Manisha Sinha is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests lie in the transnational histories of slavery, abolition, and feminism and in the history and legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and the multiple-award-winning The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016).
As the Mellon-Schlesinger fellow during the 2019–2020 academic year, she plans to research and write a long history on the 19th Amendment, tracing its roots to abolitionist feminism and to progressive constitutionalism and the use of the law as an instrument of liberation during Reconstruction. This project employs a “Greater Reconstruction” framework to elucidate debates over gender, labor, race, and democratic citizenship in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Sinha was born in India and received her PhD from Columbia University, where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft Prize. The Slave’s Cause won the 19th annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, among other awards, and was longlisted for the National Book Award for nonfiction. Sinha is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including two yearlong National Endowment of the Humanities research fellowships. In 2018, she was a visiting professor at the Université Paris Diderot, and in 2017, she was named to the “Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond” list by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.