Dr Tom Buchanan

Dr Tom Buchanan
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit History
 Email thomas.buchanan@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 4682
 Location Floor/Room 5 18 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Tom Buchanan's academic training began at Oberlin College in Ohio where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and an honours degree in history. Later he received his Masters and Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After doing postdoctoral work at the University of Memphis, he taught as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He has been teaching at the University of Adelaide since 2005.

  • Teaching Interests

    Tom's teaching interests are broad as he is interested in understanding the effects of large scale historical change, represented in the growth of capitalism, and their impact of systems of labour. His interests balance elite perspectives with consideration of how ordinary people have negotiated systems of power.

    He coordinates and lecturers in the first year course "Empires in World History" and upper level courses titled "Modern America: From the Civlil War to Iraq", and "Human Trafficking: Atlantic Trade to Contemporary". His course "New York City in Revolution: Reacting to the Past", is distinctive for its small-class orientation, and role-playing pedagogy. Check out the promotional video "Reacting to the Past--The University of Adelaide" to learn more. He presented a paper based on this course, "Blending Reacting to the Past," as an invited speaker to the Blended Learning Summit in Sydney in 2014. At the honours level he teaches "Capitalism Takes Command" on the development of nineteenth-century American capitalism. He was named a "Legendary Lecturer" by the students at the University of Adelaide in 2014.

    He is available to supervise honours and Ph.D theses in social and cultural history in a variety of historical settings.

  • Research Interests

    Tom is a scholar of nineteenth-century America with a focus on the history of enslaved people. He is interested in labour, race, and popular protest in the era of the Civil War. Current projects include: a book on scholarly interpretations of enslaved peoples, a project which considers the role of emotions in the social protests of enslaved and contract workers, and a new project "A Cultural History of BHP Billiton" which extends his interests to Australia, and is co-authored with Ph.D. student Thomas Mackay. This project aims to bring the emerging literature on the history of capitalism to Australian shores.

    Ph.D. Supervisions

    Kelly Birch, "Slavery and Louisiana's Prisons"

    Viorela Papuc, "CIA Perspectives on Romania"

    Thomas Mackay, "A Cultural History of United States Banking, 1880-1940"



  • Publications


    1. Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World, University of North Carolina Press (2004, pb 2007)
    2. Interpreting American Enslavement, Kent State University Press (forthcoming)

    Recent Journal Articles

        1. "Class Sentiments: Putting the Emotion Back in Working-Class History," Journal of Social History, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Fall, 2014).

        2. "The Penalty of a Tyrant's Law: Landscapes of Incarceration During the Second Slavery" (with Kelly Birch), Slavery and Abolition, Vol. 34, N. 1 (March, 2013), 22-38.  

        3. "Teaching the American History Survey in Omaha: From Activist History to Foreign Curiosity”, Australiasian Journal of American Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1, (July, 2009), pp. 111-123.

        4. Editor of "The Journals of the Davy Crockett, Commencing December 20, 1834," Indiana Magazine of History, July 2006.

        5. "Levees of Hope: African American Steamboat Workers, Cities, and Slave Escapes on the Antebellum Mississippi," Journal of Urban History, March, 2004

       Book Chapters

    1. "Omen of Evil": Steamboats and the Colonizaton of the Ohio River Valley", in Rita Kohn Ed., in Full Steam Ahead: Reflections of the Impact of the First Steamboat on the Ohio River, 1811-2011 (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011), 89-120.

     2. ""Black Life on the Mississippi": African-American Work and Culture on Antebellum Steamboats" in Joe W. Trotter, Tera Hunter and Earl Lewis, eds., African American Urban History: Perspectives from the Colonial Period to the Present, (Palgrave, 2004).

    Recent Book Reviews

         1. American Historical Review (forthcoming), Kathleen M. Hilliard,  Masters, Slaves, and Exchange: Power's Purchase in the Old South (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

         2. Journal of Social History, (forthcoming), Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013).

        3. Civil War Book review (Winter, 2012), Robert Gudmestad, Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011).

        4. Australasian Journal of American Studies (July 2011), Ian Tyrell, Reforming the World: The Creation of America's Moral Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

        5. American Historical Review  (April 2009), Paul F. Paskoff’s Troubled Waters: Steamboat Disasters, River Improvements, and American Public Policy, 1821-1860 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007)

        6. Civil War History (March, 2009), Anthony E. Kaye, Joining Places: Slave Neighborhoods in the Old South (UNC, 2007).

        7. Journal of Social History (December, 2007)  Walter C. Rucker, The River Flows on: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005. xii plus 288 pp. $49.95 cloth). (1000 words)

        8. Civil War History (March 2007), The Pearl: A Failed Slave Escape on the Potomac, By Josephine F. Pacheco. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. Pp. 320. $29.95 cloth.) ((1000 words)

         9. American Historical Review, Carl A. Brasseaux, Steamboats on Louisiana's Bayous: A History and Directory, 2006

         10. Journal of Social History, Michael J. Bennett, Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War, (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

         11. H-Civil War, Spring 2005, Keith P. Griffler, Front Line of Freedom: African Americans and the Forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley, (University of Kentucky Press, 2004)

        12. Journal of Social History, Fall 2004, Paul A. Gilje, Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004

        13. Journal of Third World Studies, Fall 2004, of Selwyn H. H. Carrington, The Sugar Industry and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1775-1810, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2002

       14. Journal of Social History, Spring 2003, of David S. Cecelski, The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina (North Carolina: North Carolina Press, 2001).

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Aug 2018

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