Justin Roberts

Associate Professor


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 British Atlantic World. He is currently engaged in a major research project focused on the expansion of slavery across the early English empire in the seventeenth century. He is also continuing to research and write about slavery in the Danish West Indies, the evolution of enslaved work regimes, the plantation complex and enslaved communities. He has published on aspects of plantation slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Caribbean and in the United States. He has particular expertise in the history of slavery in Barbados and in the history of sugar plantations.


  • PhD (John Hopkins)
  • MA (John Hopkins)
  • MA (Queen's)
  • BA (Simon Fraser)

Note: Dr. Roberts is on leave 2023-25


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

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

  • "The Whip and the Hoe: Violence, Work and Productivity on Anglo-American Plantations." Journal of Global Slavery, 6.1 (January, 2021): 108-130.
  • “L'ordre de la plantation, Barbade et Jamaïque, XVIIIe siècle” in Histoire Mondiale de l’esclavage, edited by Claude Chevaleyre, Paulin Ismard, Benedetta Rossi and Cécile Vidal, 239-246. Paris: Seuil, 2021.
  • “Oriented towards the Ocean: The Colonial South,” with Noeleen McIlvenna in Reinterpreting Southern Histories, edited by Craig Thompson Friend and Lorri Glover, 43-71. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020
  • “Gold Versus Life: Jobbing Gangs and British Caribbean Slavery,” with Nicholas Radburn. William and Mary Quarterly, 76.2 (April, 2019): 223-256.
  • “Barbados.” Oxford Bibliographies Online: Atlantic History, edited by Trevor Burnard. New York: Oxford University Press, (2018).
  • “Sugar.” Oxford Bibliographies Online: Atlantic History, edited by Trevor Burnard. New York: Oxford University Press (2011, revised in 2015 and 2018).
  • “The Development of Slave Systems in the British Americas,” in The World of Colonial America: An Atlantic Handbook, edited by Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, 123-149. New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • “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.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, edited by John Butler. New York: Oxford University Press (March, 2016).
  • DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.268
  • “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.

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

Office Hours

  •    On sabbatical