FARMINGTON — Michael Schoeppner, a University of Maine at Farmington assistant professor of history, has been awarded the 2017 Hines Prize by the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program.

The Hines Prize is awarded to the best new scholarly publication by a first-time author relating to any aspect of the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World.

Schoeppner’s manuscript, “Regulating Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebellum America,” is notable as the first to examine the role of the Negro Seaman Acts in the Atlantic World. It highlights the pivotal role that African-Americans, especially maritime workers, played in the development of federal citizenship rights.

Though this right is not spelled out in the Constitution, free black sailors claimed their American citizenship made them immune to state laws limiting their movement. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court declared this a fundamental right of citizenship.

At UMF since 2013, Schoeppner teaches courses in legal history, the history of race and the interactions of the U.S. with the outside world. He recently received a grant from the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation to continue his work on borders and race in American history.

Michael Schoeppner


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