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Susanna Lee

Assoc Professor

Department of History

Withers Hall NA

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Susanna Michele Lee is an associate professor in the History Department at North Carolina State University. She teaches classes on the history of the nineteenth-century United States. She has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Wake Forest University, and Duke University. Her book, Claiming the Union: Citizenship in the Post-Civil War South, was published with Cambridge University Press. She is currently working on two book manuscripts: one on the US-Dakota War and one on civilians in central Virginia during the Civil War. Lee also works in digital humanities, teaches a digital history class, and served as a project manager of the Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War at the Virginia Center for Digital History.

Office Hours

  • By appointment.

Extension and Community Engagement

  • North Carolina Historical Commission, 2023-present

Research Publications

Lee, Susanna Michele. Claiming the Union: Loyal Citizenship in the Post-Civil War South. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

—–. At the Center of War, 1859-1870: Homefront as Battlefront in Central Virginia during the Civil War and Reconstruction. University of Kentucky Press, under consideration.

—–. “Citizens and Traitors: Determining Loyalty in the Post-Civil War South.” In Citizenship and Identity in the 19th-Century South, edited by William A. Link and David Brown. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013.

—–. “Reconciliation in Reconstruction Virginia. In Crucible of the Civil War, edited by Edward L. Ayers and Andrew Torget. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2006.

—–. “Contested Unionism: William Pattie and the Southern Claims Commission.” In Virginia’s Civil War, edited by Peter Wallenstein and Bertram Wyatt-Brown. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2005.


  • “Remembering Sacrifice and Suffering, Claiming Citizenship,” What a Cruel Thing is War, North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial, February 2015
  • “Mapping the American Civil War,” Narrating the Visual, Visualizing the Narrative Conference, March 2010
  • Roundtable on Civil War Memory, Southern Historical Association Conference, November 2009
  • “The Antithesis of Citizens and Traitors: Loyalty in the Post-Civil War South,” at “Understanding America, Understanding the South,” University of Florida, January 2009 (invited)
  • “Former Slaves’ Claims to Loyal Union Citizenship in Post-Civil War America, 1871-1880,” Society of Civil War Historians Conference, June 2008
  • “Competing Narratives of the Civil War during Reconstruction,” at “Civil War Experiences,” University of North Carolina, Greensboro, April 2008 (invited)
  • “In Black or White: Free People of African Descent in the Nineteenth-Century United States South,” American Historical Association Conference, January 2008
  • “Former Slaves as ‘Loyal Citizens’: The Line between Property and Person,” Southern Historical Association Conference, November 2006
  • “Claiming the Union: Stories of Loyalty in the Post-Civil War South,” Remembering America’s Civil War, University of Mississippi, May 2005.
  • “Logic of Segregation:  Mississippi ‘Chinese’ in ‘Black’ and ‘White,’” Race and Place in the Americas, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, March 2003
  • “‘So That We Might Have a Better Life’:  Black Loyalties in the Wartime and Postwar South,” Southern Historical Association Conference, November 2002
  • “‘A Good Southern Man’: A Case Study from the Southern Claims Commission in Virginia, 1871-1880,” Douglas Southall Freeman and Southern Intellectual History Conferences, University of Richmond, February 2002

Funded Research

  • NEH Summer Seminar, American Indian Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, June and July 2011
  • Scholarly Project Award, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University, Summer 2008
  • Grant, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Battlefield Park and Richmond National Battlefield Park, National Park Service, Spring 2004 to Summer 2008
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, December 2002 to July 2003
  • Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society, Summer 2002

Graduate Advising

Professor Lee accepts graduate students working on topics related to nineteenth-century United States history, especially the American South and Civil War and Reconstruction.


Ph.D. United States History University of Virginia

M.A. United States History University of Virginia

Area(s) of Expertise

United States History; Citizenship; Settler Colonialism; Native American History; African American History