Department of History

Alexandra Finley

  • Assistant Professor


African American History
History of Capitalism
Women and Gender
​US South


African American History I
​Gender and Sexuality to 1865
History of the South to the 1880s
​Introductory Writing Seminar
​Worker in American History

Education & Training

  • PhD, College of William & Mary, 2017
  • MA, College of William & Mary, 2012
  • BA, The Ohio State University

Representative Publications

An Intimate Economy: Enslaved Women, Work, and America's Domestic Slave Trade.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, August 2020.

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

"A Gentleman and a Scoundrel? Alexander McDonald, Financial Reputation, and Slavery's Capitalism" in Jeff Forret and Bruce Baker, eds. Southern Scoundrels: Grifters and Graft in the Nineteenth Century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2021.

"Women's household labor is essential. Why isn't it valued? Covid-10 has exposed enduring inequality in domestic divisions of labor." Made By History for the Washington Post (May 29, 2020)

Research Interests

I am interested in the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in American society, particularly as these concepts relate to the economy and work. My book, An Intimate Economy, uses case studies of enslaved women in the domestic slave trade to show the the foundational role that women's domestic, sexual, and reproductive labor played in the development of capitalism in the United States. My next project continues to engage histories of household work in early America, focusing on the place of domestic labor in the marketplace of Atlantic port cities.