Zach Sell

Contact Information

309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

  • African American History
  • South Asian History
  • Historical Critique of Capitalism
  • Marxism
  • Empire and Colonialism

Research Description

“Slavery Beyond Slavery: The American South, British Imperialism, and the Circuits of Capital, 1833–1873”

W.E.B. Du Bois noted that the nineteenth century U.S. slave plantation corresponded with the factory in its “worst conceivable form.” This dissertation expands upon Du Bois’s insight to consider the variety of ways that U.S. slavery intensified and transformed the exploitation of labor on a global scale and especially within the British Empire. Drawing upon archives in Belize, India, England, and the United States, “Slavery Beyond Slavery” delineates the wealth, misery, and dreams of escape that emerged through the circuits of capital in the Age of Emancipation.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Worst Conceivable Form: Race, Global Capital, and The Making of the English Working Class Historical Reflections/ Réflexions Historiques 41 1 2015, p. 54-69.


Race in Translation: Culture Wars around the Postcolonial Atlantic. National Identities 16 1 2014, p. 93-95.
Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882-1923. Callaloo 25 2 2012, p. 833-35.
The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber. Marx & Philosophy Review of Books 2012, p.
Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in America's Bloodiest Conflict. Ethnic and Racial Studies 35 2 2012, p. 353-54.
Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee. Milwaukee County History 2 1 2012, p. 253-54.

Encyclopedia Entries

Capitalism The Encyclopedia of Race and Racism 2nd ed. Farmington Hills Gale Cengage 2013.