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Postdoctoral Research Associate History 402-472-2414 924 Oldfather Hall



Dr. Cory James Young is a postdoctoral associate in the History Department and project manager for Dr. Katrina Jagodinsky’s NSF-funded grant, “Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West, 1812-1924,” which is supported by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. He also assists with managing Dr. Jagodinsky’s and Dr. William Thomas’s REU Site, the Digital Legal Research Lab.

Young’s book manuscript, “For Life or Otherwise: Pennsylvania Slavery in the Age of Gradual Abolition,” based on his prize-winning dissertation, contends that the first US state to enact an abolition program implemented a slavery regime as well as an emancipation scheme. It examines how enslavers refashioned bondage in the early republic, describes the material consequences of their actions, and discusses how Black communities responded to these ongoing and novel forms of oppression. A companion digital history project, “A Just and True Return,” will transcribe, preserve, and contextualize Pennsylvania’s surviving county slave registries.

Young received his B.A. in History from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Georgetown University. His research has been supported by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Philadelphia, and McNeil Center for Early American Studies, among others. His work has appeared in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation, and The Activist History Review.

  • “For Life or Otherwise: Abolition and Slavery in South Central Pennsylvania, 1780-1847” (PhD dissertation, Georgetown University, 2021)
  • Winner of the 2022 Society for the History of the Early American Republic Dissertation Prize.
  • “A Just and True Return: A Dataset of Pennsylvania’s Surviving County Slave Registries,” Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation 3, no. 1 (June 2022)
  • “From North to Natchez during the Age of Gradual Abolition,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 143, no. 2 (April 2019), pp. 117-139
  • “‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’: Local History as Activism and Healing,” The Activist History Review, November 8, 2017,

Ph.D. in History, Georgetown University
M.A. in History, Georgetown University
B.A. in History, State University of New York, College at Geneseo


Slavery and Abolition
Early American History
African American History
Atlantic World
Digital Legal History