Kleiser, Randal (Grant)

Field: International & Global; Advisor: Brown; Year: 2017

Randal Grant Kleiser (Grant) is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Columbia studying commerce and commercial reforms in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. He is currently working on a dissertation that explores the origins of the Spanish, British, and French free port system in the West Indies during the 1750s-1760s when these powers opened up several ports in the region to limited trade with foreign powers. Grant is conducting research with an eye to this movement’s international intellectual origins, economic and geopolitical context and results, and subsequent reactions to it by political-economists, imperial reformers, and American revolutionaries.


"Researching In-Person at the Archivo General de Indias by R. Grant Kleiser,” a guest post for H-Latin America, Research Corner Blog (August 2022): https://networks.h-net.org/node/23910/blog/research-corner/10656680/blog-researching-person-archivo-general-de-indias-r

Review of Nick Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery: Capitalism and Revolution in the Caribbean (New World Studies) (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022), for H-Slavery, H-Net Reviews (July 2022): https://networks.h-net.org/node/11465/reviews/10556905/kleiser-nesbitt-price-slavery-capitalism-and-revolution-caribbean

“Free Ports in the Atlantic World,” Oxford Bibliographies in “Atlantic History,” ed. Trevor Burnard (New York: Oxford University Press, September 22, 2021): https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199730414/obo-9780199730414-0357.xml

“Connected Imperial Reforms in the Post-Seven Years War Moment,” Research Report for the Alliance-Council for European Studies Pre-Dissertation Fellowship (January 16, 2020): https://www.europenowjournal.org/2020/01/15/connected-imperial-reforms-in-the-post-seven-years-war-moment/

“Teaching the Caribbean in the Era of Vast Early America,” a Guest Post for The Junto (December 10, 2019): https://earlyamericanists.com/2019/12/10/guest-post-teaching-the-caribbean-in-the-age-of-vast-early-america/

“An Empire of Free Ports,” Research Report for the Clements Library Richard and Mary Jo Marsh Fellowship (July 22, 2019): https://clements.umich.edu/an-empire-of-free-ports/

“We Need to Re-think Our Characterization of Trump’s Trade War, and ‘Mercantilism’ Just Doesn’t Cut It,” in The History News Network (February 10, 2019): https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/171032  

 Undergraduate Thesis: A Gold Ounce for Every Throat Cut: The Development of Peace between Spain and Portugal in the Banda Oriental, 1750-1801 (2017): published on Penn’s International Relations thesis database.

Common Nonsense: The Surprising Role of Penn, Columbia, and William and Mary in the Atlantic Revolutionary Era. Written for the University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center (2016): https://archives.upenn.edu/exhibits/penn-history/common-nonsense

“An Empire of Free Ports: British Commercial Imperialism in the 1766 Free Port Act,” The Journal of British Studies 60, no. 2 (April, 2021): 334-61 doi:10.1017/jbr.2020.250




M.Phil., Columbia University (2020)

M.A., Columbia University (2019)

Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 2017) 


In addition to his research, Grant works as a Teaching Assistant in Columbia's history department. He has also tutored US, European, and Global history for the AP and Regents Exam. In his graduate career, Grant has also been the Columbia Graduate History Association's social co-chair and an organizer for Columbia’s European History and Politics Workshop.