I am a historian of Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic, and I teach courses about Europe, the Atlantic world, women and gender, race, and pirates. In my classes I emphasize active learning and intellectual engagement through social media. Students conduct original research to create graphic novels, YouTube videos, and blog posts. I am also the coordinator for the History and Gender Workshop.
I research and write about race, gender, the family, and property in the eighteenth-century French Atlantic, a time when all these highly contested categories were beginning to take their modern shapes. I use intimacy as a lens to frame broad interdisciplinary questions about identity, relationships, and empire.
My first book, Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic, follows the stories of people who built families and fortunes on both sides of the French Atlantic. By focusing on family and household, the units that anchored France in the eighteenth century, I show interconnections among race, gender, colonialism, and the plantation system in the early modern period.
My current project, “To Have and to Hold: Women and Property in Global France,” places the question of changing gender roles in a framework of social and legal history by examining property ownership among white women, indigenous women, and women of color in the French empire. I have also published on representations of gender and race.
PhD, University of Michigan, History and Women's Studies 2008
M. Phil., University of Cambridge, History 2000
B.A., University of Virginia, Interdisciplinary 1997
Palmer, Jennifer L. Intimate Bonds: Family And Slavery In The French Atlantic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Print.
Palmer, Jennifer L. “Women And Contracts In The Age Of Transatlantic Commerce”. Women And Work In Eighteenth-Century France. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015. 130-151. Print.
Palmer, Jennifer L. “The Princess Served By Some Slaves: Making Race Visible Through Portraiture In Eighteenth-Century France”. Gender & History 26.2 (2014): 242-262. Print.
Palmer, Jennifer. “Writing Wills And Families: Constructing Mixed-Race Families In Eighteenth-Century France”. "for The Salvation Of My Soul": Women And Wills In Medieval And Early Modern France. Joelle Rollo-Koster& Ryerson, Katheryn. St. Andrew's University Press, 2012. Print.
Palmer, Jennifer. “What's In A Name? Mixed-Race Families And Resistance To Racial Marginalization In Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle”. French Historical Studies 33 (2010): 357-385. Print.
Palmer, Jennifer. “Les Huguenots Et Leurs Esclaves En La Rochelle Pendant Le Xviiie Siècle: Baptême, Autorité, Et Esclavage”. Les Huguenots Et L'atlantique. Mickaël Augeron, Poton, Didier, & Van Ruymbeke, Bertrand. Indes Savantes, 2009. Web.
Palmer, Jennifer. “Creating And Belonging To Community: Race And Gender In Eighteenth-Century La Rochelle”. Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (2006): n. pag. Print.
Awards, Honors and Recognitions
Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize for the best book in French colonial history, French Colonial Historical Society
Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Sarah H. Moss Fellowship
Faculty Research Grant
Research Fellowship, Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts
Gilbert Chinard Research Fellowship
Society for French Historical Studies/Western Society for French History Research Grant
Robert R. Palmer Travel Research Award, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Fulbrignt Award (declined)