Skip to main content

Dr. David Ryden

Dr. David Ryden

Dr. David Ryden

Professor of HistoryHistory, Humanities, and Languages


David Ryden began teaching at UHD in 2001, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Brunel University in London, UK. He has served as Interim Director of UHD's Learners' Community (2003-04), coordinator of the history program (2011-13), Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (2013-20), Interim Dean of CHSS (2020-2021), and is now Director of the History Graduate Certificate Program. Dr. Ryden teaches courses on Colonial American History, Slavery, Abolition, British History, and U.S. History.

Degrees Earned

1999 PhD in History, University of Minnesota
1993 MA in Economics, University of Delaware
1990 BA in Economics and History, Connecticut College

Courses Taught

  • UHD 1306 Freshmen Seminar: Slavery and its Legacies
  • HIST 1305 United States History to 1877
  • HIST 3330 Colonization of British America
  • HIST 3333 Comparative Antislavery Movements
  • HIST 3334 Britain and its Empire
  • HIST 4320 Slavery in the Americas
  • HIST 5304 From Colonization to Revolution, 1607 - ca 1800

Experience Qualifications

David Ryden is an economic, quantitative, and social historian whose research focuses on British American slavery in the Age of Revolution. He is author of the internationally recognize book, West Indian Slavery and British Abolition (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which was designated an Outstanding Academic Title by the ALA's Choice magazine. He has made presentations at various centers for Atlantic World research, including the John Carter Brown Library (Brown University), the Institute of Historical Research (University of London), St. Catherine's College (Oxford University), the University of Minnesota, and the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilizations (Binghamton University). In addition to his book, he has authored/co-authored 10 research articles, 3 book chapters, 2 technical publications, and 29 reviews articles and book reviews. He is also editor of a collection of pamphlets concerned with the defense of slavery in the age of abolition, published by Pickering and Chatto (2003). His research on the West Indian Sugar lobby is ongoing and he most recently published an article on manumission (pdf) and race in late-eighteenth century Jamaica. Presently, he and three other UHD co-editors are in the final phases of publishing Critical Race Studies Across the Disciplines. Ryden teaches courses on Colonial American History, Slavery in the Americas, Abolition, British History, and U.S. History and collaborated with his colleagues in the development and launching of the 18 SCH Graduate Certificate, in History, which serves Houston-area high school and community college teachers

Teaching Experience:

  • Associate Dean of CHSS (since Sept. 2013-present)
  • Professor of History (since Sept. 2013); Associate Professor (2007-2013); Assistant Professor (2001-2007). UHD.
  • Lecturer [equivalent to Assistant Professor] (Sept. 2000-July 2001), Department of American Studies and History, Brunel University, London.

More Information

Dr. Ryden's research interest focuses upon slavery in the age of Revolution. He is author of the internationally recognized book, West Indian Slavery and British Abolition (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the political and economic motivations behind the final decision to abolish the British slave trade in 1807. He has made presentations on slavery and abolition at a number of centers for Atlantic World research, including the John Carter Brown Library (Brown University), Columbia University, the Institute of Historical Research (University of London), Oxford University, the University of Minnesota, and, most recently, the University of the West Indies, Mona. Presently, he is continuing his research on the West India sugar lobby as well as beginning new research on the port of Galveston and its maritime community.

Select Publications


West Indian Slavery and British Abolition, 1783-1807 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Co-Edited Book

Critical Race Studies across the Disciplines, eds. Jonathan Chism, Stacie Craft DeFreitas, Vida Robertson, and David B. Ryden.

Book Chapter

"Anthony Benezet, James Ramsay, and the Political Economic Attack on the British Slave Trade," in The Atlantic World: Essays on Slavery, Migration and Imgination, second edition, eds. Willem Klooster and Alred Padula (Abington: Routledge 2018).

"Maroon War, Peace, and Removal in the Eighteenth Century (Jamaica)," Jean Moomou ed., Sociétés marronnes des Amériques. Mémoires, patrimoines, identités et histoire XVIIe au XXe siècles 6 (Matoury, Guyane: IBIS Rouge Editions, 2015), 153-166.


"Manumission in Late Eighteenth-Century Jamaica," New West Indian Guide 92:3-4 (2018): 211-244."Galveston's Maritime Workers in 1880: A Quantitative View," East Texas Historical Journal 56:1 (2018): 40-54.

"'One of the finest and most fruitful spots in America:' An Analysis of Cotton Monoculture in Late-Eighteenth Century Carriacou," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 43:4 (2013): 539-570.

Spokesmen for Oppression: Stephen Fuller, the Jamaica Assembly, and the London West India Interest during Popular Abolitionism, 1788-1795," Jamaican Historical Review, 26 (2013): 5-28.

"Sugar, Land Markets, and the Williams Thesis: Evidence from Jamaica's Property Sales, 1750-1810," co-authored with Ahmed Reid, Slavery and Abolition 34:3 (2013): 401-24.


West Indian Slavery and British Abolition designated an "Outstanding Academic Title" by the American Library Association's Choice magazine, 2009.

Marie L. and William R. Harland Memorial Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University Jacob Price Visiting Research Fellowship, William L. Clements Library of Early Americana, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2003.

Economic History Association's Arthur H. Cole Grant-in-Aid funded research in London, England, 2002.

Finalist for the Alexander Gerschenkron Prize given by the Economic History Association for the best dissertation in economic history, 2000.

People's Choice Award, Annual Quantitative History Poster Session, Department of History, University of Minnesota, 1995.

Full tuition scholarship to attend the University of Delaware, College of Business and Economics, 1991-2.