R. Blakeslee Gilpin received his Ph.D from Yale University in May, 2009 and his dissertation won the 2010 C. Vann Woodward Prize from the Southern Historical Association for the best dissertation in Southern history. Gilpin has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His first book, John Brown Still Lives!: America's Long Reckoning With Violence, Equality, and Change, was published by UNC Press in November 2011.
Gilpin's research interests and teaching focus on slavery and its legacies in history, literature, and art. Keenly interested in the rhetoric of equality and its intersections with race and violence in the culture and history of the United States, Gilpin's work spans the slave rebellions of the eighteenth century to contemporary struggles with the echoes of American slavery. The recipient of numerous fellowships, including a Beinecke Research Fellowship, a John Hope Franklin Grant, Houghton's Library's Joan Nordell Fellowship, a Gilder Lehrman Institute Fellowship, and the Huntington Library's W.M. Keck Fellowship, Gilpin's work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The American Scholar, The New England Quarterly, Slavery and Abolition, Biography: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly, The Journal of American Studies and The Journal of Mississippi History.
With Rose Styron, Gilpin edited the correspondence of Virginia author William Styron, Selected Letters of William Styron, to be published by Random House in December 2012. Collecting, transcribing, and notating Styron's letters has provided the foundation for two original projects related to the author and his work. Gilpin is currently writing a new biography of Styron as well as completing a manuscript about Nat Turner, William Styron, and the longevity of slavery's hold on America's racial imagination.
In the Fall of 2012, Gilpin will teach two sections of 'America to 1877.' In the spring semester he will teach Readings in Nineteenth Century U.S. History and Southern Memory and the Civil War.