School of the Arts

Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture

New England Bound: Slavery on the Edge of an Empire

Princeton Historian Speaks about Slavery in Colonial New England, Oct. 8

New England Bound book cover, tan with ship

Professor Wendy Warren of Princeton University will deliver the 17th annual Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Department of History at CSU, Chico. Warren’s talk is based on her recent book, New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America (W. W. Norton, 2016), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.  

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place on Monday, October 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Zingg Recital Hall on the first floor of the Arts and Humanities Building on CSU, Chico's campus. 

While most histories of slavery in early America confine themselves to the Southern colonies and the Caribbean, Warren’s book explains how the Atlantic slave trade drove the colonization of New England. She also brings to light the lives of the thousands of reluctant Indian and African slaves who found themselves forced into the project of building the Puritans’ “city on a hill.” 

The Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture honors the memory of a longtime CSU, Chico faculty member and Department of History chair. A specialist in the antebellum and Civil War history of the United States, Professor Cowden was known for her dedication to advancing the life of the mind and her high-quality teaching. Shortly before her death in April 2001, her book, Heaven Will Frown on Such A Cause as This: Six Democrats Who Opposed Lincoln’s War, was published.

For those who need special seating accommodations, please call 530-898-6333. More information is available online at the School of the Arts website — — and Facebook page —

About the Lecturer

Wendy Warren

Wendy Warren received her PhD in history at Yale University. Her area of expertise is in the history of colonial North America and the early modern Atlantic World. After she earned her degree, she held a junior research fellowship at Christ Church College, Oxford University. This led her to join the history department at Princeton University, where she is now an assistant professor. Her teaching interests are colonial North America, Native American history, comparative slavery, comparative colonialism, critical prison studies, and women’s history. Warren is best known for her book New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America. This was her first publication; it explored the experience of chattel bondage in 17th century New England. The book touches on rape, slavery, and colonization in the Atlantic World. She won the Organization of American Historians’ 2017 Merle Curti Social History Prize. She also was nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Berkshire Conference Prize, and the Harriet Tubman Prize in 2017. 

“There has remained something exceptional in both the popular and the scholarly understanding of early Colonial New England, an exceptional absence,” Warren said.

For the publication, she had pulled from archives that connected the expansion of the northern colonies to the Atlantic slave trade. Africans were not the only people enslaved to systematic exploitation—the Indians of New England were as well. In her book, Warren sheds light on the selling of Native Americans as slaves to plantations in the Caribbean during the early stages of English colonization. She includes the untold stories of the enslaved, such as the Indians who protested their banishment to sugar islands.