portrait of black woman with shoulder length hair in black turtleneck sweater and blazer.
  • Assistant Professor of History and Comparative American Studies


  • PhD, University of Virginia
  • MA, University of Virginia
  • MA, Columbia University
  • BA, Miami University (Ohio)


Tamika Nunley is an assistant professor of American history at Oberlin College. Her research and teaching interests include slavery, gender, 19th-century legal history, digital history, early America and the American Civil War.

At Oberlin, she created the History Design Lab that allows students to develop scholarly projects that involve methodological approaches such as digital humanities, public history, creative nonfiction, and curatorial practices.

Her book, At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Self-making in Washington, D.C., which examines African American women’s strategies of self-definition in the contexts of slavery, fugitivity, courts, schools, streets, and the government during the Civil War era, is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press.

She is the author of essays and articles featured in William & Mary Quarterly, the American Journal of Legal History, and the Journal of Southern History. She serves on the editorial board of Civil War History. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon and Woodrow Wilson foundations as well as the American Association of University Women.

  • At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Self-Making in Washington, D.C. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, under contract and forthcoming, February 2021)
  • “Thrice Condemned: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Practice of Leniency in Antebellum Virginia Courts,” Journal of Southern History 87, No. 1 (forthcoming, February 2021)
  • “The New Civil War Revisionism,” with Edward L. Ayers, Gregory Downs, Daniel Crofts, Christopher Phillips, and Matthew E. Stanley, Civil War History 65, No. 4 (December 2019)
  • “’I Know What Liberty Is’: Elizabeth Keckly’s Union War” New Perspectives on the Union War eds. Gary Gallagher and Elizabeth Varon in The North’s Civil War Series (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019)
  • “By Stealth’ or Dispute: Freedwomen and the Contestation of American Citizenship” in The Civil War and the Transformation of the American Citizenship, ed. Paul Quigley (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2018)
  • “Teaching in Climes of Unrest: BLM, Slavery, and the Intellectual Underpinnings of Student Protest at Oberlin” in The Panorama, a digital publication of the Journal of the Early Republic (Aug. 21, 2017)

  • Loren Schweninger, Appealing for Liberty: Freedom Suits in the South (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018) William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 76, No.3 (July 2019).
  • Tera Hunter, Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017) in American Journal of Legal History 58, no.1 (spring 2018).
  • Amber D. Moulton, The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). Journal of the Civil War Era Vol. 6, Issue 4 December 2016.
  • Jessica Millward, Finding Charity’s Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015) Civil War Book Review August 2016.


  • Tamika Nunley Gives Talk at American Civil War Museum

    February 21, 2020

    Assistant Professor of History and Comparative American Studies Tamika Nunley gave a talk on Feb. 22 titled, “(Freed) Women: Mobilizing Emancipation, Citizenship, and Self-making in Wartime Washington, DC” at the American Civil War Museum. The talk airs on C-span in spring 2020.


This Week in Photos: March 11

March 11, 2020
Women’s suffrage is recognized, the Arts and Sciences Orchestra performs, entrepreneurs pitch business ideas for prizes, and a podcasting/journalism rockstar shares his recipe for success.

This Week in Photos: March 4

March 4, 2020
Alumni journalist and authors, the first black woman to stage an opera in the United States is honored, and TIMARA students who turn words of gratitude into works of audible art at a nearby hospital are just some of the features in this week’s photo series.

A Conversation with Phlox Ensemble Conductor Sophia Bass

January 30, 2020
The Phlox ensemble, an orchestra and choir promoting women and trans individuals in classical music, is an intensive winter term project that provides a space for students of traditionally underrepresented gender identities and those with a commitment to gender inclusion to engage with classical music.