Carolyn Arena

Carolyn Arena
Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Instructor
Academic Building, Post Hall
2100 Foxhall Road NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20007
United States
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Atlantic World 1400-1900
  • Slavery
  • Colonialism
  • Global Trade

Carolyn Arena is a historian of the Americas in a hemispheric and global context, focusing on Native peoples, slavery and race, and the growth of colonial economies. Her research focuses on the enslavement of Indigenous Caribbean peoples and their labor in-- and resistance to-- plantation societies. Dr. Arena comes to GW after holding a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William & Mary. The OI and the University of North Carolina Press are committed to publishing her monograph about the forced migration of Indigenous captives from the Lesser Antilles and Guiana region to English and Dutch plantations. Dr. Arena teaches “Indigenous Peoples and Global Merchandise” and a course on Historical Methods using the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers.


Ph.D., Columbia University, 2017


"Building Dutch Suriname in English Carolina: Networking, Native Enslavement, and Plantation Provisioning in the Seventeenth-Century Americas," co-author D. Andrew Johnson. The Journal of Southern History (2020).

"Aphra Behn's 'Oronooko,' Indian Slavery, and the Anglo-Dutch Wars, 1650-1688." In The Torrid Zone: Colonization and Cultural Interaction in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean, edited by L. H. Roper. University of South Carolina Press, 2018.

"Indian Slaves from Guiana in Seventeenth-Century Barbados." Ethnohistory 64, no. 1 (January 2017): 65–90.

Classes Taught

University Seminar 1006: Who Made World Trade?: Indigenous Peoples and Global
University Seminar 1006: Making Global History