Skip to Main Content


Sean Morey Smith, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate


Sean Morey Smith is a historian of slavery and medicine. His research examines how medical ideas of health and climate were used to alternatively support and attack racialized slavery in the Anglophone Atlantic. This research reveals that racial science and medicine were not simply "pseudoscientific" expressions of proslavery ideology. Rather, racial ideas pervaded eighteenth- and nineteenth-century science and medicine and were even used to attack slavery. Smith is currently in the process of completing a book manuscript, entitled "The Climate of Race in Abolition, c. 1730-1860," detailing these findings. He has previously published research in journals such as Slavery & Abolition, Medical History, and Urban History as well as in the edited collection Atlantic Environments and the American South. Smith is also the co-editor, along with Christopher D.E. Willoughby, of Medicine and Healing in the Age of Slavery.

Smith also has experience in the Digital Humanities (DH). He has previously worked on the imagineRio digital atlas and prototyped a process for digitizing historical American Medical Directories.

At Yale, Smith is part of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and Slavery Research Project, charged with exploring the relationship between slavery and YSM and its predecessor, the Medical Institution of Yale College.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Rice University, History (2020)
  • MA
    Rice University, History (2017)
  • MA
    University of Houston, History (2014)
  • BA
    Rice University, Computer Science, History (2005)