Curriculum Vitae 

Jonathan Daniel Wells, Ph. D.

Professor of History in the
Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies, History,
and the
Residential College University of Michigan  

Office: B514                                                                         
701 East University
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1245
phone 734-763-0032
fax 734-763-7712

A downloadable copy is available here.


  • University of Michigan, Ph.D., American History, 1998

  • University of Florida, BA, American History, 1991

Publications and Related Activities

Book Series

  • “Print Culture in the American South” University of Georgia Press, co-edited with Sarah Gardner

Books (published)

  • (author) Blind no More: African American Resistance, Free Soil Politics, and the Coming of the Civil War (University of Georgia Press, April 2019)

  • (editor) The Routledge History of Nineteenth-Century America (2017) 

  • (author) Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South Cambridge University Press (2011) [Honorable Mention, Spruill Prize, Southern Association of Women Historians, 2012]

  • (author) A House Divided: The Civil War and Nineteenth-Century America Routledge (2011) [second edition (2017)] 

  • (co-editor) The Southern Middle Class in the Long Nineteenth Century LSU Press (2011) 

  • (co-editor)  Entering the Fray: Gender, Culture, and Politics in the New South University of Missouri Press (2010)

  • (editor) Slavery and the New World Pickering & Chatto Publishers, London (2009)

  • (editor) The Southern Literary Messenger, University of South Carolina Press (2007)

  • (author) The Origins of the Southern Middle Class, 1800-1861, University of North Carolina Press (2004)

  • (co-editor) The Literary and Historical Index to American Magazines, Praeger (2004) 

Books (in progress)

  • (author) The New York Kidnapping Club: Slavery and Freedom in America’s Metropolis   (under contract with Nation Books, a division of Perseus Books)

Selected Essays, Articles, and Reviews

  • “Race and Gender in the Making of the Library of Southern Literature,” forthcoming in New Directions in Southern History (UNC Press, 2020)

  • “The Arc of Injustice: Class and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South,” currently under the consideration of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

  • “Charles Dickens, the American South, and the Transatlantic Debate over Slavery,” Slavery & Abolition 35 (May 2015)

  • “Writers, Editors, and Intellectual Exchange between the Antebellum North and South,” Alabama Review 67 (January 2014)

  • Professionalization and the Southern Middle Class,” essay/chapter in, Louis M. Kyriakoudes, ed., The Transformation of Southern Society (University of Missouri Press, 2011)

  • “Class and Slavery,” 35-page essay in Mark M. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook on Slavery  (Oxford University Press, 2010)

  • “A Voice in the Nation: Women and Journalism in the Antebellum South,” American Nineteenth-Century History (June 2008)

  • “The Southern Middle Class,” invitation-only, state-of-the-field essay for the 75th anniversary issue of the Journal of Southern History (August 2009)

  •  “The Transformation of John Pendleton Kennedy: Maryland, the Republican Party, and the Civil War,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 95 (Fall 2000): 290-307.

  • Book manuscripts reviewed for Cambridge University Press, LSU Press, University of Kentucky Press, University of Illinois Press, University of Georgia Press, University of South Carolina Press, and others. Article manuscripts reviewed for The Journal of the Early Republic, Civil War History, Journal of Southern History, and The Journal of the Civil War Era.

  • Book reviews published in Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Civil War History, Journal of Southern History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, American Nineteenth-Century History, Southern Spaces, New Left History, Journal of the Civil War Era, H-SOUTH, H-SAWH, North Carolina Historical Review, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, and others 

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Julia Spruill Book Prize, Honorable Mention, Southern Association for Women Historians 2012, for Women Writers and Journalists

  • American Antiquarian Society, Visiting Scholar, 2011

  • The Virginia Historical Society, Research Grant. 2008-2009

  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society 2008

  • Gilder Lehrman Institute Fellowship 2003

  • Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, American Historical Association

  • Archie K. Davis Research Grant, North Caroliniana Society

  • Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan 1996-1998

  • Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Michigan 1996 

Selected Conferences and Invited Lectures

  • “Slavery and the City,” Organization of American Historians, Philadelphia, 2019

  • “The New York Kidnapping Club,” Organization of American Historians, Philadelphia, 2019

  • “Slavery and Kidnapping in New York City,” British Association for Nineteenth-Century American History, Cambridge, 2018

  • Lamar Lectures, Mercer University, 2017 

  • African American Journalism in Civil War New Orleans, African American Intellectual History Association, Chapel Hill, NC, 2016         

  • “Slavery, African Americans, and Civil War Causation,” University of Zurich, 2016

  • “Southern Newspapers under Union Occupation,” British Association for Nineteenth-century American History, Cambridge, 2015  

  • “Blind No More: Self-Emancipation, Northern Politics, and the Sectional Crisis,” University of Hawaii, 2015

