Dr James Campbell

Associate Professor of American History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2583



I received my Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Nottingham for a dissertation on crime and punishment in nineteenth century Virginia. I was appointed the same year as New Directions Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and I joined the University of Leicester in 2007. My teaching focuses on US history and covers topics from the colonial period to the present, while my research investigates histories of criminal justice in the United States the Caribbean and the British Empire. I have published widely on these subjects - including two monographs and a prize-winning article on the death penalty in Jamaica - and my work has been funded by organisations including the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


My research focuses on criminal justice history in the United States, the Caribbean and the British Empire and has been funded by institutions including the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. My first book, Slavery on Trial, looked at policing criminal trials and punishments in nineteenth century Richmond, Virginia, and my second book Crime and Punishment in African American History traced the Black experience of US law enforcement from the Revolutionary-era to the early twenty-first century. I have edited books on the Reconstruction era in the United States and transnational histories of crime and punishment and written articles and book chapters on topics ranging from parole in 1920s New York to the policing of slavery in Brazil. In 2016 I was awarded the American Society for Legal History’s Surrency Prize for an article on death penalty law in Jamaica from the late-19th century to the 1940s. I am currently working on two book length projects. The first is a study of capital punishment in British Overseas Territories since the 1960s and the second is an edited volume for Routledge on the history of crime in America.




Campbell, J.M. and Miller V., eds. (2014) Transnational Penal Cultures: New Perspectives on Discipline, Punishment and Desistance (Routledge). ISBN10: 0415741319 ISBN13: 978-0415741316

Campbell J.M. (2012) Crime and Punishment in African American History (Palgrave). ISBN13: 9780230273801

Campbell J.M. and Fraser, R., eds. (2008) Reconstruction: People and Perspectives (ABC-Clio). ISBN13: 978-1-59884-021-6

Campbell J.M. (2007) Slavery on Trial: Race, Class, and Criminal Justice in Antebellum Richmond, Virginia (University Press of Florida). ISBN13: 978-0-8130-3091-3

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Campbell JM (2017) Death Row Resistance, Politics and Capital Punishment in 1970s Jamaica. Crime, History & Societies, 21 (1).

Campbell JM (2015) Murder Appeals, Delayed Executions, and the Origins of Jamaican Death Penalty Jurisprudence. Law and History Review, 33 (2), pp. 435-466

Campbell, J. M. (2014) "At “war against our institutions”: Cultures of Policing and Punishment in the Slave Cities of the United States and Brazil" in Vivien Miller and James Campbell eds. Transnational Penal Cultures: New Perspectives on Discipline, Punishment and Desistance (Routledge).

Campbell J (2013) The death of Frank Wilson: Race, crime, and punishment in post-civil war Pennsylvania. American Nineteenth Century History, 14 (3), pp. 305-323 10.1080/14664658.2013.830385

Campbell, J. M. (2013) “African Americans in Freedom.” In Hadden and Brophy, eds. A Companion to American Legal History (Blackwell).

Campbell JM (2011) African Americans and Parole in Depression Era New York. Historical Journal, 54 (4), pp. 1065-1086

Campbell, J. M. (2011) Richmond (Va.), 1790-1828. In Richardson Dilworth, ed., Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press).

Campbell JM (2010) You needn't be afraid here; you're in a civilized country: Region, racial violence, and law enforcement in early twentieth-century New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Social History, 35, pp. 253-67

Campbell, J. M. (2008) African Americans in Southern Cities. In Campbell and Fraser, eds. Reconstruction: People and Perspectives in American Social History. (ABC-CLIO).

Campbell, J. M. (2005) ‘‘The victim of prejudice and hasty consideration’: Urban Slave Society and the Slave Trial System in Richmond, Virginia, 1830-1861.’  Slavery and Abolition, 26, 1, pp. 71-92.

Campbell JM (2004) A Murderer of a somewhat dark complexion: Criminal Justice and Constructions of Race in Antebellum Virginia. American Nineteenth Century History, 5 (3), pp. 28-49 10.1080/1466465042000302755

Campbell, J. M. (2003) African American Victims and Responses to Crime in Antebellum Richmond, Virginia.  US Studies Online, 3..



I welcome PhD applications in the following subject areas: histories of the death penalty, slavery in the Americas, nineteenth century US political and social history (including the Civil War and Reconstruction) and crime and punishment in the United States and from comparative perspectives.


My teaching focuses on US history and covers topics from the colonial period to the present. Recent and current undergraduate modules on which I teach include: Crime and Punishment in African American History Slavery the Civil War and Reconstruction in US History and Memory Histories of Violence. At postgraduate level I coordinate and teach on American Freedom? Rhetoric and Reality in the United States and the core module Historical Research Historical Writing.

Press and media

Capital punishment in British Overseas Territories.
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