Pragmatism Turns to Passion in the History Department
For Christopher Cameron ’06, the decision to become a history major was a pragmatic one, at first.
"I was interested in going to law school," he says. "And saw that most law students majored in history or political science."
So he took a few classes and discovered he liked them, a lot. He fell in love with the subject and quickly abandoned plans for law. And then, he caught the research bug.
"I was able to do seven independent research courses while I was at KSC, so the department is really conducive to someone like me who is self-motivated," he said.
At the same time, Cameron says the small class sizes and willingness of faculty to mentor and advise students were strengths of the department.
"There weren’t a lot of students in many of my classes; I didn’t have any large lecture courses," Cameron said. "So professors had time for you individually. You know they are always in their office, they’re always around campus. They’re always willing to redraft a paper ahead of time and give you critiques if you’re willing to put in the work. So that just kind of one-on-one interaction was really helpful."
After his experience at KSC, this would-be lawyer became a historian and it’s kept him busy since graduating in 2006.
He received his MA and PhD in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then took a position as an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Cameron’s research and teaching interests include early American history, the history of slavery and abolition, and American religious and intellectual history. His first book was entitled To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement and explores the influence of Puritan religious ideas on black political ideology and the impact that African Americans in Massachusetts had on the development of the larger northern antislavery movement. His article, “The Puritan Origins of Black Abolitionism in Massachusetts,” recently appeared in the Historical Journal of Massachusetts 39 (Summer 2011): 79–107.
Cameron is on sabbatical from his teaching position and working on a fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society where he’s doing research for a book on religion and slavery. He’s also working on a book about African American freethinkers from the early 19th century to present.