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Thomas A. Foster (they/he)

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

  • Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Arts & Sciences


Thomas A. Foster, PhD, is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of History at Howard University. Dr. Foster is an historian of early American gender and sexuality and is the author or editor of seven books, including most recently, Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violations of Enslaved Men. As Associate Dean he is responsible for overseeing Faculty Affairs, including the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) process, in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Foster also serves as Co-Director of the Chair Leadership Academy (Provost's Office, Office of Faculty Development).

Note: As Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Foster is not currently accepting PhD students.

Education & Expertise



Johns Hopkins University


Johns Hopkins University


North Carolina State University


Cornell University


  • 17th & 18th-century British America
  • US Women's History
  • Gender and Sexuality in Early America


Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violence Against Enslaved Men

Women in Early America (editor)

Sex and the Founding Fathers: The American Quest for a Relatable Past

Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America (editor)

New Men: Manliness in Early America (editor)

Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America (editor) (Choice! Outstanding Academic Title)

Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America (Referenced in Carlos Ball Amicus Brief, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2014; marriage equality).

Select Articles and Essays

"'No Perfect Archive': Recovering Histories of Enslaved People at Abingdon Plantation" The Journal of the Civil War Era 12, no. 4 (2022).

“Lessons from Abingdon Plantation at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.,” in Lawrence Aje and Nicolas Gachon, eds., Traces and Memories of Slavery in the Atlantic World (Routledge, 2019).

“’No Man Can Be Prevented From Visiting His Wife’: Henry Butler and Enslaved Manliness in Family and Intimacy,” in Tim Gruenewald, ed., Rethinking America’s Past: Voices from the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection (Cincinnati: University of Cincinnati Press, 2019).

“Recovering Washington’s Body-Double: Disability and Manliness in the Life and Legacy of a Founding Father,” Disability Studies Quarterly (January 2012).

“Deficient Husbands: Manhood, Sexual Incapacity, and Male Marital Sexuality in Seventeenth-Century New England,” The William and Mary Quarterly 56 (October 1999): 723-44. (winner of the Richard L. Morton Award)

Select Editorial and Blog Posts

“The Rape of Rufus? Sexual Violence against Enslaved Men”

“Who Owns the Evidence of Slavery’s Violence?” Public Seminar

“A Museum of Women’s History is Long Overdue,”

“The Virginia Portion of Amazon’s HQ2 Should Acknowledge What Lies Beneath,” Washington Post

"Congress Shouldn’t Squander a Unique Opportunity to Honor Those Once Enslaved at National Airport," Washington Post

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