Annette Gordon-Reed: Rutgers-Newark Appoints Nationally Renowned Presidential Scholar to Faculty





Newly appointed Rutgers-Newark Professor of History Annette Gordon-Reed has attracted attention from fellow scholars and mainstream media due to her work on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and one of his female slaves, Sally Hemings. In many ways, this work reflects a central theme of her research and teaching.

“The issue of race has been at the heart of the American dilemma from the very beginning,” Gordon-Reed notes. “How do you develop a multicultural society when you have the paradox of slavery and freedom existing together in the United States? We’re still trying to get out from under the fallout from all that.”

Gordon-Reed will begin teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses in American History and American Studies at Rutgers-Newark in the spring 2007 semester. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth in 1981 and her law degree from Harvard in 1984. She has been a professor at New York Law School since 1992 and will continue in that role after she assumes her position at Rutgers-Newark. Gordon-Reed spent the early part of her career as an associate at Cahill, Gordon and Reindel and as counsel to the New York City Board of Corrections. She speaks or moderates at numerous conferences across the country on history and law-related topics. Gordon-Reed is currently finishing her book, “The Hemings Family of Monticello: A Story of American Slavery,” which will be published by W.W. Norton next year.

Her first book, the critically acclaimed, “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” sparked a great amount of interest from fellow scholars. Nearly one year after her book was published; DNA analysis corroborated the link between Jefferson and Hemings.

“Annette Gordon-Reed is a superb historian and a great addition to a very strong department at Rutgers-Newark,” notes Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia. “Her path-breaking book on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings has forced historians to take a fresh look at the Sage of Monticello and his times. Annette Gordon-Reed is now emerging as one of our leading historians on the history of race and slavery in the new nation; she has already established a formidable reputation as a premier Jeffersonian scholar.”


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