About our staff
Dr Sonia Tycko
Lecturer in the History of Labour
I am a historian of early modern England and the Atlantic world, with a focus on social and legal history. I received my B.A. from Columbia University and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining Edinburgh, I was the Kinder Junior Research Fellow in Atlantic History at the Rothermere American Institute, the University of Oxford, in partnership with the Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri.
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- North America
- Comparative & Global History
- Early Modern
- historical concepts of consent, persuasion, and free will
- social control and labour coercion
- freedom of contract
- documented and undocumented mobility
Current research activities
I am currently completing my first book manuscript, ‘Captured Consent: Contract Labour in English Charity, Colonization, and Warfare, 1600–1700’. At the heart of the book are transatlantic indentured servants, who I study in comparison and connection to apprenticed pauper children, conscripted soldiers, and prisoners of war put to work in England. The book argues that exploitative early modern labour practices played a significant role in the development of the concepts of freedom of contract and the sanctity of an individual’s consent.
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
I convened an exploratory seminar, "Historicizing Consent: What did it mean to agree in the late medieval and early modern world?" at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, with co-organizer Tamar Herzog in April 2022. Further details including the seminar abstract and a collaborative bibliography are here: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/historicizingconsent.
Historical Skills and Methods II: Voices from Below in the Early English Atlantic World
Early Modern History: A Connected World
The Global Economy
Freedom and Coercion in the Making of the Atlantic World
Tycko, Sonia. “Bound and Filed: A Seventeenth-Century Service Indenture from a Scattered Archive.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 19, no. 1 (Winter 2021): 166–90. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/780967
Tycko, Sonia. “The Legality of Prisoner of War Labour in England, 1648–1655.” Past & Present 246, no. 1 (February 2020): 35–68. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtz031.
Winner of the Sutherland Prize, American Society for Legal History
Project Director, “America and Race: A Bibliography for UK History Undergraduates,” https://www.rai.ox.ac.uk/america-and-race-bibliography