Mélanie Lamotte is an assistant professor and Andrew W. Mellon Junior Professor at Tulane University. She is a historian of race and colonialism in the early modern period. Her work focuses on the French colonial world, with a concentration on Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, French Louisiana, and Île Bourbon, in the southwest Indian Ocean.
Lamotte is now working on a new research project on the material lives of the enslaved in the 17th- and 18th-century French Atlantic and Indian Oceans, titled Freedom in Chains: The Material Life of the Enslaved in the Early French Empire (Harvard University Press, forthcoming). She is also coediting a collective volume titled Colonisation: Notre Histoire (Éditions du Seuil, 2022).
Lamotte received her PhD from the University of Cambridge. The title of her monograph is “Making Race: Policy, Sex, and Social Order in the French Atlantic and Indian Oceans, c. 1608–1756.” Currently under review, this book is the first pan-imperial study of the early modern French empire in the Anglo-American historiography. It focuses on the racialization of French colonial policies targeting the peoples of African, Amerindian, Malagasy, and South Asian descent and assesses their impact on social relations. Her research projects have been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom, the Humanities Research Centre of the Australia National University, the Isaac Newton Trust, the John Carter Brown Library, the Joint Center for History and Economics, the Library of Congress, and the Newberry.