Staff profiles

Photo of David Silkenat

Dr David Silkenat


Senior Lecturer; American History


Summary of research interests

  • North America
  • Culture
  • Economic History
  • Gender
  • Labour
  • Landscapes & Monuments
  • Society
  • War
  • Nineteenth Century

Research interests

My research focuses on the social and cultural history of the American South during the 19th century, with particular attention to the Civil War.

My most recent book, Raising the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War, will be released in early 2019.

I am also the author of Driven from Home: North Carolina's Refugee Crisis, which was published by UGA Press in October 2016 and received the North Caroliniana Society Book Award for the best non-fiction published that year. My first book, Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina (UNC Press, 2011), explored shifting moral sentiments in North Carolina over the course of the 19th century, and was also awarded the North Caroliniana Society Book Award for the best non-fiction book of 2011.  I have also published articles on labour at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Populism, female education in the Civil War South,  African Americans’ historical memory of Abraham Lincoln during the 1930s, and the origins of the 'scourged back' photo.

Current research activities

I am currently writing an environmental history of American slavery.