Abigail Swingen earned her BA from Swarthmore College in 1997 and her PhD in British history from the University of Chicago in 2007. She is currently an assistant professor at Texas Tech University. Her book manuscript, Competing Visions of Empire: The Politics of Labor and the Origins of the Early Modern English Empire, explores how English politics and ideas of political economy influenced the development of African slavery and other forms of coerced labor in England's West Indies colonies during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. She has presented at numerous international conferences and in addition to being a fellow at the Beinecke this year, is currently a Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellow at the Huntington Library for 2011-2012. She regularly teaches courses in early modern British and European history, the Atlantic World, and the origins of the British empire. Prior to teaching at Texas Tech, she taught at Auburn University.