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James E. Wainwright

Status: ABD

Email: wainwright [] rice.edu

Education 

  • M.A. Rice University, 2009
  • B.A. University of Washington, 2005

Fields 

  • colonial and early republic America
  • Native North America
  • race
  • slavery
  • American South
  • Atlantic World

Dissertation: “Both Deep South and Native South: Indians, Cattle, and Cotton in the Transformation of the Gulf South, 1770–1835” 

My project bridges the colonial and early republic eras by analyzing the origins of the Deep South as a grassroots phenomenon forged by Native Gulf southerners between the American Revolution and Indian Removal. It shows that Indians and native non-Indians—white and black—owned ranches and plantations, employed slave labor, and pioneered the infrastructure for cotton production and transportation. Scotsmen and Spaniards married Indians and embraced their matrilineal traditions. Anglo- and Afro-American migrants integrated into an emergent native cotton culture in which racial and cultural identities remained permeable and flexible. Based on research in multiple archives across five states, my dissertation demonstrates the persistence of colonial forms of interaction well into the nineteenth century, even as the region grew ever more tightly bound to an expansionist United States. My work thus revises our understanding of the history and people of an American region before the Civil War and reshapes our framework for interpreting the nature of racial and cultural formation over the long course of American history.