Rebecca Goetz

Associate Professor of History

B.A. 2000, History (with honors) and German, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. M.A. (2002), Harvard University, Ph.D. (2006) Harvard University

Field of Study: 

Atlantic World

Research Interests: 

Histories of Religion, race, and Slavery, Colonialism and Empire in the Atlantic World, and Indigenous North America.

Research Description:

Her current work, a manuscript tentatively titled "Indian Enslavement in the English Atlantic World, 1500-1700" examines English enslavement of Indians in the first two centuries after contact. Focusing on the Caribbean, the manuscript argues that Indian enslavement by the English was widespread but concealed behind a liberationist ideology and the mythology of the Black Legend. Indian slavery was nevertheless critical to England's colonial goals, and was the foundation on which English imperialism in the Americas rested. The practice of Indian enslavement bound the continent and its islands together. Enslavement was a constant, and a constant risk; it could affect native peoples in any place.


Professor Goetz received her PhD in 2006 from Harvard University. A historian of early North America, she specializes in the history of race and slavery. She also has broad interests in the history of the Atlantic World and in comparative colonialisms in North America and the Caribbean. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on many aspects of early American history. Her first book, The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race, was published in August 2012 by The Johns Hopkins University Press." Professor Goetz is a crazy cat lady and despite living in NYC, remains a rabid Red Sox fan.

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Updated on 12/09/2013