I am a historian of religion, race, and slavery in early America and the Atlantic World. In September 2019, I will start as an Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University, where I have spent the last two years as a visiting faculty member.
My book manuscript, Methodism, Slavery, and Freedom in the Revolutionary Atlantic World, is the first book-length study of early American Methodism throughout the Atlantic World. It traces the expansive growth of the movement in North America, the Caribbean, and West Africa during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but argues that the defining feature of Methodism during this era was division, as racial and political strife ruined church leaders’ efforts to sustain a transatlantic Methodist community. Based on extensive research in more than two-dozen archives throughout the United States, England, Canada, and the Caribbean, the book provides fresh insight into the complicated intersections of religious, racial, and political identities in the Revolutionary Atlantic World.
I have also begun research on a new project — a microhistorical study of religion, family, and slavery in the eighteenth century Atlantic world. Drawing on scattered correspondence, church and court records, and a recently re-discovered manuscript memoir, I retrace the life of Dorcas Lillie, a thrice-widowed, slave-owning Quaker woman on the tiny West Indian island of Saint Croix. Her experiences raise important questions about what it meant to be the lone local member of a transnational religious community and provide a revealing portrait of changing family dynamics, slave labor, and religious community on the margins of the Atlantic world.
Teaching is central to my scholarly identity. I am committed to helping all students both master course material and develop critical thinking skills and the ability to use them outside of the classroom. At BYU, I teach courses in early American history, the history of religion, and the history of slavery and the slave trade. Beginning this fall, I will also take an active role in BYU’s Family History program, teaching courses on Family History research methods, the family and the law in American history, and early American family history sources.
I also maintain an active online presence (@ccjones13). I am a founding member of The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History and have contributed to multiple digital history projects, including The American Yawp: A Free and Online, Collaboratively Built American Textbook, The American Converts Database, and the Transcribing Early American Manuscript Sermons project, where I am a founding editor.