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Department of History


Colin Wilder

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: History
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-5195
Office: Gambrell Hall, Room 245
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


  • B.A. in Philosophy, Yale University
  • M.A. in History, University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. in History, University of Chicago


I am a scholar of Digital History and German History. My focus is the history of ideas about freedom and law as well as printing and publishing in European history, especially seventeenth-and eighteenth-century Germany. For me Digital History involves the study, refinement, and application of digital methods such as “distant reading” to research questions within early modern history. My teaching at the University of South Carolina corresponds closely to this scholarly focus, as adapted to Departmental and student needs. Hence I teach courses principally on Digital history, German history, modern European history, the history of constitutionalism and republicanism, and the history of capitalism and business. I also perform professional service work at the Departmental, university, and national and international levels based on these specializations. I have held leadership positions in national and international professional academic enterprises related to both Digital and European history. (See bio and work also at


My historical research involves a cluster of related problems in early modern history, specifically around liberalism and property law in early modern society. My work in Digital History in turn involves digital methods such as “distant reading”. I have published scholarship in Digital History and German History, in top-level academic venues, for over a decade. Specific contributions have been in empirical German history, the historical sociology of German law, historical bibliometrics, tools for computational text analysis, refinements of existing software methods for data cleaning and computer vision, and applications of some of these methods to history and archaeology. To date (Autumn 2023) I have produced 1 scholarly monograph, 1 edited volume, 11 peer-reviewed journal or other scholarly articles and essays, 2 invited essays, 1 digital review, and related software. I have essentially spent half of my time since 2010 studying, applying, and writing about digital methods, and the other half pursuing traditional interpretive empirical scholarship in early modern German legal and political thought.


My interests in digital history and economic history also guide my teaching interests. I have been crafting courses on the history of capitalism and property law since my pre-USC teaching experiences at the University of Chicago and Brown. Building on my research into the history of European liberalism, I am now moving to adding to the Department’s Founding Documents curriculum in constitutional history and the history of republicanism, both in the American founding era and especially in its British, continental European, and ancient roots.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.