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Jane Landers

Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History
Director, Slave Societies Digital Archive

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. 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.

Her research has been supported by grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, 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 has been a member of UNESCO’s International Scientific Committee for the Routes of Enslaved Peoples since 2015. She is past-president of the Conference on Latin American History, the Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction, and the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Association and has just joined the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture Council. She serves on the editorial boards for several historical journals, including Slavery & Abolition, Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World, Esclavages & post-esclavages and PerspectivasAfro. She has 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, better known as Fort Mose, the first free black town in what is today the United States.

Landers directs the Slave Societies Digital Archive hosted by the Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt which is preserving endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to slavery in the Atlantic World. 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, Spanish Florida, and Cape Verde, the oldest dating from the 16th century. She also directs the Black Atlantic Speakers Series supported by the History Department, the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and LatinX Studies, the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies, and the Robert Penn Warren Center.

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