Texas Tech University

Abigail Swingen

Abigail Swingen

Associate Professor - Early Modern Britain, British Transatlantic Empire, Political Economy, Early Modern Europe, Colonial Caribbean and North America

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Dr. Swingen teaches courses in early modern British and European history, the Atlantic World, and Western Civilization at TTU.

Her book, Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire (Yale University Press, 2015), explores how English politics and ideas of political economy influenced the development of African slavery and other forms of coerced labor in England’s West Indies colonies during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. She is also the author of “Labor: Employment, Colonial Servitude, and Slavery in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic” in the volume Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire, edited by Philip Stern and Carl Wennerlind (Oxford University Press, 2013). In 2011-2012, she was a Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellow in residence at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. She has received many additional fellowships and awards, including the Frederick A. and Marion S. Pottle Fellowship in 18th-century British Studies from the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the University of Chicago Social Sciences Divisional Dissertation Teaching and Research Fellowship, the University of Chicago Nicholson Center for British Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, and the North American Conference on British Studies/Huntington Library Fellowship. She has presented at a variety of conferences and workshops in the U.S. and Britain, including the NACBS, Early Modern Studies Institute of the University of Southern California, the British Historical Studies Colloquium at Yale University, the British Scholar Conference, the Institute of Historical Research in London, and the German-American Frontiers of the Humanities conference at the American Philosophical Society. Her research interests include the origins and consequences of England’s Financial Revolution, the development of the British transatlantic empire, ideas of political economy, labor and slavery in the early modern world, and the development of early modern political culture.

Dr. Swingen received her B.A. in history with honors from Swarthmore College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before coming to Texas Tech, Dr. Swingen taught at the University of Chicago and Auburn University.

Published Works

Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire

Abigail L. Swingen’s insightful study provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British empire while exploring how England’s original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies—particularly the use of enslaved Africans—and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, the author examines the overlapping and often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Competing Visions of empire, labor, slavery, British Atlantic Empire

Learn more at Yale Press.

Contact Information

Email: Abigail.Swingen@ttu.edu
Office: 47 Holden Hall


Department of History