Samantha Payne

Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall, Room 312
Office Hours: Sabbatical, Fall 2023
Phone: 843.953.1420

Samantha Payne is a historian of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World. She received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 2022. She is currently working on her first book, The Last Atlantic Revolution (under contract with University of North Carolina Press), which explores the Atlantic history of Reconstruction in the United States, Cuba, and Brazil, the last societies to abolish slavery in the Americas. The dissertation upon which the book is based was awarded the 2023 Allan Nevins Prize for the best dissertation in American history from the Society of American Historians. It also won the Betty Unterberger Dissertation Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and an honorable mention for the Harold K. Gross Prize for best dissertation from the Harvard History Department. A selection of this project has been published in Past & Present, winning the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Prize for best article in any field of history, and an honorable mention for the Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize from SHAFR. The project has been supported by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Southern Historical Collection, the American Historical Association, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the University of São Paulo, among others.

At the College of Charleston, Professor Payne teaches courses on slavery, race, capitalism, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. She also serves on the advisory board of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) and on the Academic Research Committee for the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston (CSSC). In 2023-2024, she will be on leave completing her manuscript as a Research Associate with Yale’s Program in Agrarian Studies. 


Ph.D. in History, Harvard University, 2022

M.A. in History, Harvard University, 2017

B.A. in History and English, College of William and Mary, 2014

Courses Taught

  • The History of Global Capitalism (HIST 116)
  • The History of American Racism (HIST 210/AAS 300)
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction in the Atlantic World (HIST 210) 


Honors and Awards

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American History, Library Company of Philadelphia, 2022-2023 (declined)

Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Excellence in the Art of Teaching, Harvard University, 2022

Ralph Lee Woodward Jr. Prize, Runner Up, Latin American and Caribbean Section, Southern Historical Association, 2022

Albert J. Beveridge Grant, American Historical Association, 2021

Andrew W. Mellon Short-Term Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society, 2020

Charles Warren Center for American History Term-Time Grant, Harvard University, 2020

Global History Fellow, University of São Paulo, 2019

Joel Williamson Visiting Scholar in African American History, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2018

Afro-Latin American Research Institute Summer Research Grant, Harvard University, 2018

Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award, 2014

Phi Beta Kappa, College of William and Mary, 2013