photo, Clark-Pujara.

Christy Clark-Pujara

4129 Helen C. White Hall

Christy Clark-Pujara is a historian whose research focuses on the experiences of black people in French and British North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. Furthermore, an absence of a large black populace did not mean that ideas of blackness were not central to the social, political, and economic development of these places. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island  examines how the business of slavery—economic activity that was directly related to the maintenance of slave holding in the Americas, specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, From Slavery to Suffrage: Black on the Wisconsin Frontier, 1740 to 1866, will examine how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest. 

Clark-Pujara’s teaching interest focus on history of people of African descent in what would be become the United States of America, primarily the experiences of black people during slavery. Her courses explores the origins, practice, and decline of the institution of slavery in the British colonial American and later the United States, as well as, how slave holding and rise of free wage labor were utterly interdependent; and, how slave labor was central to the modern capitalist rise of the United States as an industrial power. 


  • Ph.D. 2009, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • M.A. 2003, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • B.A. 2001, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN


  • “Slavery in Rhode Island,” New England Ancestors Magazine, Holiday 08 Issue vol. 9 no. 5–6.

  • “The Business of Slavery and Anti-Slavery Sentiment: The Case of Rowland Gibson Hazard—An Antislavery ‘Negro Cloth’ Dealer," Rhode Island History 71:2 (Summer/Fall 2013)

“Slavery and the Northern Economy,” eds. Lynn Lyerly and Bethany Jay, Understanding and Teaching American Slavery (University of Wisconsin: Madison, 2016)

Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (New York: New York University Press, 2016). Dark Work