JENNIFER L. ANDERSON
Associate Professor (Ph.D., New York University, 2007)
Office: SBS S-319
Interests: Atlantic World, race, colonialism, labor, commodities
My recent book, Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America (Harvard University Press, 2012), examined mahogany consumption in North America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the resulting human and environmental impacts in the West Indies and Central America, where mahogany was harvested using enslaved African labor. My emphases include changing land uses and their environmental impacts, agricultural innovations, and, with the gradual demise of slavery, the emergence of alternative labor regimes. Currently my research explores the complex history of Long Island within the broader Atlantic context and as a venue where Native peoples, European settlers, and enslaved Africans encountered each other during the colonial period. Through generations of conflict, compromise, and adaptation, everyone involved saw their worlds transformed as the island’s agricultural economy expanded to supply foodstuffs to West Indian sugar plantations and later the growing metropolis of New York City. Recently I co-edited a special edition of the Long Island History Journal that highlights archaeological projects relating to African Americans and Natives. Drawing on my background as a museum curator, exhibition developer, and researcher, I serve as advisor to many historical and cultural organizations, and offer educational workshops and public talks on a wide range of topics.