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About Charles Foy

My scholarship and teaching activities focus on the eighteenth century Black Atlantic. As a social historian I am especially interested in how individuals accommodate themselves to larger societal forces and how identities are transformed. I have been characterized as an Early Americanist, an Atlantic historian, a historian of race and a maritime historian. My articles on black seamen have appeared in Early American Studies, Common-place, Slavery and Abolition, Journal for Maritime Research, the Proceedings of the 2007 Naval History Symposium, Seaport, and Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America. In addition to my book project, “Liberty’s Labyrinth: Freedom in the 18th Century Black Atlantic,” I continue to work on the development of a Black Mariner Database that as of 2014 contains records on more than 25,000 black mariners and black maritime fugitives. My essay "Sewing a Safety Net: Scarborough's Maritime Community, 1747-1765" in the June 2012 issue of the International Maritime History Journal analyzes how the maritime community of Scarborough, England employed both the governmentally mandated Seamen's Sixpence program and local kinship networks to form a social safety net protecting the port's maritime dependents.
      I also blog on black maritime culture at 


Present Associate Professor Emeritus, Eastern Illinois University History


Research Interests

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  • HIS 1510G Slavery and Freedom
  • HIS 2010G US History to 1877
  • HIS 3380 Golden Age of Piracy
  • HIS 4303 Colonial History
  • HIS 4304 Revolutionary America to 1789
  • HIS 4350 Lasky Seminar in Early United States History
  • HIS 5160 Atlantic World
  • HIS 5370 Early America


PhD, Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway ‐ History

Research Works (18)

Dissertation (1)