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Remembering Christopher Schmidt-Nowara
Prince of Asturias Chair in Spanish Culture & Civilization


Prof. Schmidt-Nowara joined the Tufts History Department in 2011 after teaching for more than ten years at Fordham University. His research concentrated on two broad areas: the history of slavery and emancipation in the Hispanic world and the history of politics and ideas in the Spanish empire, especially during the imperial crises of the nineteenth century. His recent work included a study of Spanish prisoners of war during the resistance against French rule (1808-1814) and the independence struggles in Spanish America (1810-1830). His hope was that this study of captivity on both sides of the Atlantic would bring new insights into Spanish ideas of freedom in imperial and national frameworks, a theme that he pursued since his first book on Spanish abolitionism. Christopher was editing and annotating the 400-page unpublished diary of the Spanish prisoner of war Fernando Blanco y Crespo, who recounted his dramatic escape from captivity in France during the waning days of Napoleon Bonaparte's rule.

Over the years he developed several courses on Spanish, Caribbean, and Atlantic history. He offered surveys of Spanish history from the era of overseas expansion until the present day (HIST 66 & 67), an upper-level course on Caribbean history (HIST 118), and a research seminar on Slavery & Freedom in the Atlantic World (HIST 190). On the graduate level, he worked with students interested in approaching Spanish, Caribbean, and Latin American history from Atlantic and global perspectives. Learn about the Ph.D. in Global History program.

Professor Schmidt-Nowara served on the editorial board of three journals: the recently founded Bulletin for Spanish & Portuguese Historical Studies, Illes i Imperis/Islands and Empires (published at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona), and Social History, for which he edited two special issues, one on contemporary Spanish historiography (August 2004) and the other on emancipation in the Caribbean (August 2011).

Christopher hosted the annual conference of the Association for Spanish & Portuguese Historical Studies at Tufts, March 22-25, 2012.


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1995
  • B.A. Kenyon College, 1988

Selected Publications

  • Slavery and Antislavery in Spain's Atlantic Empire. Co-edited with Josep M. Fradera. New York: Berghahn Books, 2013.
  • Slavery, Freedom, and Abolition in Latin America and the Atlantic World. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2011.
  • "Caribbean Emancipations." Social History 36 (August 2011): 257-59.
  • The Conquest of History: Spanish Colonialism and National Histories in the Nineteenth Century. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.
  • "Imperio y crisis colonial." Más se perdió en Cuba: España, 1898 y el fin de siglo. Ed. Juan Pan-Montojo. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1998, 2nd ed. 2006.
  • Co-edited with John Nieto-Phillips. Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations, and Legends. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.
  • "'La España ultramarina: Colonialism and Nation-building in Nineteenth-Century Spain." European History Quarterly 34 (2004).
  • Empire and Antislavery: Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, 1833-1874. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999.

Forthcoming Publications

  • "The Transition from Slavery to Freedom." The Cambridge World History of Slavery, volume 4: 1804-2000. Eds. Seymour Drescher, David Eltis, Stanley Engerman, and David Richardson.
  • "Democractic Revolutions, The Age of." Princeton Companion to Atlantic History. Ed. Joseph C. Miller.
  • "Los colonialismos caribeños desde la conquista española hasta el reino de azúcar estadounidense." Historia de Antillas. Ed. José Antonio Piqueras. Ediciones Doce Calles.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 66 Spain and its Empire (Fall 2014)
  • HIST 67 Spain from Global Empire to European Union (Spring 2015)
  • HIST 102 Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World (Fall 2014)
  • HIST 210 Approaches to Global History (Spring 2015)

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