Phone: 724-503-1001 x6266
Office: Old Main 209C

Ask me about....

sea glass!

Julia Bernier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History

Academic Program: History

Degrees: Ph.D. African American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst; M.A. History, The City College of New York; B.F.A. Theory, Criticism, and History of Art, Pratt Institute

Julia W. Bernier completed her PhD in African American Studies in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department at UMass Amherst. Before joining W & J she taught at the University of North Alabama and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for the Study of Slavery at Georgetown University. Her work focuses on the lives of enslaved people, slavery, and abolition in the nineteenth century United States. She is also interested in studying and addressing slavery’s afterlife on university campuses and beyond. She is currently working on her book about self-purchase in the United States. 


  • “’Never be free without trustin’ some person:’ Networking and Buying Freedom in the Nineteenth Century United States,” Slavery & Abolition, 40:2 (2019)
  • "Bail Funds, Buying Freedom, and a History of Abolition," Black Perspectives (2020) Link to entry
  • "The Historical Roots of Abolition in the Twenty-First Century," Black Perspectives (2021) Link to entry
  • "'In Reference to the Death of Isham:' Slavery, Law, and Their Afterlives" with Justin Simard, Journal of Southern History (2022)
  • Freedom's Currency: Slavery and Self-Purchase in the United States, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press