Robin Mitchell


Prof. Robin Mitchell.

Robin Mitchell


Robin Mitchell


Distinguished Visiting Scholar
Associate Professor
California State University Channel Islands

Research Interests

The African Diaspora in France and the United States; European History; late 18th and early 19th Century Paris; Race and Gender; Popular Culture; Representations; Sexuality and Colonialism; Women’s History.


  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2010
  • MA, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2001
  • BA, Mills College, 1998

Research Interests

The African Diaspora in France and the United States; European History; late 18th and early 19th Century Paris; Race and Gender; Popular Culture; Representations; Sexuality and Colonialism; Women’s History

Current Research

Robin Mitchell is an award winning Associate Professor in the Department of History at California State University, Channel Islands. She is a 19th century French historian, specializing in discourses about race, gender, and sexuality. She received her master's degree in Late Modern European History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her doctorate in Late Modern European History from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Her current work focuses on the white colonial fantasies, scandals, and crime imposed upon Black women's bodies and voices when they were in metropolitan French spaces. Mitchell has published numerous journal articles, and her first book, Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France (University of Georgia Press, 2020), was named by the African American Intellectual History Society to its "The Best Black History books of 2020," and by The Guardian as one of "The Best Books About Sex" in 2021.

Mitchell's forthcoming book will be the first biography of Suzanne Simone Baptiste also known as Madame Toussaint Louverture, a heretofore neglected yet influential figure in the history of Blackness in France. It is currently under contract with Princeton University Press.

Key Advising/Mentoring

Advising and mentoring Black students and student groups, as well as BIPOC students.



The Biography of Suzanne Simone Baptiste, Madame Toussaint Louverture (under contract with University of Princeton Press).

Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, January 2020).

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

“A History of Black Women in Nineteenth-Century France,” The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories, ed. Janell Hobson (Milton: Taylor & Francis Group, 2021).

« Répliques sismiques de la Révolution Haïtienne en France: Influences de femmes noires sur la production de la francité, » Les populations noires en France, une histoire mosaïque (Paris: Editions Vendémiaire, forthcoming).

“Shaking the Racial and Gender Foundations of France: The Influences of ‘Sarah Baartmann’ in the Cultural Production of Frenchness,” Black French Women and the Struggle for Equality, 1848-2015 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018).

“Another Means of Understanding the Gaze: Sarah Bartmann and the Development of Nineteenth-Century French National Identity,” They Called Her Hottentot: The Art, Science, and Fiction of Sarah Baartman, eds. Deborah Willis and Carla Williams (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2010), 32-46.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“‘Ourika Mania’: Interrogating Race, Class, Space, and Place in Early 19th-Century France,” “Black Paris and the Lived Experiences of Black Subjects,” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 10, No. 2, (2015) 2017.

“L’Affaire de la Négresse Henriette Lucille: Race, Gender, and Social Status in Eighteenth-Century France,” Transnational Subjects: History, Society and Culture 2, No. 1 (April 2012), 21-48.

Entries in Peer-Reviewed Dictionaries

“Pauline, ou soeur Thérèse” and “Jeanne Marie Marthe Duval” in Dictionnaire des gens de couleur dans la France moderne (Dictionary of People of Color in Early Modern France), edited by Erick Noël (Droz: Genève, 2013), Volume 2: “Nantes et la Bretagne,” 10-11 and 640-641.

Awards and Recognitions

External Awards and Recognitions

The President’s Visiting Scholar’s Fellowship, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, March 2022.

Maury Green Fellow, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, 2021-2022.

Camargo Foundation Core Fellowship Program, Cassis, France, 2021 (declined).

Awards and Recognitions CSUCI

Recipient, Exceptional Service to Students Award, Fall 2019; Spring 2018.

Faculty-Student Small Research Grant, Fall 2019.

Finalist, The CSU Channel Islands’ Maximus Faculty Award, 2018.

Nominee, 16th Annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon Award, Channel Islands, CA 2018.

Faculty Fellow, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, Channel Islands, CA, 2018.

Faculty Development Summer Writing Retreat at La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, May 2016.

Awards and Recognitions Prior to CSUCI

Recipient, “Excellence in Teaching” Award, DePaul University, 2015-2016.

Recipient, Gerald Paetsch Academic Advising Award, DePaul University, 2014-2015.

Recipient, “Woman of Spirit and Action” Award: student nominated for faculty who have contributed to their growth and development, DePaul University, 2013-2014; and 2014-2015.

Nominee, “Excellence in Teaching” Award, DePaul University, 2013-2014.

Recipient, University Research Council (URC) Research Grant, DePaul University, 2013-2014.

Recipient, DePaul University ENGAGE Award: 25 faculty members and instructors at DePaul who have “contributed most to students’ learning and development as socially responsible leaders in the DePaul-Vincentian tradition,” 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Dissertation Fellowship, Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY College at Oneonta, 2009-2010.

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley, 2009.

Mentored Research Fellowship, Office of the President, UC Berkeley, 2007-2008.

Research Travel Grant, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley, 2007.

Graduate Opportunity Dissertation Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 2005-2006.

Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 2004-2005.