Celia E. Naylor
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History
Celia E. Naylor is an Associate Professor in Africana Studies and History at Barnard College, Columbia University. Before joining the Barnard College faculty in 2010, she started as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to a tenured Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College (2002-2010).
Professor Naylor earned her B.A. in Africana Studies (Summa Cum Laude) with a concentration in Women's Studies from Cornell University, a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Duke University.
At Barnard College, she teaches a number of courses including Introduction to African-American History; Introduction to the African Diaspora; Remembering Slavery: Critiquing Modern Representations of the Peculiar Institution; Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s) and “Black Sexual Politics" in Contemporary U.S. Popular Culture; and "Tongues on Fire": Caribbean Women's Articulations of Fracture(s), Freedom(s), and Futurities.
Most of her published work explores the multifaceted connections between African-Americans, Black Indians, and Native Americans in the U.S. She was one of the coordinators of the historic conference "'Eating Out of the Same Pot': Relating Black and Native (Hi)stories," held at Dartmouth College in April 2000. Her book, entitled African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in May 2008 (John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture). This work charts the experiences of enslaved and free Blacks in the Cherokee Nation from the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma’s entry into the Union in 1907. Her interests include African-American and Caribbean history; Native American history; women's history and literature in the African Diaspora; and colonialism and neocolonialism in the Americas.
Professor Naylor is currently working on a project centered on the Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The core objectives for this project are three-fold— (1) a microhistory of enslaved people’s experiences in the first decades of the nineteenth century at the Rose Hall Plantation; (2) an interdisciplinary study of the ongoing legend of the “White Witch of Rose Hall” in selected twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary and cultural contexts in order to critique the racial, gendered, and classed politics of reconstructing slavery in the modern era; and (3) a public history and digital humanities project that will highlight archival materials related to the individual and collective lives of the enslaved people who labored at Rose Hall.
Due to Professor Naylor's interest in, and commitment to, racial equity and social justice, over the past few years she has been working with the Institute for Strategic and Equitable Development (ISED). She has served as President of the Board of Directors of this non-profit organization since its establishment in 2015. ISED's purpose is to promote impactful grant-making, investments, and economic development in communities of color through strategic planning, evaluation, project management, and technical assistance services. ISED has partnered with Keecha Harris & Associates, Inc. in order to implement 2 major initiatives--Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy (InDEEP) and the Presidents' Forum on Racial Equity in Philanthropy.
“Imagining and Imagined Sites, Sights, and Sounds of Slavery.” The William and Mary Quarterly 76, no. 1 (January 2019): 25-32.
African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2008, John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.
“‘Playing Indian’?: The Selection of Radmilla Cody as Miss Navajo Nation 1997-1998.” In Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country. Eds. Tiya A. Miles and Sharon P. Holland. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006, 224-248.
“Rethinking Race and Culture in the Early South,” Ethnohistory 53:2 (Spring 2006): 399-405 [co-authored with Claudio Saunt, Barbara Krauthamer, Tiya A. Miles, and Circe Sturm].
“African Americans in Indian Societies.” In Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 14 Southeast. Volume Ed. Raymond Fogelson. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 2004, 753-759 [co-authored with Tiya A. Miles].
“‘Born and Raised among These People, I Don’t Want to Know Any Other’: Slaves’ Acculturation in Nineteenth-Century Indian Territory.” In Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America. Ed. James F. Brooks. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002, 161-191.
African-American and Caribbean history; Native American history; women's history and literature in the African Diaspora; and colonialism and neocolonialism in the Americas.
- Introduction to African-American History
- Introduction to the African Diaspora
- Remembering Slavery: Critiquing Modern Representations of the Peculiar Institution
- Slave Resistance in the United States: From the Colonial Ear to the Civil War
- Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s) and "Black Sexual Politics" in Contemporary U.S. Popular Culture
- "Tongues on Fire": Caribbean Women's Articulations of Fracture(s), Freedom(s), and Futurities
- Senior Thesis Seminars for the Africana Studies Department and the History Department
The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, Heyman Center Faculty Fellowship, 2017-2018.
Barnard College, BOSS (Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters), Professor of the Year Award, May 2015.
Columbia University, Black Students Organization, Professor of the Year Award, May 2012.
Dartmouth College, Jack E. Thomas 1974 Family Fellowship, 2008-2009.
Dartmouth College, John M. Manley Huntington Teaching Award for Newly Tenured Faculty, July 2008.
Dartmouth College, Professor Arthur M. Wilson and Mary Tolford Wilson Faculty Research Fellowship, 2005-2006.
Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, Alternate, 2005-2006.
Dartmouth College, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center Research Scholars Program, 2004-2006.
Professor Naylor currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of African American History (JAAH).
She is a member of several professional associations including the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH), the Association of Caribbean Historians (ACH), the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians, the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), and the Organization of American Historians.
- Naylor, Celia, Panelist, “The Rose Hall Plantation: The Legend of the White Witch and the (Ghost) Site/Sightings of Slavery in Jamaica.” Panel Session on “Remembering the Dead: Slavery and Mortality through Visual Culture, A Comparative Perspective,” Annual Conference of the American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., January 6, 2018.
- Naylor, Celia, Commentator, “Doors of Hope: Histories and Memories of Black Transnationalism in North America and Beyond,” Annual Conference of the American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., January 5, 2018.
- Naylor, Celia, Panelist, “Rose Hall Plantation: The Legend of the White Witch and the (Ghost) Site/Sightings of Slavery,” ASWAD Conference, Seville, Spain, November 10, 2017.
- Naylor, Celia, Panelist, “Excavating Sites of Slavery: A Cautionary Tale of the White Witch and Enslaved Ghosts of Contemporary Tours at Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica,” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities,” Hofstra University, New York, June 3, 2017.
- Naylor, Celia. Panelist, “Bringing the Dead to Life: Slavery, Imagination, Narrative, and the Scholarly Enterprise.” Southern Historical Association Annual Conference, St. Pete Beach, Florida, November 4, 2016.
- Naylor, Celia. Commentator, “Southeastern Indians in Unexpected Places: Native American History in the Nineteenth-Century American South and Southwest.” Southern Historical Association Annual Conference, St. Pete Beach, Florida, November 3, 2016.
- Naylor, Celia. Invited Speaker, “(Un)Silencing Slavery at Rose Hall Plantation, Jamaica” Atlantic World Workshop, New York University, New York, October 25, 2016.
- Naylor, Celia. Presenter, “The White Witch and Enslaved Ghosts of Rose Hall: Representing Female Mastery and Female Bondage in Contemporary Tours at Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay, Jamaica.” Annual Conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies, July 6, 2016, University of Newcastle, England.
- Naylor, Celia. Presenter, “The White Witch and Enslaved Ghosts of Rose Hall: Reinscribing Slavery in Contemporary Tours at Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay, Jamaica,” Annual Conference of the Association of Caribbean Historians, Havana, Cuba, June 8, 2016.
- Naylor, Celia. Chair and Commentator, “Interrogating Race, Gender, Power and the Archive in Caribbean Women’s History.” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Toronto, Canada, May 25, 2014.
- Naylor, Celia. Chair and Commentator, “African-American and Native American Diasporas: Discussions of Race, Nation, and Citizenship.” Annual Conference of the American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., January 3, 2014.
In the News
University of North Carolina Press author Celia Naylor provides historical context for the current debates surrounding the Cherokee freedmen. Naylor is the author of African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens, which examines the intricate and emotionally charged history of Cherokee freedpeople.