image_8253062Gunther Peck is an Associate Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, comparative immigration history and migration policy, environmental history, and 20th century U.S. social and cultural history.  His first book, based on his dissertation at Yale University, was entitled Reinventing Free Labor:  Padrones and Immigrant Workers in the North American West, 1880-1930, and won the Taft prize for best book in North American Labor History, the Billington Prize for the best book in frontier history, and the Pacific Coast Award for best book in comparative North American history in 2001. He has completed a second book on the origins of white supremacy and historical resistance to it entitled Race Traffic: Radical Anti-Slavery and the Long Fight Against White Supremacy, 1660-1860, forthcoming from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Peck is also a leading scholar of modern slavery and has published three articles from a third book project entitled “The Shadow of White Slavery: Race and Innocence in the Contemporary War on Human Trafficking.”  The most recent article, “Counting Modern Slaves: Historicizing the Emancipatory Work of Numbers,” is the lead essay in a volume entitled Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: From Past to Present (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021) authored by members of the Modern Slavery Group at the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University.

Peck is a dedicated teacher who holds a Bass Chair and is also Director of the Hart Leadership Program at the Sanford School, where he recently created the Democracy Lab, a project based research and learning space for undergraduates and graduates seeking to pilot solutions to pressing democracy challenges. A voting rights activist, Peck and his life partner Faulkner Fox were plaintiffs in “Rucho vs. Common Cause,” a landmark case on partisan gerrymandering which went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. Together with Fox, Peck also helped organize Durham for Organizing Action in 2016 and Bull City Votes in 2020. An avid gardener, Peck has raised three children with Fox in Durham.