Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
HistoryPart of Humanities

Dr David Cox 

Lecturer in Modern American History, Marketing Officer, Admissions Team

Dr David Cox's photo

I specialise in the history of the United States during the long nineteenth century. In particular, I am interested in ideas of race and the ways in these ideas have shaped discourse on African-American culture.

Having earned my BA and MA at the University of Sheffield, I moved to the University of Cambridge where I completed my PhD. Before joining the department I lectured in American History at Swansea University and the University of Sheffield.

Research interests

I am currently working on a monograph looking at discourse on African-American culture from the Civil War to WWI. Beginning with the northern missionaries and teachers who travelled to South Carolina in 1862 to work with the freedpeople, I discuss representations of black 'folk' culture (including songs, stories, magical and religious beliefs) by black and white American intellectuals of all stripes, including ‘local-color’ authors, reformers, journalists, folklorists, and social scientists. Such discussion provided an arena within which intellectuals debated the place and future of African Americans within the US body politic. Using Congressional debates and periodical literature, I seek to understand the linkages between ethnography, literature, and politics.

I am also working on a project tracing the influence of Sir Spencer St John’s Haiti, or, the Black Republic. Published in 1884, St John's notorious account of Haitian Vodou equated the religion with child sacrifice, sexual transgression, and cannibalism. The work made an important impact on American thought. From the late 1880s onwards, white conservatives seemed incapable of discussing Haiti without making mention of ‘voodoo.’ Newspapers reprinted St John’s claims, adding their own salacious details, while social scientists and politicians from both parties cited his work to bolster their authority. I investigate the ways in which St John’s ideas were appropriated by Americans seeking to justify Jim Crow at home and test their imperial power abroad.

Dr David Cox
Building 65, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2063

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings