About me.

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I am a historian of race, slavery, and commodification in the early modern Atlantic. My research traces the intertwined development of political economy, diplomacy, and race in West Africa, the Caribbean, the British Isles, and North America in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. At base, my work explores how women, children, and men – from enslaved laborers, to Indigenous warriors, to merchants, to diplomats – hailing from each of these geographies made and contested value during the growth of Atlantic slaveries. An article exemplifying my approach has recently been published in Past & Present. “Alcohol Diplomacy, Gender and Power in the Late Seventeenth-Century Gold Coast Slaving Complex,” is Open Access and available here.

I am a research fellow at Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge, where I am currently working on my first book. Liquid Capital: Alcohol and the Rise of Slavery in the British Atlantic, 1580-1737 moves through Ireland, West Africa, the slaving ship, the Caribbean, and the Native Southeast to argue for the diplomatic, social, and economic importance of alcohol to the growth of a British empire premised in Indigenous dispossession and chattel slavery. At the same time, my work is equally concerned with foregrounding how African, African-descended, and Indigenous peoples mobilized alcohol to destabilize English control in line with their own conceptualizations of this intoxicant’s value.  Liquid Capital has been generously supported by the OI-NEH SHARP Fellowship, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Doris Quinn Foundation, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and the Huntington Library, among others.

Before coming to Caius, I was a Research Fellow with the AHRC-funded Legacies of the British Slave Trade Project, based in the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery at University College London. My work on women who invested in transatlantic slavery from 1580-1807 is still ongoing with the project. Prior to this post, I was a Research Fellow with the Atlantic Slavery and its Afterlives Program at New York University under Professor Jennifer L. Morgan. I am also an incoming Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, commencing January 2023. I received my PhD in History from New York University in 2021, where I had the privilege to be trained in the Atlantic History program. I completed my BA in History and English Literature at the State University of New York at Geneseo, where I graduated summa cum laude.

Outside of formal academia, I am a founding editor of Insurrect!: Radical Thinking in Early American Studies, a publication that seeks to highlight early career and non-traditional scholars writing anti-racist, anti-colonial histories for a broad readership.

Writing & More.

” Alcohol Diplomacy, Gender and Power in the Late Seventeenth-Century Gold Coast Slaving Complex,” Past & Present, https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtad020

Alcohol, Armies, and Contested Sovereignty in Early Modern Ireland,” The Collation, February 2022.

Toppling Colston, Centering Black Lives,Insurrect! Radical Thinking in Early American Studies, August 2020.

“Alcohol and the Contested Politics of Space in the Early Leeward Islands,” Talk for Intoxicating Spaces Project, October 2021.


For a complete CV, please email me.


For professional inquires, please email me at loc24@cam.ac.uk. You can also find me very sporadically at @Lila_Chambers.

Faculty pages can be found here and here.

For questions about Insurrect!, please contact insurrect.history@gmail.com.