Katherine Chilton




Carnegie Mellon University, 2009.


University of Sussex, 2001.


University College London, 2000.

Office: DMH 237B

Email: katherine.chilton@sjsu.edu

Areas of Interest

  • African American History
  • U.S. Women's History
  • History of Slavery and Emancipation



“‘The Proceeds of My Own Labor’: Gender and the Reconstruction of Urban Free Labor in the District of Columbia” in Karen Cook Bell and Sharita Jacobs Thompson eds. Gendering the Civil War and Reconstruction: Explorations of Difference in the Southern United States (University Press of Florida, expected 2017)

“City of Refuge: Urban Labor, Gender, and Family Formation during Slavery and the Transition to Freedom in the District of Columbia, 1820-1875” (Ph.D. Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, 2009)


Selected Honors

Gilder Lehrman Dissertation Fellowship for Research in American History, (for research at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York), 2007

Pre-doctoral Fellow, Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE), Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2006-2007

Frances Lewis Fellowship in Gender and Women’s Studies, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia, 2006



I am originally from the small island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, which is part of Great Britain, but my interests in the history of the United States have led me on an interesting journey from there to Silicon Valley.   I completed my Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009 and before moving to San Jose I taught at a small liberal arts college in St Paul, Minnesota.  My research focuses on urban slavery and emancipation in the District of Columbia, particularly the experience of women and their interactions with the Freedman’s Bureau.  As a teacher, I therefore emphasize in all my classes how the experiences of ordinary Americans have shaped the economic and political development of the United States and how the social and policy decisions of government and elites have affected the lives of all citizens.