred horse-racing in the United States from the late eighteenth through the end of the nineteenth century focusses on the ways in which a variety of local, regional, and national elites employed the breeding, ownership, and racing of blooded horses in order to uphold these groups’ social, cultural, and political hegemony.  My subsequent project will be a study of the role played by West Indian absentee planters in the cultural and spatial development of later Georgian London.

In May 2017 I co-organised a day-long seminar on "Spectacle and Spectatorship in American Culture" (http://events.manchester.ac.uk/event/event:c3-j2dg8ief-5ng1st/spectacles-and-spectatorship-an-american-studies-symposium), and edited a special issue of the European Journal of American Studies on this topic, which included my article on "The Spectators and Spectacle of Horse-Racing in Nineteenth-Century America." 

In August 2008 I, along with Ben Vinson III of Johns Hopkins University and Stewart King of Mount Angel Seminary, was awarded $200,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, to develop and lead a summer research institute entitled "Soldiers, Slaves, and Rebels: Currents of Black Resistance in the Tropical Atlantic, c. 1760-1880." This five-week summer school ran from 6 July to 7 August 2009 at Johns Hopkins University, and brought together twenty-five oustanding junior scholars and fourteen leading authorities on race, slavery, and the African diaspora in the Americas. The NEH re-funded the project for summer 2011; the project is described here: http://krieger.jhu.edu/sebin/q/d/NEH.pdf


Research and projects