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University of Connecticut Torrington

Robert P. Forbes

Terry DiRusso

American Studiesand History
Assistant Professor

PhD., Yale University
M.Phil., Yale University
B.A., The George Washington University
Office : Torrington Campus
Phone: (860) 626-6891
Fax: (860) 626-6847

Areas of Specialty / Research Interest

The Early American Republic, Slavery and Abolition, Constitutional History and Citizenship, African Americans in the North, The Atlantic World of Slavery and Commerce

Courses Taught

HIST 243 Colonial America: Native Americans, Slaves, and Settlers, 1492-1760

Slavery, Politics, and the Roots of American Racism

The American Renaissance in Cultural Context

U.S. History: The Young Republic

The American Civil War

Travelers in the Early United States

Race in Historical Perspective

Intellectual Life in the Early United States:  Boston, New York, Charleston

History of Hawai`i

United States Intellectual History since 1865


Robert Pierce Forbes joined the faculty of UConn-Torrington in Fall 2007. He helped to direct Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition from its inception in 1998 until 2004 and has taught at Yale, Wesleyan and Rutgers. He has lectured widely on the topics of slavery, abolition, and American history, and has chaired committees on history, culture and tourism in Connecticut. He has extensive experience in outreach to K-12 educators and public historians, and served on the steering committee that created the Connecticut Department of Education's Amistad curriculum.  In 2001, he was named the Multicultural Faculty of the Year—Higher Education by the Connecticut Association of Multicultural Educators.   

Selected Publications / Exhibitions / Awards

The Missouri Crisis and its Aftermath:Slavery and the Meaning of America( University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

“'Truth Systematised’: The Changing Debate over Slavery and Abolition,” in John Stauffer and Timothy McCarthy, eds., Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (New Press, 2006).

“African American Sites in Connecticut: A Laboratory for the History of Slavery and Human Rights,” Connecticut History 44 (Fall 2005).

Co-author, "Foreword," special issue on "New Perspectives on the Transatlanic Slave Trade," William & Mary Quarterly, 58:1 (January 2001), with David Brion Davis.

Co-author, Francis Kernan, Esq.: The Life and Times of a Nineteenth-Century Politician from Upstate New York, with John D. Kernan and Karen Kernan (Utica: Oneida Historical Society, 1999).

“Slavery and the Evangelical Enlightenment,” in Mitchell Snay and John R. McKivigan, eds., Religion and the Antebellum Debate over Slavery (University of Georgia Press, 1999).

“Abolition and Antislavery: United States.” A Historical Guide to World Slavery, ed. Seymour Drescher and Stanley Engerman (Oxford University Press, 1998), 21-27.

“Eliade, Joyce, and the Terror of History,” Cross Currents 36, 2 (Summer, 1986).

Community / University Service

Connectiut Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, 2007-Present

Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005-Present

Advisory Board Member, H-New England (H-Net discussion listserv), 2005-Present

Advisory Board Member, H-Connecticut (H-Net discussion listserv), 2005-Present

Editorial Board Member, Connecticut History, 2003-Present

Editorial Board Member, Common-place, 2003-Present

Board Member, H-Slavery (H-Net discussion listserv), 1999-Present

Member, National Board of Advisors, Amistad America, Inc., 2003-Present (member Board of Trustees, 1999-2003)

Member, Advisory Board, Lincoln Prize, Lincoln and Soldiers Institute, Gettysburg College, 2002-Present

Board of Trustees, Amistad Committee, Inc., 2001-Present

Community Service Award, Clara Muhammad School, Hamden, Connecticut, October 2002

Higher Education Multicultural Faculty of the Year, Connecticut Chapter, National Association of Multicultural Educators, October 2001

Excellence Award for Education Community Leadership, Cooperative Educational Services, May 1999

Columbian College Distinguished Scholar Award, The George Washington University, June 1987.


(September 2007)