Assistant Professor Greg O'Malley

June 14, 2012


Though he may be relatively new on the scene, having just joined the department in the 2008-09 academic year, Assistant Professor Greg O’Malley has made quite an impression on the UC Santa Cruz Department of History in the last four years. 

Professor O’Malley is well-known by students for teaching popular courses such as “Revolutionary America,” “Atlantic History, 1492-1824,” “Popular Conceptions of Race in U.S. History, Jamestown to Obama,” and “The World, 1500 to the Present,” among others. 

The greater academic community has also recognized O’Malley as a distinguished scholar: he recently received the 2012 Douglass Adair Memorial Award for his essay, “Beyond the Middle Passage: Slave Migration from the Caribbean to North America, 1619-1807” (William and Mary Quarterly, January 2009). This prize is given biennially to the best article to have appeared in the WMQ journal over the past six years, and is awarded by the WMQ editorial board. Greg is the nineteenth person to ever receive this award, and past recipients include Pulizer Prize winners and other notable scholars.

Members of the award committee said this about the essay:

  • “O’Malley draws on a staggering research base: his article struck me as a major research accomplishment, as he sketched the contours of a trade known only dimly and anecdotally.”
  • “I found this work … to be exemplary: a vital topic, new insights into a central problem, extraordinarily well researched and written.”
  • “A major accomplishment that provides results that will form the basis for the foreseeable future of many further colony/ state level and regional studies on the development of slavery and multiple African American Experiences.”

In addition to this great achievement, Professor O’Malley has recently submitted the manuscript of his first book to the publisher. Final Passages: The British Intercolonial Slave Trade, 1619-1807 explores an overlooked aspect of forced African migration to the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  While a rich slave trade historiography of recent decades reveals much about the infamous Middle Passage across the Atlantic, O’Malley’s research shows that hundreds of thousands of Africans continued their journeys after the ocean crossing.  Building on a database of over seven thousand intercolonial slave trading voyages that he compiled from port records and merchant accounts, the book identifies and quantifies the major routes of intercolonial migration.  In the process, Final Passages illustrates extensive connections across colonial and imperial lines, as traders and slaves moved between British Caribbean, North American, French, and Spanish colonies.

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