Jason T. Sharples

Associate Professor of History

“In vivid prose, Sharples distinguishes between bloody fact and paranoid fantasy to reveal how rumors of imminent slave insurrections created the southern surveillance state, informed imperial ambitions, and bound white colonists together in common terror.”

— Richard Bell, author of Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home

"Thought-provoking, original, and engaging, The World That Fear Made is sweeping in its chronological scope and rich with details and stories that convey the lived experience of his subjects at key moments of crisis. It is a sophisticated and valuable corrective to the literature on slave rebellions."

—Justin Roberts, Dalhousie University

Book Cover: The World That Fear Made

© Jason T. Sharples. All rights reserved.


In dozens of slave conspiracy scares in North American and the Caribbean, colonists terrorized and killed slaves whom they accused of planning to take over the colony. Jason Sharples explains the deep origins and historical triggers of these incidents and argues that conspiracy scares bound society together through shared fear.

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Book Cover

“Soulevement des Negres à la Jamaïque en 1759”, engraving by François Anne David after the drawing by le Jeune, in David, Histoire d’Angleterre (Paris, 1800), 3: plate 5. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.


In the Media

Interviews and Talks 
The Truth Behind Slave Rebellion RumorsResearch in Action - FAU Division of Research
InterviewGotham Center For NYC History
Recording of Lunch LectureDavid Center at the American Philosophical Society
Featured BookBlack Perspectives
"In Conversation" PodcastFlorida Atlantic University
Claude Moore Colonial FarmVoice of America Urdu

Photos by sound-on and cottonbro from Pexels

Jason Sharples is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University.He discovered early American history as a youngster in Western New York when climbing fortifications and exploring the sites of vanished towns.He studied at The College of William and Mary (BA) and Princeton University (MA, PhD) and he has conducted research in archives in the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States.He is currently working on a book on Florida during its colonization by Spain and Britain.


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