Christopher Florio

Christopher Florio

Ruth Alden Doan Endowed Chair; Codirector, Undergraduate Research

Christopher Florio Christopher Florio

Chris Florio is a historian of the United States, with interests in cultural and intellectual history, transnational history, the history of slavery and emancipation, and the history of capitalism.  

Florio is currently at work on a book titled Poor Freedom: The Problem of Poverty in an Age of Slave Emancipation. On a transnational canvas that stretches from Philadelphia to London, from Barbados to Liberia, from Mississippi to Madras, Poor Freedom depicts how poverty left its mark on the world that slave emancipation made. In doing so, the book traces the historical relationship between slavery’s abolition and the emergent forms of racialized and global inequality that began to coalesce in slavery’s wake. An article stemming from this project received the Louis Pelzer Memorial Award from the Organization of American Historians.    

Before joining the Hollins faculty, Florio spent 2016-2019 as a member of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is also involved in efforts to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated students, and has taught courses at Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.

Courses Taught

  • U.S. History in Transnational Perspective
  • Slavery: A Global History
  • Antebellum United States
  • Colonial American History
  • Dissent and Reform in American History
  • African-American History to 1865
  • American Cultural and Intellectual History
  • History of American Capitalism
  • American Social History
  • Rise of Modern America
  • Creating the American Nation
  • American Poverty Past and Present


  • Ph.D., Princeton University
  • B.A., University of Richmond

Publications & Articles

  • “Wider the Course of Empire Takes Its Way,” Reviews in American History 46, no. 2 (June 2018): 238-244.
  • “From Poverty to Slavery: Abolitionists, Overseers, and the Global Struggle for Labor in India,” Journal of American History 102, no. 4 (March 2016): 1005-1024.