Sarah Silkey

Sarah Silkey


B.A., Carleton College
M.A., University of East Anglia
Ph.D., University of East Anglia 

Contact Information:

(570) 321-4162
Campus Post Office Box 3

History: Associate Professor

Co-Advisor: Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Research & Teaching Interests: I teach courses examining the intellectual, social, and cultural history of modern America, as well as African American history and the history of Africa. Throughout my research and teaching, I seek to broaden our understanding of American history by examining the evolution of ideas about race, gender, violence, and citizenship.

I came to appreciate the advantages of a liberal arts education while first growing up around and then attending a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. As an undergraduate American Studies major, I became interested in understanding the role of race and racial tensions in the development of American society. Conducting my graduate work in Britain allowed me to investigate American history through a transnational lens. Rather than existing in isolation, American society has been deeply influenced by social, political, and cultural connections with other nations. I continue to use this transnational focus in my teaching and research.

My research explores the role of violence in American society and the narratives used by nineteenth-century Americans to deflect outside criticism and defend mob violence as honorable acts of community justice. My first book, Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism, reveals how Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist and civil rights activist, exploited contradictions between British and American understandings of mob violence during her 1893-1894 transatlantic anti-lynching campaign. Her successful critique of American lynching as racist oppression continues to shape our understanding of mob violence today. I have also published essays on responses to Wells's campaign in Great Britain and the American South and the evolution of British interpretations of lynching.

When time permits, I enjoy a wide variety of activities ranging from tatting, sewing, and photography to fly fishing and piano playing... (badly).

Courses Taught:
HIST 126 United States History, 1877-Present
HIST 230D African American History
HIST 238D Civil Rights Revolution
HIST 242 Vietnam War at Home & Abroad
HIST 246D Africa & the World
HIST 338D Rights, Reform & Protest
HIST 342D Women & Reform
HIST 404 U.S. Since 1945
HIST 449 Historical Methods (in rotation with department faculty)

Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism (University of Georgia Press, 2014).

“Southern Politicians, British Reformers, and Ida B. Wells’s 1893-1894 Transatlantic Anti-lynching Campaign,” in The U.S. South and Europe, ed. by Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg (University Press of Kentucky, 2013).

“British Public Debates and the ‘Americanization’ of Lynching,” in Swift to Wrath: Lynching in Global Historical Perspective, ed. by William D. Carrigan and Christopher Waldrep (University of Virginia Press, 2013).

“Redirecting the Tide of White Imperialism: The Impact of Ida B. Wells’s Transatlantic Anti-Lynching Campaign on British Conceptions of American Race Relations,” in Women Shaping the South: Creating and Confronting Change, ed. by Angela Boswell and Judith N. McArthur (University of Missouri Press, 2006).