Texas Tech University

Abigail Swingen

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

Email: Abigail.Swingen@ttu.edu

Office: 47 Holden Hall

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Dr. Swingen’s 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.  Her latest book project, “The Financial Revolution and the British Empire in the 17th and 18th Centuries” explores the connections between the emergence of Britain as a financial capitalist economy, the development of public credit and the national debt, and the origins of the British empire in the early modern period.  This project has received financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend Program (2017), the Huntington Library Travel Grants (2017), and the Scholar Catalyst Program from the Office of Vice President for Research at TTU (2015 and 2017).

Dr. Swingen’s first 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.  The book won the Second Place President’s Faculty Book Award at Texas Tech for 2017.  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 Europe, 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.

Dr. Swingen teaches courses in early modern British and European history, the Atlantic World, and Western Civilization at TTU.  In 2014, she received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award from Texas Tech.  She 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 Auburn University.

Abigail Swingen

Published Works

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

Competing Visions of empire, labor, slavery, 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.

Learn more at Yale Press.