Sophie White is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, with concurrent appointments in History and Africana Studies. During the Fall 2013 semester she will be at Princeton as a Visiting Research Scholar in the History Department.
White is an historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives.
Her first book, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), offers a distinctive reading of the contours and chronology of conversion and racialization in French America. Deploying a range of archival, visual, and material evidence, Wild Frenchmen examines perceptions of Indians in French colonial Louisiana and demonstrates that material culture—especially dress—was central to the elaboration of discourses about race. White was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for 2010-11 for work on this book, which was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. To learn more about Wild Frenchmen, see the featured interview in the July 2013 issue of common-place.org .
White has also published numerous articles on slavery, gender, violence, dress and culture. Her book current project, “Stolen Voices of the African Diaspora Within and Beyond the Atlantic World” is grounded in a major archival project centered on the analysis of an extraordinary body of testimony by enslaved Africans. Engaging comparatively with the Atlantic-Indian Ocean connections and the global institutional dimensions of slavery and diaspora, this book probes the interplay of enslaved Africans’ verbal and non-verbal forms of expression and of resistance.
Monographs & Edited Volumes:
• Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (University of Pennsylvania Press/ McNeil Series in Early American Studies, 2012) ~to be reissued in Paperback, Spring 2014~
• Stolen from Africa: Voices from the Diaspora Within and Beyond the Atlantic World (in progress)
• Guest Editor, special issue of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture , on “Dress and Gender” Vol. 9, issue 2 (June 2005)
Articles & Chapters:
• "Massacre, Mardi Gras, and Torture in Early New Orleans" The William and Mary Quarterly , 3rd Series, 70:3 (July 2013): 497-538
• Invited essay “Ask the Author: Wild Frenchmen & Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana," Common-Place.org (Vol. 13 no. 4, July 2013)
• "To ensure that he not give himself over to the Sauvages: Cleanliness, Frenchification, and Whiteness," Journal of Early American History 2 (July 2012): 111-149
• “Geographies of Slave Consumption: French Colonial Louisiana and a World of Things” Winterthur Portfolio 44 (2011): 229-48
• “A Baser Commerce: Retailing, Class, and Gender in French Colonial New Orleans,” The William and Mary Quarterly , 3rd series, 63:3 (2006), 517-50
• “This Gown ... Was Much Admired and Made Many Ladies Jealous”: Fashion and the Forging of Elite Identities in French Colonial Louisiana,” in George Washington’s South, edited by Greg O’Brien and Tamara Harvey (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004), 86-118
• “Wearing three or four handkerchiefs around his neck, and elsewhere about him’: Slaves’ Constructions of Masculinity and Ethnicity in French Colonial New Orleans,” Gender & History 15: 3 (November 2003), 528-49, reprinted in Dialogues of Dispersal: Gender, Sexuality and African Diasporas, ed. by Sandra Gunning, Tera W. Hunter and Michele Mitchell (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 132-153
• “Cultures of Consumption in French Colonial Louisiana: Slaves’ Informal Economies in an Atlantic Context,” in Empires and Intimacies: Louisiana and the Atlantic World, edited by Cécile Vidal (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2014)
• “A la française:” Amérindiennes et Africaines dans un couvent de la Nouvelle Orleans,” in La Louisiane: Carrefour des cultures, ed. by Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec and Natalie Dessens (Presses Universitaires de Laval, forthcoming 2014)
• “Français créolisés et Amérindiens francisés au pays des Illinois en Haute-Louisiane” in Les Anneaux de la Mémoire/Shackles of Memory, special issue on "Creolisations aux Amériques françaises/Creolizations in the French Americas" (2014)