Associate Professor of History Jason Daniels joined the Knox History Department this fall, and is excited to help expand the History Department offerings by introducing new courses on the history of the Caribbean and Atlantic world.
Daniels is originally from Florida and received his undergraduate degree in history in 2006 and his masters in Caribbean history in 2008, both from the University of Florida. His studies specifically focused on the slave resistance of the French Caribbean region and the runaway slaves’ negotiation for their freedom.
In 2013, Daniels finished his Ph.D program at the University of Warwick in England. His study was centered on the history of the 18th Century Atlantic world and the connection between British Caribbean and American colonies.
Daniels’ academic background and passion for Atlantic and Caribbean studies has allowed him to teach new courses at Knox, such as the History of the Caribbean and History of Slavery in the Americas. He is also teaching courses that were previously offered, such as Early American Encounters.
While cultivating a broader student interest in history is a priority for Daniels, he also wants to create a comfortable learning atmosphere in which students feel welcome to discuss any kind of topic – from history, to personal experiences on campus or concerns outside campus.
“I want to create inclusive classrooms where students can have frank conversations,” said Daniels. “I hope that this type of environment will allow some students to realize that history is more than just memorizing old dates –
that history is actually about having the past help us understand each other across gender and ethnic lines.”
Overall, Daniels says he has enjoyed his first weeks at Knox and likes the typical Knox student, the strong bond between first-year faculty and the support from the rest of the faculty. Yet having previously taught in a state university with a semester system and 15,000 students, Daniels is still adjusting to the Knox system.
“Moving from a school where I had to teach a class of 60 to 70 students to a school with smaller classes and a trimester system is definitely a change,” he said. “But this idea of Knox, the idea of fostering close relationships with students, is what brought me here. It might be hard to fit 16 weeks of teaching into 10, but the trimester system helps students focus on topics intensely and allows them to find a pure drive to learn.”
Throughout the year, Daniels will also be finishing several personal projects. He is currently finalizing an edited volume of “God’s Protecting Providence,” an 18th Century captivity narrative coming next year. Additionally, he will be continuing his quantitative analysis of runaway slaves in America’s colonial newspapers, a job that is part of a bigger project called “Documenting Runaway Slaves,” which is sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi.