Dr. Dexter Gabriel earned his B.A. in history from Texas State University-San Marcos, an M.A. in history also from Texas State University-San Marcos, and his Ph.D. in history from Stony Brook University-New York. His research interests include the history of bondage, resistance, and freedom in the Black Atlantic, as well as interdisciplinary approaches to slavery within popular culture and media. His current research explores British Emancipation in the Anglo-Caribbean and its impact on abolitionist strategies in nineteenth-century North America. His work has been translated into the social arena through panel discussions, lectures, articles, and interviews as diverse as the Federal Reserve Bank of Virginia to Voice of America, BBC America, and elsewhere.
Areas of Expertise (4)
Abolition and Emancipation
Slavery in Popular Culture
Stony Brook University-New York: Ph.D., History
Texas State University-San Marcos: M.A., History
Texas State University-San Marcos: B.A., History
- UConn Africana Studies Institute
2022 Ignyte Awards (professional)
Winner, Best Novel: Adult, for "A Master of Djinn" Winner, Best Short Story, for "If the Martians Have Magic"
University of Connecticut Humanities Institute Fellowship (2018-2019) (professional)
“Jubilee’s Experiment: The British West Indies and American Abolitionism.”
Benjamin F. Stevens Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society (2018) (professional)
"A West Indian Jubilee in America: Mapping August First in New England"
Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society (2017) (professional)
"Performing Freedom in the Mighty Experiment"
Media Appearances (5)
Slavery is a part of film history. So why is it so hard to make a good movie about it?
Washington Post print
When historian Dexter Gabriel saw “12 Years a Slave” in 2013 at a Brooklyn theater, his reaction was simple: “Finally.” “It was the first time, as far as a major Hollywood film, where you had a Black writer who was a descendant of slaves,” said Gabriel, who teaches a course on slavery and film at the University of Connecticut.
To John F. Kelly: Read this before you utter another word about the Civil War
The Washington Post
Clearly some lessons in African American history are needed. Here is a short reading list, from Dexter Gabriel, an assistant professor in the history department at the University of Connecticut, who has a joint faculty appointment with the Africana Studies Institute. His research interests include the history of bondage, resistance and freedom in the “Black Atlantic,” as well as interdisciplinary approaches to slavery within popular culture and media...
The Trump administration has a lot to learn about African American history. Here’s a reading list.
The Washington Post
Clearly some lessons in African American history are needed. Here is a short reading list, from Dexter Gabriel, an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Connecticut, who has a joint faculty appointment with the Africana Studies Institute. His research interests include the history of bondage, resistance, and freedom in the “Black Atlantic,” as well as interdisciplinary approaches to slavery within popular culture and media...
Blood on the leaves
As Dexter Gabriel of the University of Connecticut says, cinematic slavery tends to reveal more about the filmmakers’ era than the antebellum one. He notes that today’s interest in rebel slaves, also manifest in the TV drama “Underground” and a slew of novels and plays, echoes that of the late 1960s and early 1970s, another period of black activism...
'12 Years a Slave' Seen as Turning Point in Films on Slavery
Voice Of America
Film historian Dexter Gabriel says the movie breaks new ground. “The movie does a very good job in exposing slavery, almost, in a sense, exposing the old films on slavery, the old plantation epics, exposing them for frauds," he said. Gabriel says movies like Gone with the Wind, in 1939, did a disservice because they painted a portrait of slaves living in harmony with their owners. Nostalgic tributes faded after the U.S. civil rights movement. In 1977, the TV miniseries Roots became the first attempt to reveal the brutality of slavery. But Gabriel says slavery was a small part of the story that looked at the African American experience as a whole...
Translating Trump through A Brief History of Black AmericaContemporary French and Francophone Studies
The history of Black people in America perhaps provides one of the best lenses to understand our current era. Contrary to popular sentiment, that history has not been some teleological march of progress. It has instead been a history of paradoxes and contradiction, of triumphs and setbacks, and one of ongoing perseverance against shifting forms of adversity, including the present presidency and what it carries in its wake.
A Voice for Trayvon MartinAmerican Book Review
2016 The death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial and acquittal of his admitted murderer, George Zimmerman, may be remembered by historians as the moment that defined a generation. President Barack Obama, in a rare reflection on race, called the shooting death a “tragedy” and claimed if he had a son, he would “look like Trayvon.” Mobilized black youth took to the streets in hoodies to march and stage sit-ins across the nation in what some called a new Civil Rights Movement. Three African-American women organizers, inspired by the sense of injustice at the outcome of the jury decision, began a hashtag called #blacklivesmatter that fast took on a life of its own.
A West Indian Jubilee in America: British Emancipation and the American Abolition MovementState University of New York at Stony Brook