Central Connecticut State University History DepartmentCentral Connecticut State University - History Department

Robert S. WolffRobert S. Wolff

Professor of History 

Phone: (860) 832-2807 
Fax: (860) 832-2804 
Mail: wolffr@ccsu.edu

Robert S. Wolff received a B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College in 1988, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1991 and 1998 respectively. He came to CCSU in 1997. He served as department chair, 2003-2006, and as assistant to the dean from 2007 until 2012.

Dr. Wolff’s research and teaching interests lie primarily in the areas of slavery and abolition in the Americas. He teaches an undergraduate methods course that explores the Amistad Revolt in the Atlantic World, advanced undergraduate seminar on African Enslavement in the Americas, and graduate seminar on the U.S. Civil War & Reconstruction. For graduate students he recently developed a course entitled Slavery and Abolition in American Memory. He is currently at work on two research projects of note. The first is an article-length exploration of evangelicalism in the antebellum antislavery and African colonizationist movements. The second is a monograph that traces the Amistad Revolt in history and memory, tentatively entitled, Amistad Remembered: History, Memory and the Making of the Abolitionist Past.

He pursues a second yet related area of interest exploring the makings of American memory, from “bricks and mortar” sites like museums and historic plantations, to digital spaces like Wikipedia. He co-teaches an interdisciplinary honors course, Western and World Cultures III, on the theme of Museums, Monuments, and Memory. He is developing an introductory history course for majors and non-majors on History and the Digital World, which will be taught in a hybrid format. Like the Progressive educators he studied earlier in his career, Dr. Wolff believes that “students learn to do by doing,” which in the 21st century demands not only that students be guided by “hands-on” experiences with documents and artifacts, but also in digital methods for understanding and representing the past.

Dr. Wolff maintains a personal website for research, teaching, and occasional ramblings at www.robertswolff.org

Global ExperienceSelected publications:

  • “The Historian's Craft, Memory, & Wikipedia,” in Writing History in the Digital Age, eds. Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki (Ann Arbor: digitalculturebooks, University of Michigan Press, 2013), 64-74. 
  • “The Problem of Race in the Age of Freedom: The Transformation of Public Schooling in Baltimore, 1860-1867,”Civil War History 52, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 229-254.
  • “Blackness in White America: The Perilous Voyage of the Amistad in Popular Memory,” in Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity, and Power in Maritime America, ed. Glenn S. Gordinier (Mystic, Conn.: Papers from the Conference Held at Mystic Seaport, Munson Institute Press, 2006). 
  • “‘The Stronghold of Liberty’: Civil War Editorials of the Windham County Press, 1861-1865,” Connecticut History 42, no. 2 (Fall 2003): 132-158.
  • “Industrious Education and the Legacy of Samuel Ready,”Maryland Historical Magazine 95, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 309-329.
  • “Da Gama’s Blundering: Trade Encounters in Asia and Africa During the European ‘Age of Discovery,’ 1450-1520,” The History Teacher 31, no. 3 (May 1998). 297-318.
  • The Global Experience; Readings in World History. 2 vols. Edited with Stuart B. Schwartz and Linda R. Wimmer. New York: Longman, 1997-1998.