Laurie M. Wood is a historian of the early modern world. Her research focuses on Francophone history in comparative and global perspectives, with special attention to themes of legality, risk, and place. She teaches courses in Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Early Modern European, and World History that bring together the early modern and 21st century worlds.
She is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida State University and affiliated with the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution. For the academic year 2017-18, she was a Fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University.
Her first book, Archipelago of Justice: Law in France’s Early Modern Empire (Yale Univ. Press 2020), evaluates the interwoven trajectories of the people, such as itinerant ship-workers and colonial magistrates, who built France’s first empire between 1680 and 1780 in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. These imperial subjects sought political and legal influence via law courts, with strategies that reflected local and regional priorities, particularly regarding slavery, war, and trade. Through court records and legal documents, Wood reveals how courts became liaisons between France and new colonial possessions.
Recent publications and works-in-progress explore global networks of legal experts, crime and surveillance in Caribbean slave societies, and abandoned Indian Ocean fortunes. Her second book project, Risks & Realities: Death and Credit in the French Tropics, analyzes previously untapped cases of marital abandonment and accidental death to uncover the lives of the people, especially women, who maintained a global early modern economy one family enterprise at a time.
Dr. Wood holds a doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013-14, she was the Law and Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Her research has been supported by the Hagley Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, the John Carter Brown Library, the Newberry Library, the UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, the American Society for Legal History, the Society for French Historical Studies & the Western Society for French History, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin Law School, Princeton University, and Florida State University.
[The Art of Painting, Johannes Vermeer, 1666]