  • “The Literary Culture of the Nineteenth-Century South,” Southern Intellectual History Circle, South Carolina, 2015

  • “The Arc of Injustice: Class and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South,” Organization of American Historians, St. Louis, 2015

  • “Charles Dickens, Race, and the American South,” Southern Intellectual History Circle, 2013

  • “Class and the Coming of the Civil War,” British American Nineteenth-Century Association,” Liverpool, 2013

  • Commentator, “Edward Pessen’s Riches, Class, and Power: A Retrospective,” Society for Historians of the Early Am. Republic, 2013

  • Chair, “Abolition and the Civil War,” Pennsylvania Historical Assoc., 2013

  • Commentator, “Entrepreneurial and Business Networks Between South and North,” Southern Historical Association, 2012

  • Commentator, “Compromise and Crisis in the Politics of the 1850s,” Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 2012

  • Commentator, “Sectional Identity in the Civil War,” Society of Civil War Historians, 2012

  • Commentator, “The American Civil War in Global Perspective,” Business History Conference, 2012

  • Program Chair, Southern Industrialization Project Annual Meeting, 2011

  • “‘Our Dearest Rights and Liberties:’ The Fugitive Slave Law and the Coming of the Civil War,” SHEAR, 2011

  • Commentator, “Race and Immigration in the New South,” After Slavery Conference, 2010

  • Chair and Commentator, “Gender and Sectional Identity,” Southern Association for Women Historians, 2009

  • “Gender and Journalism in the Nineteenth-Century South,” Symposium of the 19th-century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression, 2008

  • “Reconstructing the Southern Middle Class: Commercial and Professional Southerners after the Civil War,” American Historical Association, 2007

  • Chair, “The Politics of Domestic Spaces: Gender, Class, and Race in the 19th-century South,” Southern Association for Women Historians, 2006

  • “The Southern Middle Class in the Nineteenth Century,” invited lecture, St. George Tucker Society, 2006

  • “The Transformation of the South, 1800-1865,” Southern Historical Association, 2005

  • Commentator, “Women and Class in the Old South,” Southern Association of Women Historians Meeting, Richmond, VA, 2000

  • “The Cultural Origins of the Southern Middle Class,” invited lecture, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1998

  • “Reason and Passion: The Intellectual Culture of the Old South,” Southern Historical Association Conference, 1997

  • “The Belle as Breadwinner: Women Editors in the Old South” Southern Association of Women Historians Meeting, 1997

  • “Rethinking Gender in the Old South: Women and Southern Literary Magazines,” SHEAR, 1996 

Professional Service                       

  • Editorial Board, Nineteenth-Century American History

  • Best Book in Southern Economic History Prize Committee, Southern   

  • Historical Association, 2018-2020

  • Best Book in the History of Journalism Prize Committee, Organization of American Historians, 2018-2020

  • President, Southern Industrialization Project, 2014-2016

  • Education Committee, American Journalism History Association

  • Co-editor, Journal of the Early Republic, 2012-14

  • Co-editor, Book Review Section, Journal of the Early Republic, 2010-2011

  • Avery O. Craven Award Committee, Organization of American Historians, 2014-5

  • Board of Editors, Southern Historian, 2013-

  • Program Chair, Meeting of the Southern Industrial Project, 2011

  • Best Article Prize Committee, SAWH, 2009

  • Founder and Director, Center for the Study of the New South, UNC Charlotte, 2007

Academic Appointments

  • University of Michigan, Professor, 2014-

  • Temple University, Professor, 2012-2014

  • Temple University, Associate Professor, 2009-2012

  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of the New South, 2007-2009

  • Johnson & Wales University, 2004-2009, Associate Professor

  • Central Piedmont Community College, Program Chair, 1998-2004

Teaching Experience

Nominated for UM’s Golden Apple Award, the highest teaching award via student nomination, 2016

Courses taught:

  • American History 1600-1865 and American History 1865-present

  • Antebellum Culture and History

  • American History through Fiction

  • Civil War through Film and Literature

  • African American Women Novelists in Southern History

  • African Americans and Abolitionism in the 19th century

  • The Novel in American History

  • The Old South

  • The American Civil War

  • North Carolina History

  • Jacksonian America

  • English Composition

  • Freshmen Seminar

  • Radicals and Dissenters in the South

  • Race and the Law in the New South

  • US History Colloquium (graduate level)

  • US History Seminar (graduate level)

  • Social and Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century America (graduate level)

University Administrative Experience

  • University of Michigan, Dean of the Residential College, 2014-

  • Temple University, History Department Chair, 2011-2014

  • UNC Charlotte, Director of the Center for the Study of the New South, 2007-2009

  • Johnson & Wales University, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 2006-2007; Chair of Arts and Sciences, 2004-2007


  • American Historical Association

  • Organization of American Historians

  • Southern Historical Association

  • American Journalism History Association

  • Society for Historians of the Early American Republic