Allison Madar joined the Department of History at UO in 2018. Before that, she taught at California State University, Chico and spent one year as the book review editor of the American Historical Review.
Her research focuses on the history of early America and the early modern Atlantic world with a focus on unfreedom and the law. Madar’s book-in-progress examines the legal and social dynamics of servitude and the ways in which masters used the widespread establishment of permanent, racial slavery as a way to exploit those who remained temporarily bound. Drawing on research in county court records, servant and slave law, parliamentary legislation, servant contracts, family papers, newspapers, wills, and inventories, Madar argues that, in many significant ways, the legal structures colonists designed to control slaves enhanced masters’ power over servants, most notably, over women and mixed-race servants. Despite the significant differences between the two institutions and the people bound to serve within them, a more explicit legal and structural parallel exists between these systems of labor than has been previously understood.
Madar is the author of “‘An Innate Love of Cruelty’: Master Violence against Female Servants in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” in Order and Civility in the Early Modern Chesapeake and a History Compass essay titled “Servitude in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic: Old Paradigms, New Directions.” Her work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation.