Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Assistant Professor, University of Missouri. Former Historian at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. Ms. Dierksheide completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Her first book, "Amelioration and Empire: Progress and Slavery in Plantation America, 1770-1840" (University of Virginia Press, 2014), examined how planters embraced the European Enlightenment idea of "improvement" on New World plantations. She conceptualized and wrote exhibitions for Monticello, including “The Boisterous Sea of Liberty” and “The Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello" and is also co-author of “Thomas Jefferson's Worlds,” the introductory film. At the University of Virginia, she served as a lecturer in the Corcoran Department of History and as co-director of the Early American Seminar.
Dierksheide's research focus is on Early America and Anglo-American imperialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in the political thought of Thomas Jefferson, race and slavery, and the legacy of the Founding generation. Dierksheide is currently at work on two book projects -- one that chronicles the rise of the 19th century American empire through the eyes of Jefferson's grandchildren (under contract with Yale University Press) and a new book on Jefferson's antislavery ideas (co-authored with Nicholas Guyatt).