Matthew David Mitchell
Associate Professor of History
B.A., University of Washington; M.Litt, University of St Andrews; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Matthew David Mitchell teaches courses on all eras of the history of Britain and Ireland, with a particular focus on the early modern period (circa 1500 to 1850) and British commercial and colonial contacts with the Atlantic World. 

Before pursuing an academic career Mitchell earned an undergraduate degree in business concurrently with his bachelor’s in history, followed by employment in the auto-insurance industry.  While Mitchell loves the discipline of history for its own sake, he is also convinced that serious study in the liberal arts develops skills valuable in the post-college world of work, such as critical thinking, strategic analysis and planning, and persuasive speaking and writing.

Mitchell is the author of The Prince of Slavers, part of Palgrave Macmillan's series of Studies in the History of Finance. This is the first book ever to focus on the life and career of Humphry Morice, the largest-volume British slave trader of the first half of the eighteenth century, who bears the guilt of forcibly transporting over 30,000 enslaved Africans between 1704 and 1732.  Using Morice's papers in the Bank of England Archives, Mitchell shows how Morice's innovative methods propelled him to the first rank of slave traders, while bringing untold misery to the men, women, and children his captains imprisoned upon his ships.  Mitchell has also published on the takeover in 1720 of the Royal African Company by the "aristocratic corporate raider," the Duke of Chandos; on the Royal African Company's purchases of cloth from English manufacturers for West African consumer markets; and on the use of "fetish-oaths" as a means of sealing contracts between European and African traders. 

Office location: Walsh-Ellett 300

Course offerings at the University of the South

  • HIST 127: Atlantic Britons
  • HIST 205: History of Britain and Ireland I
  • HIST 206: History of Britain and Ireland II
  • HIST 234: British Reformations
  • HIST 403: Capitalism in Britain and the United States
  • HIST 410:  Five Centuries of Atlantic Slavery. 1400-1900

Selected Publications

  • The Prince of Slavers:  Humphry Morice and the Transformation of Britain's Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1698-1732 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)
  • "Business and Social Ordering" in A Cultural History of Business in the Enlightenment, eds. Siobhan Talbott and Caitlin Rosenthal (LondonL  Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
  • “Joint-Stock Companies and Atlantic Trading” in The Atlantic World, eds. D'Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard, & William O'Reilly (London: Routledge, 2014).
  • “Three English cloth towns and the Royal African Company,” Journal of the Historical Society 13, No. 4 (December 2013), pp. 421-447.
  • “Legitimate commerce” in the eighteenth century: the Royal African Company of England under the Duke of Chandos, 1720-1726,” Enterprise and Society 14, No. 3 (September 2013), pp. 544-578.
  • “The fetish and intercultural commerce in seventeenth-century West Africa,” Itinerario 36, No. 1 (2012), pp. 7-21.

Selected Professional Activities

  • Executive Committee, Southern Conference on British Studies
  • Faculty adviser, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, Alpha Delta Gamma chapter
  • Educator Advisory Team, Tennessee State Board of Education Social Studies Standards Review, 2016
  • Appalachian College Association Faculty Fellowship and Kennedy Endowed Faculty Fellowship