Kerry Ward has co-edited, with Ross E. Dunn and Laura J. Mitchell, The New World History: A Field Guide for Teachers and Researchers published by the University of California Press in 2016. This edited anthology represents the state of the field edited collection for academics, graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and teachers.
Her first book, Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company (Cambridge University Press, 2009) examines the evolution of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) from a merchant enterprise to an empire through the lens of its evolving forced migration network. I argue that the VOC developed dynamic multiple nodes and networks in Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean that constituted an empire characterized by partial sovereignties not necessarily determined by territorial expansion. The VOC’s imperial headquarters in Batavia on the island of Java was the main node in these networks that linked the Cape of Good Hope on the tip of southern Africa to the Malay peninsula and the Maluku archipelago as well as to Sri Lanka.
Her book project Necessary and Unnecessary Evils: British Suppression of Slave Trading in the Eastern and Western Indian Ocean c.1807-1870 argues that the long process of abolition began with the suppression of the external slave trade in people from Africa as being an unnecessary evil that needed to be eradicated, ostensibly at any cost. In juxtaposition, the main British response to slave trading and slavery in the Eastern Indian Ocean, in particular the Straits Settlements and extending to Hong Kong, was that it was unofficially perceived as a "necessary evil" to stabilize particular labor markets. Instead, anti-piracy became the main focus of imperial securitization.
Her book project, The American Civil War in the Indian Ocean: Global dimensions of a national conflict analyzes the conduct and impact of the Civil War in an entirely new perspective. It expands our understanding of the origins of American globalization in the nineteenth century. Moving beyond established area studies of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, this project contributes to our understanding of the Indian Ocean as a region. It uses the Confederate commerce raiding cruises in the region to shine a spotlight on sites in South Africa, Singapore, the Netherlands East Indies, India, and Australia where the Confederate ships affected much more than U.S. trade, diplomacy, and maritime networks.
Dr. Ward regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate thematic courses in world history. She also teaches in the African Studies Minor program, the Asian Studies undergraduate programs, the Museums and Cultural Heritage minor program, and the Center for the Study of Women Gender and Sexuality program. She offers courses on forced migration in the modern word, Indian Ocean history, and comparative slavery and empires, and museums in world history. She is interested in working with graduate students who want to integrate world history into their main research and teaching fields.