Education

Ph.D., Emory University, 2009

M.A., Emory University, 2007

B.A., University of Michigan, 2002

 

Research

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, Working on the Dock of the Bay: Labor and Enterprise in an Antebellum Southern Port (University of South Carolina Press, 2015), is a study of waterfront labor and laborers in Charleston, South Carolina, between the American Revolution and the Civil War. 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), and the book was a finalist and runner-up for the South Carolina Historical Society’s 2015 George C. Rogers Jr. Award. He now is working on a project that examines how racialized perceptions of disease susceptibility impacted labor and working people in antebellum southern cities, tentatively titled Working Feverishly: Epidemics and Labor in the Urban Old 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. In addition to serving as the History Department’s Internships Coordinator, he currently is on UTC’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Academic Standards Committee, and recently completed a four-year term on the University of Tennessee Press’s Editorial Board. During Fall Break 2017, Mike led students from his senior seminar on the history of urban slavery on a study trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where they experienced the McLeod Plantation, the Old Slave Mart Museum, the Aiken-Rhett House, the Nathaniel Russell House, a Gullah tour, the Charleston Museum, and the joint archives of the South Carolina Historical Society and the College of Charleston’s Special Collections. 

 

Courses

History 2010: United States History to 1865

History 2100: Research and Writing in History

History 2920r: Topics: Exploring American History

History 2410: Colonial and Revolutionary America

History 2420: Early National and Antebellum America

History 3450: African American History to 1865

History 3460: American South to 1865

History 3920r: Topics: Interpreting American History

History 4020: The Historian’s Craft: Seminars in History

History 4500r: Special Topics in Historical Study

History 4920r: Internships in History

History 4995r: Departmental Thesis

 

Award Highlights

For Working on the Dock of the Bay: Labor and Enterprise in an Antebellum Southern Port

Finalist and runner-up, George C. Rogers Jr. Award (best book of South Carolina history published in 2015), South Carolina Historical Society, 2016

Hines Prize (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, 2011

UC Foundation Community Research Grant, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2017-2018

Sabbatical, Office of the Provost, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Spring 2017 

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, 2015

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

 

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

“The Curious Case of Bob Butt: Yellow Fever, Labor, and the Limits of Immunological Privilege,” Southern Labor Studies Association Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, May 17-19, 2018 (forthcoming)

Panel Commentator, “Controlling the Enslaved Body: Power and the Practice of Medicine,” Medicine and Healing in the Age of Slavery, Rice University, Houston, Texas, February 23-24, 2018 (forthcoming)

“Labor, Race, and Comparative Disease Susceptibility in the Urban Old South” (poster presentation), American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, May 7, 2017

Panel Commentator, “Disease, Public Health, and Citizenship,” Society for Historians of the Early Republic Annual Meeting, New Haven, Connecticut, July 22, 2016

“From ‘savoury smells’ to ‘a most notorious thief’: The South Caroliniana Library’s Contributions to Working on the Dock of the Bay,” Open Gallery Talk, Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, February 20, 2016

“Black History on the Dock of the Bay,” Professor Nash and Principal E. Harper Johnson Lecture Series, E. G. Fisher Public Library, Athens, Tennessee, February 4, 2016

Panel Chair, “Labor in Atlantic Port Cities: Regimes, Structures, Linkages, and Chains,” Free and Unfree Labor in Indian and Atlantic Ocean Port Cities Workshop, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 6, 2016

“From Charleston’s Forrest Gump to an Ancient Family: The Archival Underpinnings of Working on the Dock of the Bay,” Lecture to the South Carolina Historical Society, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, June 16, 2015

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