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Meet the Expert | Damian Pargas

Since September 2017 Professor Damian Pargas is a member of the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS) and presents the RIAS as member of the board of LeidenGlobal. Damian is professor of history and culture of the United States and studied social history at Leiden University, earning his MA cum laude in 2004 and his PhD cum laude in 2009. From 2009 to 2013 he was assistant professor of history and American studies at Utrecht University. In August 2013 he returned to Leiden as assistant professor of social and economic history. He is the author of two books and several articles on American slavery, slave family life, and slave migration in the 19th century.

Damian Pargas has been interested in migration and the experiences of migrants for all his life; Currently he is examining runaway slaves throughout Northern America, including the US North and South, as well as Canada and Mexico. His book on this topic is expected to be published in 2020, and will be based on an NWO VIDI project (2015-2020) that he is currently supervising, titled "Beacons of Freedom: Slave Refugees in North America, 1800-1860."

In an interview with Elsevier(in Dutch)he states his research is also mostly focused on the common man instead of the known ‘big names’ in the North-American history. While talking about the current (political) situation in The United States, he emphasizes the remaining need to study American Studies and History.  

Despite his primary focus on North American history, Damian Pargas thoroughly enjoys collaborating with non-Americanists as well. ‘The expertise housed within RIAS alone includes global themes as human rights activism, diplomacy and international relations, empire, and slavery. Placing American themes in global or international contexts reveals similarities, differences, interconnectedness, and processes of divergence and convergence between the North American experience and other parts of the world’.

Damian is looking forward to helping to organize RIAS events that appeal to not only the thriving American studies community in The Netherlands, but to non-Americanists as well. With such matching intends, you can imagine that LeidenGlobal is happy to have Damian on board with our partner RIAS and we are looking forward to a nice collaboration.