Jon Wells

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Jon Wells

Director, Residential College; Professor, RC Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program; Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies; Professor History

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Department of Afroamerican and African Studies
    • Residential College
  • About


    University of Michigan, Ph.D., American History, 1998

    University of Michigan, M.A., American History, 1995

    University of Florida, M.A., American History, 1993

    Publications and Related Activities

    Books (published):

    (author) Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South Cambridge University Press (2011) [Honorable Mention, Spruill Prize, Southern Association of Women Historians, 2012]

    (author) A House Divided: The Civil War and Nineteenth-Century America Routledge (2011) (second edition forthcoming in Fall 2016)

    (co-editor) The Southern Middle Class in the Long Nineteenth Century LSU Press (2011) 

    (co-editor)  Entering the Fray: Gender, Culture, and Politics in the New South University of Missouri Press (2010)

    (editor) Slavery and the New World Pickering & Chatto Publishers,  London (2009)

    (editor) The Southern Literary Messenger, University of South   Carolina Press (2007)

    (author) The Origins of the Southern Middle Class, 1800-1861, University of North Carolina Press (2004)

    (co-editor) The Literary and Historical Index to American Magazines, Praeger (2004)

    Books (in progress):

    (author) The New York Kidnapping Club: Slavery and Freedom in America’s Metropolis

    (editor) The Routledge Handbook on Nineteenth-Century America

    Selected Essays, Articles, and Reviews:

    “Charles Dickens, the American South, and the Transatlantic Debate over Slavery,” Slavery & Abolition 35 (May 2014)

    “Writers, Editors, and Intellectual Exchange between the Antebellum North and South,” Alabama Review 67 (January 2014)

    Professionalization and the Southern Middle Class,” essay/chapter in, Louis M. Kyriakoudes, ed., The Transformation of Southern Society (University of Missouri Press, 2011)

    “Class and Slavery,” 35-page essay in Mark M. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook on Slavery  (Oxford University Press, 2010)

    “A Voice in the Nation: Women and Journalism in the Antebellum South,” American Nineteenth-Century History (June 2008)

    “The Southern Middle Class,” invitation-only, state-of-the-field essay for the 75th anniversary issue of the Journal of Southern History (August 2009)

    “The Transformation of John Pendleton Kennedy: Maryland, the Republican Party, and the Civil War,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 95 (Fall 2000): 290-307

    Book manuscripts reviewed for Cambridge University Press, LSU Press, University of Kentucky Press, University of Illinois Press, University of Georgia Press, University of South Carolina Press, and others. Article manuscripts reviewed for The Journal of the Early Republic, Civil War History, Journal of Southern History, and The Journal of the Civil War Era.

    Book reviews published in Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Civil War History, Journal of Southern History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, American Nineteenth-Century History, Southern Spaces, New Left History, Journal of the Civil War Era, H-SOUTH, H-SAWH, North Carolina Historical Review, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, and others

    Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

    Julia Spruill Book Prize, Honorable Mention, Southern Association for Women Historians 2012, for Women Writers and Journalists

    American Antiquarian Society, Visiting Scholar, 2011

    The Virginia Historical Society, Research Grant. 2008-2009

    Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society 2008

    Gilder Lehrman Institute Fellowship 2003

    Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, American Historical Association

    Archie K. Davis Research Grant, North Caroliniana Society

    Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan 1996-1998

    Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Michigan 1996

    Selected Conferences and Invited Lectures

    "Blind No More: Self-Emancipation, Northern Politics, and the Sectional Crisis," University of Hawaii, February 2015

    "The Literary Culture of the Nineteenth-Century South," Southern Intellectual History Circle, South Carolina, February 2015

    "The Arc of Injustice: Class and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South," Organization of American Historians, St. Lous, April 2015

    “Charles Dickens, Race, and the American South,” Southern Intellectual History Circle, 2013

    “Class and the Coming of the Civil War,” British American Nineteenth-Century Association,” 2013

    Commentator, “Edward Pessen’s Riches, Class, and Power: A Retrospective,” Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 2013

    Chair, “Abolition and the Civil War,” Pennsylvania Historical Association Meeting, 2013

    Commentator, “Entrepreneurial and Business Networks Between South and North,” Southern Historical Association, 2012

    Commentator, “Compromise and Crisis in the Politics of the 1850s,” Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 2012 

    Commentator, “Sectional Identity in the Civil War,” Society of Civil War Historians, 2012

    Commentator, “The American Civil War in Global Perspective,” Business History Conference, 2012

    Program Chair, Southern Industrialization Project Annual Meeting, 2011

    “’Our Dearest Rights and Liberties:’ The Fugitive Slave Law and the Coming of the Civil War,” SHEAR, 2011|

    Commentator, “Race and Immigration in the New South,” After Slavery Conference, 2010

    Chair and Commentator, “Gender and Sectional Identity,” Southern Association for Women Historians, 2009

    “Gender and Journalism in the Nineteenth-Century South,” Symposium of the 19th-century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression, 2008

    “Reconstructing the Southern Middle Class: Commercial and Professional Southerners after the Civil War,” American Historical Association, 2007

    Chair, “The Politics of Domestic Spaces: Gender, Class, and Race in the 19th-century South,” Southern Association for Women Historians, 2006 

    “The Southern Middle Class in the Nineteenth Century,” invited lecture, St. George Tucker Society, 2006

    “The Transformation of the South, 1800-1865,” Southern Historical Association, 2005

    Commentator, “Women and Class in the Old South,” Southern Association of Women Historians Meeting, Richmond, VA, 2000

    “The Cultural Origins of the Southern Middle Class,” invited lecture, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1998

    “Reason and Passion: The Intellectual Culture of the Old South,” Southern Historical Association Conference, 1997

    “The Belle as Breadwinner: Women Editors in the Old South” Southern Association of Women Historians Meeting, 1997

    “Rethinking Gender in the Old South: Women and Southern Literary Magazines,” SHEAR, 1996

    Professional Service

    Co-editor, Journal of the Early Republic, 2012-2014

    Co-editor, Book Review Section, Journal of the Early Republic,  2010-2011

    Avery O. Craven Award Committee, Organization of American  Historians, 2014-5

    Board of Editors, Southern Historian, 2013-

    Prize Committee, Bennett H. Wall Prize, SHA, 2013-4

    Program Chair, Meeting of the Southern Industrial Project, Summer 2011

    Best Article Prize Committee, SAWH, 2009

    Founder and Director, Center for the Study of the New South, UNC Charlotte

    Academic Appointments

    University of Michigan, Professor, 2014-

    Temple University, Professor, 2012-2014

    Temple University, Associate Professor, 2009-2012

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of the New South, 2007-2009

    Teaching Experience (Selected Courses Taught)

    American History 1600-1865
    American History 1865-Present
    World Civilization I
    World Civilization II
    Antebellum Culture and History
    American History through Fiction
    The Novel in American History
    The Old South
    The American Civil War
    North Carolina History
    Jacksonian America
    English Composition
    Freshmen Seminar
    College Academic Skills
    Radicals and Dissenters in the South
    Race and the Law in the New South
    US History Colloquium (graduate level)
    US History Seminar (graduate level)
    Social and Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century America (graduate level)

    Professional Affiliations

    American Historical Association
    Organization of American Historians
    Southern Historical Association
    Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
    British Association for American Nineteenth-Century History