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Ajay Kumar Batra

Ajay Kumar Batra

My primary research interests lie at the intersection of early American studies and African diaspora studies, with a focus on the late-18th- and 19th-century Atlantic World. My dissertation, "The Making of Abolition in the Archives of Atlantic Slavery, 1785–1865," studies the literature and history of chattel slavery in the United States and the British West Indies in order to elaborate the heterodox theories of freedom and abolition that enslaved and formerly enslaved people generated in their writings and in their everyday lives. Complementary areas of interest include political philosophy; colonialism and postcolonialism; the history of race and caste; and the history of religion in the Atlantic World. 

For the 2019–20 academic year, I will be a Hamer dissertation fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.  



Published writing:

"Gallows Respectability," intro to The Address of Abraham Johnstone, a Black Man (1797), in "13 for 13," special issue, Common-Place 17.3 (2017). 

Review of Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution (Belknap, 2015). Journal of American Studies 51.4 (2017): 1277–1280. 

Review of Robeson Taj Frazier, The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination (Duke UP, 2014). Amerasia Journal 42.2 (2016): 195–198. 



News & Events

Courses Taught

spring 2019

ENGL 200.302 Abolition, Past and Present