UMF faculty member awarded College of Charleston’s prestigious Hines Prize for 2017

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Michael Schoeppner, UMF assistant professor of history

FARMINGTON – Michael Schoeppner, UMF assistant professor of history, has been awarded the 2017 Hines Prize by the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowlands and Atlantic World program. The Hines Prize is awarded to the best new scholarly publication by a first-time author relating to any aspect of the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with this wonderful award,” said Schoeppner. “I am familiar with some of the recent Hines-Prize winners, and I’m thrilled to have my research mentioned alongside theirs.”

Schoeppner’s manuscript, “Regulating Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebel-lum America”, is notable as it is the first to examine the role of the Negro Seaman Acts in the Atlantic World. It highlights the pivotal role that African-Americans, especially maritime workers, played in the development of federal citizenship rights.

Though this right is not spelled out in the Constitution, free black sailors claimed their American citizenship made them immune to state laws limiting their movement. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court declared this a fundamental right of citizenship.

Schoeppner’s book will be published by Cambridge University Press—the world’s oldest publishing house that published its first book in 1584.

The prize, endowed by former College of Charleston Dean Samuel Hines, is awarded every other year for the best first manuscript on a topic relating to the Carolina Lowcountry and/or Atlantic World.

At UMF since 2013, Schoeppner teaches courses in legal history, the history of race and the interactions of the U.S. with the outside world. He recently received a grant from the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation to continue his work on borders and race in American history.

Schoeppner has won fellowships and awards from the American Society for Legal History, the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School and was invited to the Atlantic History Seminar at Harvard. He has published in a number of venues, including the Journal of American History and Law & History Review.

He received his Ph.D in American history from the University of Florida.

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