Richard Lee Turits

Associate Professor, History, Africana Studies, Latin American Studies

Office: Blair 225
email: [[rturits]]
Regional Areas of Research: Latin America and the Caribbean
Thematic Areas of Research: Comparative and Transnational, Imperialism and Colonialism, Iberian Empires, International Relations, Race and Ethnicity


Richard Turits is a historian of the Caribbean and Latin America, particularly the Hispanic Caribbean and Haiti.  A graduate of Brown University, he received an M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His research and teaching have focused on histories of race, slavery, violence, peasantries, nondemocratic regimes, and U.S. empire.  He is the author of Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History (Stanford University Press, 2003), which received the John Edwin Fagg prize of the American Historical Association and the Bolton-Johnson Prize of the Conference on Latin American History and named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.  He is also the author of numerous articles, including “A World Destroyed, A Nation Imposed:  The 1937 Haitian Massacre in the Dominican Republic,” Hispanic American Historical Review 82, no. 3 (Aug.  2002).  This article won the James Alexander Robertson Memorial Prize of the Conference on Latin American History and has been translated into both Haitian Kreyòl and Spanish.  He has received fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, SSRC, Fulbright, and Fulbright-Hays. In 2014, he was named a Foreign Corresponding Member of the Dominican Academy of History.

Professor Turits's current projects include a general history of the Caribbean with Laurent Dubois to be published by the University of North Carolina Press and a book on the history of slavery, freedom, and racial meanings in colonial Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic.  Prior to joining the faculty at William and Mary, Professor Turits taught in the Departments of History and of Afroamerican & African Studies at the University of Michigan, where he also directed the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and in the Department of History at Princeton University.  He teaches courses on the Caribbean, U.S. overseas interventions, and the Cuban Revolution.