Barbara Fields is a historian of the American South who investigates the consequences of slavery and emancipation in the nineteenth century.
Her book, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland during the Nineteenth Century (1985), explores the nature of a slave society and articulates the social premise behind debate on the significance of freedom. She places Maryland’s experience with slavery within the broad context of nineteenth-century Western capitalism. Fields is a co-author of Slaves No More: Three Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War (1992), and Free At Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War (1992). She was a featured commentator in the PBS documentary series, “The Civil War” (1990).
Fields is a professor of history at Columbia University. Before joining the faculty at Columbia, she taught at the University of Michigan. She was the visiting editor at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland, College Park (1981-82) and was the visiting Ford Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi (1988).
Fields received a B.A. (1968) from Harvard University, and an M.Phil. (1972) and a Ph.D. (1978) from Yale University.