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Jane Landers

Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History

Jane Landers is an historian of Colonial Latin America and the Atlantic World specializing in the history of Africans and their descendants in those worlds. She is the author of Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions (Cambridge, Mass., 2010) which was awarded the Rembert Patrick Book Award and honorary mention for the Conference on Latin American History’s 2011 Bolton Johnson Prize. Her first monograph Black Society in Spanish Florida (Urbana, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005) was awarded the Frances B. Simkins Prize for Distinguished First Book in Southern History and was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Landers co-authored the college textbook, The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888 (Harlan Davidson, 2007) and edited Slavery and Abolition in the Atlantic World: New Sources and New Findings (Oxfordshire, England, 2017), Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida (Gainesville, 2000, 2001) and Against the Odds: Free Blacks in the Slave Societies of the Americas (London, 1996). She also co-edited Slaves, Subjects and Subversives: Blacks in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque, 2006), and The African American Heritage of Florida (Gainesville, 1995) which won the Rembert Patrick Book Award and a commendation from the American Society for State and Local History. Landers' 2015 Nathan I. Huggins Lectures “A View from the Other Side: The Saint Domingue Revolution through Spanish Sources,” delivered at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University, will be her next publication. Link to first lecture here. Link to second lecture here. Link to third lecture here. She has published essays in The American Historical Review, Slavery and Abolition, The New West Indian Guide, The Americas, Colonial Latin American Historical Review, The Journal of African American History and a variety of anthologies and edited volumes.

Landers was awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the American Council for Learned Societies for another project in progress, "African Kingdoms, Black Republics and Free Black Towns across the Iberian Atlantic." Her research has also been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Conference on Latin American History, Vanderbilt University, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute, and the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States’ Universities.

Landers is past-president of the Conference on Latin American History, past-president of the Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction and the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Association and an Associate of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, York University. She serves on the editorial boards for several historical journals, including Slavery & Abolition, Colonial Latin American Historical Review, Oxford Bibliography On-line: Atlantic World and History Compass. She has also consulted on a variety of archaeological projects, documentary films, web sites, and museum exhibits related to the African Diaspora including Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black town in what is today the United States.

Landers directs the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies Digital Archive (ESSSS) hosted by the Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt which is preserving endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to slavery in the Americas. With grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, the British Library Endangered Archives Programme, the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute and the Diocese of St. Augustine, and with the help of her graduate students, Landers and her international teams have preserved records in Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Florida, and Cape Verde, the oldest dating from the 16th century.

Courses taught:


Rise of the Iberian Atlantic Empires
Decline of the Iberian Atlantic Empires
Africans in the Americas
Comparative Slavery
Destruction of the Indies
Pirates of the Caribbean

Graduate Seminars

Atlantic World History
Readings in Colonial Latin American History
Comparative Slavery
Latin American Studies Interdisciplinary Research