Justin Roberts

Associate Professor

J Roberts webpic California Fall 2015

Related information

Email: justin.roberts@dal.ca
Phone: 902-403-2729
Fax: 902-494-3349
Mailing Address: 
Room 1169, Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Ave
PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Early modern Atlantic World history
  • History of the Caribbean
  • History of slavery
  • Dr. Roberts specializes in the study of slavery in the Americas and in the early modern Atlantic World more broadly. He is currently engaged in a major research project focused on several issues relating to the expansion of the early English Atlantic, including the development of slavery and the plantation complex and seventeenth-century ideas about population management, migration and social control. He is also doing research on the early Dutch Atlantic and on slavery in the Danish West Indies. He teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate students in a wide range of areas, including slavery, the Caribbean, the British Atlantic World, The American Revolution, the early modern Dutch empire and the history of early modern medicine and the body.


  • BA (Simon Fraser)
  • MA (Queen’s)
  • PhD (Johns Hopkins)


  • Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic:  1750-1807.  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Selected publications

  • “Oriented towards the Ocean: The Colonial South,” with Noleen Mcllvana in Craig Thompson Friend and Lorri Glover, eds., Reinterpreting Southern Histories. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020, pages forthcoming.
  • “Co-authoring Atlantic History in the Digital Age,” with Nicholas Radburn, Uncommon Sense-The Blog, (July, 2019):  https://blog.oieahc.wm.edu/co-authoring-atlantic-history-in-the-digital-age/
  • “‘Gold Versus Life’: Jobbing Gangs and British Caribbean Slavery,” with Nicholas Radburn, William and Mary Quarterly, 76.2 (April, 2019): 223-256.
  • “Sugar Slavery in Barbados and Jamaica,” in Claude Chevaleyre, Paulin Ismard, Bendetta Rossi and Cécile Vidal, eds., Histoire mondiale de l’esclavage. Paris: Seuil, 2020, pages forthcoming.
  • “Barbados,” in Trevor Burnard, ed., Oxford Bibliographies Online: Atlantic History. New York: Oxford University Press, (2018). www.oxfordbibliographiesonline.com.
  • “The Development of Slave Systems in the British Americas,” in Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, ed., The World of Colonial America: An Atlantic Handbook, New York: Routledge, 2017: 123-149.
  • "Familiar Sources and Forgotten Colonies," Uncommon Sense- The Blog, (May, 2016):  http://blog.oieach.wm.edu/familiar-sources-forgotten-colonies/
  • "Surrendering Surinam:  The Barbadian Diaspora and the Expansion of the English Sugar Frontier, 1650-1675," William and Mary Quarterly, 73.2 (April, 2016), 225-256.
  • "Race and the Origins of Plantation Slavery," in John Butler, ed., Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. New York:  Oxford University Press (March, 2016).  www.americanhistory.oxfordre.com
  • "Sugar," in Trevor Burnard et al, eds., Oxford Bibliographies Online:  Atlantic History.  New York:  Oxford University Press (2011, Revised in 2015 and 2018).
  • "The Better Sort' and The Poorer Sort':  Wealth Inequalities, Family Formation and the Economy of Energy on British Caribbean Sugar Plantations, 1750-1800," Slavery & Abolition, 35.3 (September, 2014):  458-473.
  • "Slavery in Danish America," in Trevor Burnard et al, eds., Oxford Bibliographies Online Atlantic History.  New York:  Oxford University (2013).
  • "The Application of GIS to the Reconstruction of the Slave-Plantation Economy of St. Croix, Danish West Indies" with Daniel Hopkins and Philip Morgan, Historical Geography 39 (2011):  85-104.
  • "Venturing Out:  The Barbadian Diaspora and the Carolina Colony, 1650-1685," with Ian Beamish, in Brad Wood and Michelle LeMaster, eds., Creating and Contesting Carolina:  Proprietory Era Histories.  Charleston:  University of South Carolina Press, 2013:  49-72.
  • "Uncertain Business:  A Case Study of Barbadian Plantation Management, 1770-1793," Slavery & Abolition, 32.2 (2011):  247-268.
  • "Working Between the Lines:  Labor and Agriculture on Two Barbadian Sugar Plantations, 1796-1797." William and Mary Quaterly, 63.3 (2006):  551-586.       


Awards and honours

  • North American Conference on British Studies Short-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library
  • Barra International Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Ambassador to Halifax, Awarded by Destination Halifax
  • Research Development Fund for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Dalhousie Faculty Research Grant
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Huntington Library
  • Gilder Lehrman Fellowship at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
  • National Society of the Colonial Dames of America Scholarship
  • Center for New World Comparative Studies Fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library
  • Gilder-Lehrman Fellowship at the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library
  • Betty Sams Christian Fellowship in Business History at the Virginia Historical Society
  • Program in Early American Economy and Society Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship
  • American Historical Association's Albert J. Beveridge Grant


Teaching 2019-2020

HIST 1510F

Comparative Global History
Mondays 17:35-20:25

HIST 2006F The Atlantic World,  1450-1650-1800:  European Colonization of the Americas Mondays and Wednesdays 16:05-17:25


HIST 4370W


The American Revolution Mondays 1135-14:25


Office Hours Winter Term 2020:

  •   Mondays:  3:15-5:15 
  •    or by appointment