Rebecca Scott is an historian and a specialist in the comparative history of slave emancipation in the Americas.
Using thorough archival research, Scott studies race, citizenship, and the dynamics of postemancipation societies. The author of Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860-1899 (1985), she uncovered new information in Cuban historical archives that allowed her to analyze the timing and outcomes of emancipation in various Cuban provinces, and to demonstrate the importance of the initiatives of slaves themselves in bringing about emancipation. She is also the author of Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (2005), a comparative analysis of two sugar-production-based societies, both of which had slavery abolished by war in the mid-nineteenth century, and co-author of Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies (2000).
She is a co-founder (1987) of the Postemancipation Societies Project, a collaborative research and teaching project that links faculty and students at the Universities of Michigan, Chicago, and Maryland. Scott is the Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and a professor of law at the University of Michigan.
Scott received an A.B. (1971) from Radcliffe College, an M.Phil. (1973) from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. (1982) from Princeton University.