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Barbara Krauthamer

Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and Professor of History

Portrait of Barbara Krauthamer

401 South College

Professor Barbara Krauthamer is an eminent historian of slavery and emancipation in the 19th century American South, a devoted mentor, and an innovative leader. A member of the Department of History faculty since 2008, Barbara was named Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts in 2020.  In this role, she has supported the expansion of programs to support faculty research, increase funding and resources for underrepresented students, and promote curricular innovation.  She previously served as Dean of the Graduate School from 2017 to 2020 and Associate Dean of the Graduate School from 2015 to 2017.  In those roles, she created multiple fellowship and mentoring programs designed to support the recruitment and retention of traditionally underrepresented graduate students.  

As a faculty member, Professor Krauthamer has worked closely with master’s and doctoral students in History as well as Afro-American Studies; Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, and other departments across campus. She served for a number of years on the History Department’s graduate studies committee and held the position of graduate program director for two years. During her time in that role, she worked to promote diversity in the department and implemented changes to the admissions and funding process that expanded resources for doctoral students.

Barbara is widely recognized as a leading historian of African American slavery and emancipation in the United States. Her published work includes Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. She is the co-author of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, which received a number of honors, most notably the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Non-fiction. Most recently, she co-edited the textbook Major Problems in African American History, one of the leading textbooks in the field. She has authored numerous articles, curated exhibits and written pieces for general audiences. She appears in the award-winning documentary film Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. Her research and books have been profiled in many media outlets, including the New York Times, CBS Evening News, National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, and CNN as well as in media outlets in the U.K., France and Italy.

Barbara also has a long record of academic service on and off campus.  In 2017, she received the Lorraine A. Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians in recognition of both her scholarship and her work to create opportunities for Black women in higher education. She served as president of the Southern Association of Women Historians and has held leadership positions in professional organizations, including the Association of Black Women Historians, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and the Southern Historical Association.  She currently serves on the Massachusetts Women’s Network of the American Council on Education.

Barbara has received awards and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities; Stanford University’s Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity; Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition; the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin; and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She also sits on the boards of the Berkshire Museum and the Samuel Harrison Society, both in Pittsfield.

She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and her Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Research Areas

19th century United States history
Antebellum, slavery, and emancipation
African American history
Native American history
Critical race and gender theory


Major Problems in African American History. Cengage, 2017. Co-edited with Dr. Chad Williams.

Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery. Temple University Press, 2013. Co-authored with Professor Deborah Willis.