British Association for American Studies


Book Hour with Dr. Kevin Waite, the author of West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire


The next U.S. Studies Online Book Hour will take place 17th March 2023, at 4pm GMT with Dr. Kevin Waite, who will talk with us about his first – and award-winning – book, West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire (The University of North Carolina Press, 2021)

Dr. Waite is a political historian of the 19th-century United States with a focus on slavery, imperialism and the American West. He received his PhD in 2016 from University of Pennsylvania, and currently holds a position as the Associate Professor of Modern American History in the Department of History at the University of Durham.

Dr. Waite will, firstly, speak of his award-winning first book, West of Slavery, in which he explores how American Southerner slaveholders extended their political dominion across the American West in the mid-19th century, and in the process triggered series of events that, ultimately, hastened the coming of the Civil War. In his book, Dr. Waite shifts the popular history focus from the South and Southern elites to the Far West, arguing for the existence of an expansionist continental South dedicated to international trade and maintaining various forms of unfree labor. Dr. Waite contends that the sway of pro-slavery politics extended to the Pacific coast, challenging the notion that the American West was somehow united against slavery. The West of Slavery is an important addition in literature that tackles a shift in the historiography of slavery. In it, Dr. Waite “brings to light what contemporaries recognized but historians have described only in part: The struggle over slavery played out on a transcontinental stage.”[i]

Alongside his inspirational research and book, Dr. Waite will also provide insight that are particularly interesting and vitally important for our postgraduate and early career researcher audience who may be thinking of less conventional academic career paths. Namely, he will expand upon the into experiences he has had in, for example, writing popular history for media outlets like the Conversation, National Geographic, LA Times, etc., as well as sharing some thoughts on when and why to approach a press with a crossover or trade book manuscript.


The Book Hour is free to attend but registration is required in order for organizers to send you a secure Zoom link.

Registering is available until 1pm Friday 17th.

You can reserve a spot for the Book Hour with Dr. Kevin Waite here!

When registering, please ensure to leave a current email address in order to receive a secure Zoom link prior to the talk. After the talk, there will also be a Q&A open for all attendees.



End notes:

[i] The University of North Carolina Press, West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire. https://uncpress.org/book/9781469663197/west-of-slavery/




The U.S. Studies Online Book Hour is a regular book talk among scholars, postgraduates, early-career researchers, and the public about recently published work in wider sense of American Studies.

#USSOBookHour is an opportunity for scholars to share their most original voices and connect with young researchers and readers, and we are pleased to offer an honorarium for our invited speakers. Anyone is welcome to join the talk.

We invite scholars in American Studies to introduce their latest publications that generate heated debates, innovative ideas, meaningful conversations, and spark thought. Each talk lasts for about 30-40 minutes, followed by a Q&A session (or a roundtable discussion).

Get in touch with Aija Oksman, the Book Hour Organizer and Book Reviews Editor at usso@baas.ac.uk if you would like to co-host, to take part with your book, or ask questions about #USSOBookhour in general.