James Mackay

Thesis title: ‘‘What They Call Free in This Country’’: Refugees from Slavery in Revolutionary America, 1775-1783.


I completed my undergraduate degree in History and Spanish at the University of Oxford in 2012.

After several years teaching English as a foreign language, I completed an MSc in American History at the University of Edinburgh in 2017.

My doctoral dissertation focuses on refugees from slavery in the American Revolution. It traces the movement, both voluntary and involuntary, of enslaved and self-liberated people during the Revolutionary War.


MSc American History, University of Edinburgh (2016-2017), Distinction.

BA Hons. History and Spanish, University of Oxford (2008-2012), Upper second-class honours.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member, British Association for American Studies (BAAS).

Member, Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA).

Undergraduate teaching

Introduction to Historiography, Semester 1, 2019-2020.

Modern United States History, Semester 2, 2019-2020.

Current research interests

Histories of slavery and emancipation; revolutionary America.

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

Scholarly Fellowship, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2020.

Jacob M. Price Fellowship, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, 2020-2021.

Research Travel Grant, Special Collections Research Center, College of William and Mary, 2020-2021.

International Center for Jefferson Studies Fellowship, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, 2021.

Robert M. & Annetta J. Coffelt and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Fellowship, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2020.

Research Grant, Royal Historical Society, 2020-2021.

Past project grants

Lewis P. Jones Research Fellowship in South Carolina History, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, 2019.

Archie K. Davis Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society, 2019-2020.

Transatlantic Grant, European Association for American Studies, 2019-2020.

Papers delivered

Mobility and Movement in Atlantic History Conference, New York University, April 2020 (Cancelled).

Scottish Association for the Study of America, Twenty-First Annual Conference, University of Dundee, February 2020.

Oxford Early American Republic Seminar, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, November 2019.

First-Year PhD Conference, University of Edinburgh, April 2019.

McMillan Award, University of Edinburgh, 2020-2021.