Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Topete Cromwell
Albany State University
Website URL
Africa, African Diaspora, African American, Atlantic World, Capitalism, Digital History, Public History, Slavery, US History, US South, World Civilizations, Women’s History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

History is currently under attack in the American South. With the passage of House Bill 1084, the Georgia State Assembly has prohibited the teaching of historical events like slavery, racial oppression, discrimination, and segregation unless it is taught in a way that would make U.B. Phillips proud. All the academic awards, accolades, and prizes don’t mean much if the children in your own back yard are forbidden from learning their history.

I seek to combat these laws through my scholarship. In my most recent essay, “The Garden Nexus: Reciprocity, Redistribution, and Exchange in the 19th Century American Lowcountry,” I challenge the current discourse of “informal economies” to recognize that African American women were major contributors to the creation of American economic culture and that there was nothing informal about their control over food production and distribution. In this essay, I offer a new theoretical model for investigating primary sources which draws from the German Alltagsgeschichte micro-historians. In a shift away from the usual dialectics of black/white or urban/rural or slave/master, I argue that the nuanced economic relationships among vastly different groups of people in the American lowcountry can be identified by a reevaluation of old sources. Instead of looking at laws and statutes through a teleological lens, I attempt to uncover the way everyday people in Charleston, SC interacted within the confines of these legal precedents.

Recent Publications

“The Gendered Nature of Atlantic World Marketplaces: Female Entrepreneurs in the 19th Century American Lowcountry” in Jennifer Aston and Catherine Bishop eds., Female Entrepreneurs in the 19th Century: Towards a Global Perspective (Palgrave MacMillan’s Economic History Series, April, 2020)

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Atlantic World
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Atlantic, Caribbean, North America
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Economic History, Food History, Gender, Slavery, Women