Northern Illinois University

Department of History

Rachel Hope Cleves
Assistant Professor

Fields of Study: United States-Colonial/Revolutionary, United States-19th Century, Atlantic World, Comparative/Migration/Transnational, Cultural/Intellectual, Gender, Sexuality and Women, Religion, Violence

E-mail:  rcleves@niu.edu
Phone: 815-753-6659
Office: Zulauf 714

Education: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2005

Current Research: I am currently at work preparing my manuscript, Mortal Eloquence: Violence, Slavery, and Anti-Jacobinism in the Early American Republic, for publication by Cambridge University Press.  Mortal Eloquence examines the American reaction to the violence of the French Revolution.  The book rediscovers the vital role that the fear of French violence played in the genesis of American abolitionism, the anti-war movement, and support for public education.  I also have a second book project, tentatively titled Charity and Sylvia: Women’s Love and Letters on the Vermont Frontier, which is a microhistory about two women who lived together in a romantic union during the first half of the Nineteenth Century.

My research has been funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the Gilder Lehrman Institute; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and by grants from Northern Illinois University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Major/Recent Publications:

  • Mortal Eloquence: Violence, Slavery, and Anti-Jacobinism in the Early American Republic (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
  • “On Writing the History of Violence” Journal of the Early Republic 24 (Winter 2004): 641-665.

Teaching Interests: My teaching interests are chronological, thematic, and methodological.  I like to teach lower-division and upper-division courses on early America, ranging from surveys to more tightly focused courses on the revolutionary era, the early American republic, and the antebellum era.  I also teach a thematic course on the History of Violence that covers over 400 years of North American history, and incorporates material from Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.  I hope to teach a similar thematic course on the History of Sexuality in the future. Lastly, I am interested in teaching methodological courses on history writing, that promote the creative potentials of the discipline.

Courses Taught:

  • HIST 260 America to 1865
  • HIST 461 Revolutionary America
  • HIST 462 Early American Republic
  • HIST 463 Antebellum United States
  • HIST 491 Senior Research Seminar
  • HIST 498 Creative History Writing
  • HIST 510 American Violence, 1600-2001

Link to CV | Link to Personal Website