University of Richmond history professor Christopher Bischof has been named a 2017 National Academy of Education-Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow for his research into elementary education in the West Indies.

His research project, “Liberal Subjects: Free Blacks and Elementary Education in the British West Indies, 1834-1865,” will explore the history and continued challenges of state- and public-supported elementary education in the British colonies Caribbean.

“Studying the history of this education system will help address two primary questions important to the continuing study of education,” Bischof said. “Those questions are what generates enthusiasm and financial support for the education of a poor, non-white population and what leads to disenchantment and reduction in funding?”

His research through the fellowship will result in an article in “History of Education Quarterly” and then be expanded into a book chapter for his larger book project, “An Efficient Empire: Race, Capitalism, and Social Engineering in the British West Indies, 1834-1865.” 

As part of his research, Bischof will visit the archives of the British and Foreign School Society and the London Missionary Society in London, as well as the Jamaica National Library in Kingston.

The National Academy of Education, an honorary educational society, received more than 200 applications for the Spencer Fellowship and named 30 fellows who join the ranks of 800 recipients throughout 31 years.

Bischof has taught at the university since 2015 after earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

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The fellowships are administered by the National Academy of Education, an honorary educational society, and they are funded by a grant to the Academy from the Spencer Foundation. Now in its 31st year, the fellowship program has over 800 alumni who include many of the strongest education researchers in the field today. The Academy believes the fellowships enhance the future of education research by developing new talent in the many disciplines and fields represented by the scholars selected. These fellowships are the oldest source of support for education research, nationally and internationally, for recent recipients of the doctorate.

Assistant Professor of History
Modern Britain and the World
History of Education
British Emancipation