Wendy Gonaver

Visiting Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall, Room 312
Office Hours: W 4:00-5:00
Phone: 843.953.1420
E-mail: gonaverw@cofc.edu


Wendy Gonaver is a historian of the United States. She writes about slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the history of medicine. Her book, The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 (2019) draws upon previously unprocessed records from two Virginia asylums to analyze the history of race in connection with the development of mental health treatment in the United States. She has also written about African American nurses and soldiers during the Civil War and the enslaved community of Charleston, South Carolina. Her current project examines public trust in government regulations regarding health and safety, including the expansion of tax-funded hospitals and care homes for Civil War veterans. She’s also pursuing related research about family relationships and intimacy in the long nineteenth century. 

Professor Gonaver has received research grants and fellowships from the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine; the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation); and the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies.  

She received her Ph.D. from the American Studies Program at College of William and Mary in 2012. Her B.A. (1994) in Growth and Structure of Cities is from Bryn Mawr College. 

In addition to teaching, she has worked as an archivist and curator.