Marjoleine Kars

Adjunct Professor

A native of the Netherlands, Marjoleine Kars works in the field of early modern Atlantic history, specifically resistance and revolution, slavery, and Dutch colonialism.

Her first book, Breaking Loose Together: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), examines the role of radial Protestantism in the Regulator Rebellion in pre-revolutionary North Carolina. Her second book, Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (New York: The New Press, 2020), investigates a massive and nearly successful slave rebellion in a Dutch colony (now Guyana) on the Caribbean coast of South America. The book was a NPR “Best Books for 2020,″ co-winner of the 2021 Frederick Douglass Prize and the winner of the 2021 Cundill History Book Prize.

With Michael McDonnell and Andrew Schocket, she is editing a three-volume work, The Cambridge History of the American Revolution, for Cambridge University Press. She serves as a senior editor of International Labor and Working-Class History. She is a regular reviewer for the Washington Post.

Her work has been supported by fellowships from NEH, the American Historical Association, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the John Carter Brown Library, the European University Institute, the Huntington Library, and the Dresher Center for the Humanities at UMBC.  Before coming to MIT, Professor Kars taught for 28 years at UMBC, where she was chair of the History Department from 2011-2018. In 2022, she received a University of Maryland Regents’ Award for Excellence in Research.

Professor Kars is currently at work on a biography of two eighteenth-century African men caught up in slavery and resistance in the Dutch Atlantic world. In 2022-2023 she will be working on this project with the help of an NEH fellowship and a fellowship at NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study). She will start teaching at MIT in August 2023.

Click here for a recent short article she wrote on archives, slave revolts, and colonialism. For an interview about Blood on the River, click here.