Cory James Young

Assistant Professor

Drop-in hours: Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., or by appointment

Dr. Cory James Young is a historian of abolition and slavery in the American North.

Dr. Young earned a BA in history from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo. He earned a PhD in history at Georgetown University. In 2022, he won the Best Dissertation Prize from the Society for the History of the Early American Republic. His research has been supported by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Philadelphia, and McNeil Center for Early American Studies, among other institutions. As postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he was responsible for managing Katrina Jagodinsky’s digital history project, “Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West, 1812-1924."

Dr. Young's book manuscript, “For Life or Otherwise: Pennsylvania Slavery in the Age of Gradual Abolition,” under advance contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press, contends that the first US state to enact an abolition program implemented a slavery regime as well as an emancipation scheme. It examines how enslavers refashioned bondage in the early republic, describes the material consequences of their actions, and centers how Black communities responded to these ongoing and novel forms of oppression. An ongoing and related digital history project, “A Just and True Return,” will transcribe, preserve, and contextualize Pennsylvania’s surviving county slave registries.

Awards and service

  • 2023 - Advisory Board Member
    “Dangerous Harbor: Finding Escaped Unfree Laborers in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake,” NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grant, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 2023 - Outstanding Postdoc Award (Finalist)
    Awarded by the University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • 2022 - Best Dissertation Prize
    Awarded by the Society for the History of the Early American Republic


Research areas
  • Abolition and Slavery
  • African American Studies
  • The Early American Republic
  • Legal History
Cory Young portrait

310 Schaeffer Hall (SH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States