Isaac Lee


Advisor: Gloria Whiting

Isaac Lee headshot


My research centers on the histories of race, slavery, and colonialism in the English-speaking Atlantic world, with an emphasis on the 17th and 18th centuries. In particular, my work asks how the politics of race and slavery have historically mediated communal and institutional formations. Reciprocally, I am deeply invested in understanding how everyday people understood their own social and political obligations and how those commitments both reflected unique ideas of belonging, but also shaped the terrain of future struggles for inclusion.

My current focus is on the structure of colonial municipalities in New England and how contests between marginalized peoples and local officials challenged the hierarchies of the colonial world, all while remaking the conditions of social and economic life. My Masters thesis explored this topic through an analysis of the historical development of public road infrastructure in colonial Boston. My findings, especially the distinct role of free men of African descent, reveal an important relationship between ideas of race and social obligation among early Bostonians.


M.A., History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., w/ Honors in Major, University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • U.S./North American History

MA Title

  • Making “Sufficient Wayes”: Working on the Streets of Colonial Boston

Selected Awards

  • Department of History, Early Excellence TA Award, 2020-2010

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 101, American History to the Civil War Era, Professor Gloria Whiting, Fall 2020
  • History 102, American History from the Civil War to the Present, Professor Allison Powers Usche, Spring 2021