Mary Dewhurst Lewis is a professor of history at Harvard University and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Law School. Her work has ranged from questions of immigrant rights in 20th-century France to the nature of French colonial rule in North Africa and the Caribbean since the late 18th century.
During the fellowship, Lewis is launching a new project on the transformation of France’s Atlantic empire after the loss of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). She is interested in following the trajectories of people, companies, networks, and investments that abandoned Saint-Domingue/Haiti and in exploring the new business ventures, trading partners, and relationships that emerged in the century following 1804. At the same time, she also considers how the French government worked to maintain and expand slave-labor economies in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guyana for nearly another half-century.
Lewis has been awarded such major grants as the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. Her first book, The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918–1940 (Stanford University Press, 2007), was a cowinner of the 2008 J. Willard Hurst Prize, for sociolegal history. Lewis earned her PhD in history and French studies from New York University.