Wesleyan portrait of Jesse  Nasta

Jesse Nasta

Assistant Professor of the Practice in African American Studies

Center for African American St, 223


BA Wesleyan University
MA Northwestern University
PHD Northwestern University

Jesse Nasta

Jesse Nasta (Wesleyan University, B.A., 2007; Northwestern University, Ph.D., 2017) specializes in the history of slavery, emancipation, and their aftermaths, with a particular emphasis on New England. A cultural, public, and community historian, he has taught in Wesleyan University’s African American Studies Department since 2017 and has been Executive Director of the Middlesex County Historical Society in Middletown, Connecticut, since 2020. Dr. Nasta is also an investigator for the Mellon Foundation-funded Carceral Connecticut Project (carceralconnecticut.com) and has served as director of Wesleyan University’s High School Humanities Program since 2021.  

His current project focuses on the Beman Triangle, Middletown, Connecticut’s 19th-century African American neighborhood, and its connections to regional, national, and global Black community and antislavery networks. This project began as his Wesleyan University honors thesis in 2006. Working closely with descendant communities and the larger public, Dr. Nasta’s teaching combines and informs scholarship with service learning, community-building, and the presence of the past in our everyday local, community, and family lives. 

Dr. Nasta’s work has appeared in American Nineteenth Century History and The Confluence, and his teaching areas include courses in the history of northern slavery and emancipation, early African American history, mass incarceration and carcerality, and LGBTQ history. 

Academic Affiliations


Fall 2024
AFAM 316 - 01
Carceral Connecticut