Ph.D., Emory University, 2009

M.A., Emory University, 2007

B.A., University of Michigan, 2002



Michael D. Thompson is a UC Foundation Associate Professor of American History.  He joined the UTC History Department in 2009, and specializes in the history of the American South and slavery, as well as early American social, labor, and maritime history.  His first book is a study of waterfront labor and laborers in Charleston, South Carolina, between 1783 and 1861, entitled Working on the Dock of the Bay: Labor and Enterprise in an Antebellum Southern Port (University of South Carolina Press, April 2015).  Thompson’s manuscript for this project was awarded the 2011 Hines Prize from the College of Charleston’s Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW).  He now is working on a project that examines the impact of racialized perceptions of disease susceptibility on labor and working people in the urban antebellum South. 

Mike has presented his research at over a dozen professional conferences and institutions, and his scholarship has attracted the generous support of numerous grants and fellowships.  He currently is serving on the Editorial Board of the University of Tennessee Press, UTC’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), and the university’s Faculty Development Grants Committee.  Thompson advised the History Club from 2010-2015, and now serves as the History Department’s Internship Coordinator.  During the summer of 2015 he scored U.S. History Advanced Placement (AP) examinations for the second time, and participated in a two-week National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute on “Slavery in the American Republic: From Constitution to Civil War” in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Virginia.



History 2010: United States History to 1865

History 3010: Seminars in History

History 3350: Colonial and Revolutionary America

History 3360: U.S. Early National Period

History 3900: History of the Old South

History 4310: History of American Slavery

History 4995: Departmental Honors Thesis



Research and Creative Activity Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2015

Access and Diversity Professional Development Grant, Office of Equity and Diversity, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2013, 2015

Ruth S. Holmberg Grant for Faculty Excellence, Office of the Provost, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2014

Faculty Development Grant, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2013

Hines Prize (awarded to Working on the Dock of the Bay as the best first book manuscript relating to the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World), The Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World (CLAW), College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, 2011

J. Carlyle Sitterson Visiting Scholar Grant, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2010

Summer Fellowship, UC Foundation, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2009


Publication Highlights

Working on the Dock of the Bay: Labor and Enterprise in an Antebellum Southern Port (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2015)

“‘Some Rascally Business’: Thieving Slaves, Unscrupulous Whites, and Charleston’s Illicit Waterfront Trade” in Brian Luskey and Wendy Woloson, eds., Capitalism by Gaslight: Illuminating the Economy of Nineteenth-Century America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

“‘The Unacclimated Stranger Should Be Positively Prohibited from Joining the Party’: The Impact of Yellow Fever Epidemics upon Irish and Black Labor Competition on Charleston’s Antebellum Waterfront” in David T. Gleeson, ed., The Irish in the Atlantic World (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2010)


Conference & Presentation Highlights

Panel Chair and Commentator, “Slavery, Immigration, and Migration in the Early 19th Century,” Southern Labor Studies Association Conference, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2015

“‘We will throw back on them all these black free incendiaries’: The Impact of South Carolina’s Negro Seamen Acts upon Charleston’s Waterfront Workers,” Society for Historians of the Early Republic Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 20, 2014

“‘Negro’s are very scarce’: A Study of Race, Cholera, and Comparative Disease Susceptibility in the Urban Old South,” American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 4, 2014

“‘This very troublesome business’: The Struggle for Control of Charleston’s Waterfront Workforce,” The Newberry Seminar in Labor History, Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, February 22, 2013

“‘Some Rascally Business’: Thieving Slaves, Unscrupulous Whites, and Antebellum Charleston’s Illicit Cotton Trade,” Capitalism by Gaslight: The Shadow Economies of 19th-Century America, Conference Co-Sponsored by The Library Company of Philadelphia and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 8, 2012