Department of History

Alexandra Finley

  • Assistant Professor


Early American History
African American History
Women and Gender
Comparative Slavery
History of Capitalism


African American History
Women and Gender
Southern History

Education & Training

  • PhD, College of William & Mary, 2017

Representative Publications

“’Cash to Corinna’: Domestic Labor and Sexual Economy in the ‘Fancy Trade,’” Journal of American History 104 no. 2 (September 2017), 410-430.

Research Interests

My research explores the relationship of capitalism to slavery and women’s labor, engaging the fields of African American history, the history of slavery, women’s history, and labor history. Iconsider the actions of women within the antebellum slave market. My research not only illustrates that women’s domestic labor was neither obvious nor natural, it also connects women to the study of more traditional economic questions. That women sewed and cooked for slave traders, or that enslaved women were sold in terms of sexual availability, is not a given but a product of specific discourses about the biological roots of race and gender. And the fact that women performed this work either for free as wives and/or slaves, or for cash amounts that varied according not to the labor performed but rather to the legal and racial status of the laborer, served the interests of slave traders and enslavers more broadly. Just as in other markets, the traditionally feminine household economy, including domestic, reproductive, and sexual labor, supported and intersected with the male-oriented financial economy of the slave market.