Dr. Rachel Cleves

Dr. Rachel Cleves

BA (Columbia), MA, PhD (Berkeley)

Office: Cle B202

Thursdays 12:30 - 2:30 or by appointment.


Early American history, 1750-1850, with a focus on the histories of gender, sexuality, and violence


My love for American history emerged initially from travelling through the United States. To date, I have visited every state except Alaska (and maybe Missouri). I grew up and went to college in New York City, moved to Berkeley, California for graduate school, then taught for four years in Northern Illinois before joining the faculty at UVic in 2009.  I am currently working on two book-length research projects: “Good Food, Bad Sex,” a two-hundred and fifty year survey of the connections between gourmandism and transgressive sex in Anglo-American culture; and “Unwritable” a non-biography of the author Norman Douglas.


Research website: "The Not So Innocents Abroad," rachelhopecleves.com

Selected publications


Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (Oxford University Press, 2014)

 The Reign of Terror in America: Visions of Violence from Anti-Jacobinism to Antislavery (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Edited works

guest editor for “Beyond the Binaries: Critical Approaches to Sex and Gender” Early American Studies Special Issue (Fall 2014)


“‘What, Another Female Husband?’: The Pre-History of Same-Sex Marriage in America” Journal of American History (forthcoming, March 2015)

“Beyond the Binaries in Early America: Special Issue Introduction,” Early American Studies (Fall 2014): 459-468

“A Field of Possibilities: Erotic Variation in Early America” William and Mary Quarterly (July 2013): 581-590.

“Interchange: The War of 1812 and the Creation of the American Republic” [contributor] Journal of American History (September 2012): 520-555.

“Battling the Slaveholders’ ‘Reign of Terror’: Anti-Jacobinism and Abolitionism in the Early American Republic” Annales Historiques de la Revolution Francaise  (March 2011)

“‘Savage Barbarities!’: Slavery, Race, and the Uncivilizing Process in the United States”  Christa Buschendorf and Astrid Franke, eds. American (De)Civilizing Processes (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011) 103-122.

"'Hurtful to the State': The Political Morality of Federalist Antislavery" John Craig Hammond and Matthew Mason, eds. Contesting Slavery: The Politics of Bondage and Freedom in the New American Nation (University of Virginia Press, 2011) 207-226.

“Transatlantic Revolution, National Identity, and American Exceptionalism in the Early Republic” Reviews in American History (December 2011): 607-616.

“‘Heedless Youth’: The Revolutionary War Poetry of Ruth Bryant, 1760-1783” The William and Mary Quarterly (July 2010): 519-548.

“‘Jacobins in this Country’: The United States and the Transatlantic Language of Anti-Jacobinism” Early American Studies (May 2010):410-445.

“On Writing the History of Violence” Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2004): 641-665.

Digital scholarship

“Hillary Comes Out of the Closet,” History News Network (June 20, 2014)

“The Long and Short of It: Looking Back on the History of Same-Sex Marriage One Year After Windsor” nursingclio.org (June 3, 2014)


HSTR 210A The United States to the Civil War
HSTR 210B The United States from Post-War Reconstruction - present
HSTR 302A Revolutionary America and the Early Republic, 1763 - 1815
HSTR 302B Antebellum America and the Civil War, 1815 - 1865
HSTR 305A American Women to 1900
HSTR 305B American Women from 1900 to the Present
HSTR 306 Sex and Power in American History
HSTR 470
From Sodomy to Same‐Sex Marriage: LGBT History in North America