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Jennifer L. Palmer

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Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor

I am a historian of Early Modern France, the Atlantic World, and the Caribbean. I teach courses about Europe, the Atlantic world, women and gender, race, and pirates.  In my classes I emphasize active and cooperative learning and intellectual engagement; you should expect conversation in small and large groups, group projects, and lots of active learning. While I do sometimes lecture, lectures do not comprise the bulk of my classes. I find that when I help students to reach their own conclusions, rather than telling them in advance what their conclusions should be, they learn both the subject matter of the class and important analysis skills. And history is all about analysis!

My first book, Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic, follows the stories of people who built families and fortunes on both sides of the French Atlantic.  By focusing on family and household, the units that anchored France in the eighteenth century, I show interconnections among race, gender, colonialism, and the plantation system in the early modern period. 

My current project, “Possession: Race, Gender, and Property in the French Caribbean,” argues that property ownership emerged in the context of the growth of the plantation system as a white male privilege. I examine the ways women, especially women of color, exerted control over property, and how those opportunities were taken away. I have also published on representations of gender and race. 

Selected Publications:


Palmer, Jennifer L. Intimate Bonds: Family And Slavery In The French Atlantic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Print.


Palmer, Jennifer L. "Quotidian Intimacy: Gender and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle," Lumiéres: Histoire. Littératures. Philosophie. 35.1 (2021), 57-70.

Palmer, Jennifer L. "'She persisted in her revolt': Between Slavery and Freedom in Saint-Domingue," Social History/Histoire Sociale 53.107 (2020), 17-41.

Palmer, Jennifer L. "'The fruits of their labors': Race, Gender, and Land Ownership in the Eighteenth-Century French Empire." French History 32.4 (2019), 471-492.

Palmer, Jennifer L. “The Princess Served by Some Slaves: Making Race Visible through Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century France”. Gender & History 26.2 (2014): 242-262. 

Palmer, Jennifer L. “What's in a Name? Mixed-Race Families and Resistance to Racial Marginalization in Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle”. French Historical Studies 33 (2010): 357-385. 

Palmer, Jennifer L. “Creating and Belonging to Community: Race and Gender in Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle”. Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (2006): n. pag. 

Book Chapters

“White Women and the Plantation Economy in France and the French Caribbean,” in Colonisations. Notre histoire, ed. Mélanie Lamotte and Pierre Singaravélou (Le Seuil: Paris, forthcoming).

"Compromised Independence: Mixed-Race Girlhood in the Eighteenth-Century French Atlantic," in A Global History of Black Girlhood, ed. LaKisha Simons and Corrine Field (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2022).

"Testamentary Emancipation and Emotional Bonds in Eighteenth-Century Saint-Domingue," in Comparative Literary Histories of Slavery, ed. Mads Anders Baggesgarrd, Madeleine Dobie, and Karen-Margrethe Simonsen (Amsterdam: Johns Benjamins Publishing, Forthcoming).

"Proof of Freedom, Proof of Enslavement: The Limits of Documentation in Colonial Saint-Domingue," in Legal History in the French Archives, ed. Michael Gavreau and Nancy Christie (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020).

Palmer, Jennifer L. “Women and Contracts in the Age of Transatlantic Commerce”. Women And Work In Eighteenth-Century France. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015. 130-151. 

Palmer, Jennifer. “Writing Wills And Families: Constructing Mixed-Race Families In Eighteenth-Century France”. "for The Salvation Of My Soul": Women And Wills In Medieval And Early Modern France. Joelle Rollo-Koster& Ryerson, Katheryn. St. Andrew's University Press, 2012. 

Palmer, Jennifer. “Les Huguenots Et Leurs Esclaves En La Rochelle Pendant Le Xviiie Siècle: Baptême, Autorité, Et Esclavage”. Les Huguenots Et L'atlantique. Mickaël Augeron, Didier Poton, & Bertrand Van Ruymbeke. Indes Savantes, 2009. 



PhD, University of Michigan, History and Women's Studies 2008

M. Phil., University of Cambridge, History 2000

B.A., University of Virginia, Interdisciplinary 1997

University of Georgia School of Law, year of study supported by the Provost's Study in a Second Discipline Fellowship, 2018-2019

Of note:

Selected Grants and Fellowships

American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant

National Endowment for the Humanities Individual Fellowship

American Council for Learned Societies Research Fellowship

Lapidus Digitization Fellowship, Omohundro Institute

Provost's Study in a Second Discipline Grant

Sarah H. Moss Fellowship

Research Fellowship, Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts

Faculty Research Grant

Gilbert Chinard Research Fellowship

Society for French Historical Studies/Western Society for French History Research Grant

Robert R. Palmer Travel Research Award, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Chateaubriand Fellowhip

Fulbrignt Award (declined)


Selected Prizes and Honors

Best Article Prize, Histoire sociale/Social History

Virginia Mary Macagnoni Prize for Innovative Research

Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize for the best book in French colonial history, French Colonial Historical Society

Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching


Events featuring Jennifer L. Palmer
101 LeConte Hall

 The History Department's undergraduate lecture series presents Dr. Jennifer Palmer, Assistant Prof, History. Think you can find all you need to know on Wikipedia? Think again! And again... and again. This talk will take a look at how the world's first major encyclopedia not only disseminated information, it also made people think.

Palmer's current…

The Willson Center, 1260 Lumpkin St.
101 LeConte

This installment of the Department of History’s undergraduate lecture series features Dr. Jennifer Palmer. Professor Palmer teaches courses on the history of Europe, the Atlantic world, women and gender, race, and pirates. She is the author of Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic.

150 miller Learning Center

Institute for Women's Studies Friday Speaker Series Lecture, featuring Dr. Jennifer Palmer, Associate Professor, history.

Dr. Palmer is a historian of Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic, and teaches courses about Europe, the Atlantic world, women and gender, race, and pirates.  She is also the coordinator for the…

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