Jennifer Morgan, How Historians Research

In this interview on the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, host Liz Covart speaks with historian Jennifer Morgan, Professor of History and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, about her work on enslaved women. In the process, we have a case study on how historians research their topics.

The podcast’s website tells us what we’ll learn:

What You’ll Discover

  • The daily lives of enslaved African and African American women in early America
  • Differences between the experiences of enslaved men and women
  • The impact slavery had on early American women’s lives
  • Whether slave owners tried to control the reproductive capabilities of female slaves
  • How women impacted the development of slavery
  • How Europeans used the bodies of women to mark the boundaries of African and European societies
  • How Jennifer started her research for Laboring Women
  • Jennifer’s research process and how it has matured
  • The role historical questions play in historians’ research
  • How historians form historical questions
  • How Jennifer chooses archives for her research
  • How historians use the internet to research their topics
  • How Jennifer researches enslaved women
  • How enslaved women experienced motherhood
  • The role of objectivity in historians’ research
  • How Jennifer handles researching and teaching the emotional and violent topic of slavery
  • How being interdisciplinary helps Jennifer think about and find information
  • Jennifer’s tips for selecting archives and conducting research

You can access the podcast here.


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