OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Adam Rothman

Portrait of Adam Rothman

Adam Rothman is a professor of history at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on slavery and abolition in the United States and the Atlantic world. He is the author of Beyond Freedom's Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery (2015) and Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South (2005), as well as a coauthor of Major Problems in Atlantic History (2007) and an associate editor of the Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History (2009). He was a member of Georgetown University's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, and is the principal curator of the online Georgetown Slavery Archive. He has worked extensively with middle school and high school teachers in the Washington, D.C., area to enrich U.S. history curriculum and teaching.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

This lecture explores Georgetown University's historical involvement with the institution of slavery and the school's current efforts to recognize that history and address its legacies. Georgetown's history is a microcosm the whole history of American slavery; it reveals the many ways that churches and schools depended on slavery, used enslaved labor, and legitimated the slave regime. Yet today Georgetown has become a test case for the prospect of reconciliation and reparation.
This lecture tells the story of Rose Herera, a slave woman in Louisiana, whose children were taken to Cuba during the Civil War. Her struggle to recover them is a poignant drama of the dream of justice at the moment of emancipation. This lecture is drawn from Rothman's award-winning book, Beyond Freedom's Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery.
How did slavery shape Thomas Jefferson's world, and how did Thomas Jefferson grapple with the problem of slavery? This lecture explores a complex topic at the core of American history, the relationship between slavery and freedom, through analysis of one of its most controversial figures.