Last week, I attended the annual conference for the Society of United States Intellectual History, this year held in Irvine, CA. It was a fun time, and I learned enough and met enough people to consider the conference a success (and worth the 12 hour flight from London!). Yet one thing struck me the entire weekend, and was reinforced by Mark Peterson who gave words to my thoughts during his session response: why is there a paucity of work on early America within the recent surge of interest in US intellectual history? Or, to ask a different, but still related, question, why do so few historians of early America do work on intellectual history, or self-identify as intellectual historians? Continue reading
We at The Junto are thrilled to host this guest post from Erik J. Chaput and Russell J. DeSimone, who are the historians-in-residence on the Dorr Rebellion Project Site sponsored by Providence College. Chaput is the author of The People’s Martyr: Thomas Wilson Dorr and His 1842 Rhode Island Rebellion (University Press of Kansas, 2013). DeSimone is the author of Rhode Island’s Rebellion (Bartlett Press, 2009). Chaput and DeSimone have collaborated on a number of projects, including this article on Common-place.org. Chaput and DeSimone welcome feedback on the site. They can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
When Rhode Island finally ratified the U.S. Constitution in May 1790, the state sent back to Congress eighteen amendments. These amendments revealed a deep suspicion of the new central establishment, a suspicion that had been increased by the failure to include a bill of rights. The first line of the lengthy third amendment declared that “the powers of government may be reassumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness.” Continue reading
Many months ago, I posted the first of what I hoped to be a quarterly series highlighting recent articles I enjoyed, and inviting readers to do the same. Sadly, life got in the way, and so I have a bit to make up. As a recap for this roundup’s purpose: there are so many journals publishing quality articles in the field of early American history that it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep up. So this list serves as a reminder that you need to catch up on new issues, a identify articles I found especially important, as well as a chance to highlight the work of young scholars and friends. Just because an article doesn’t make the list doesn’t mean I didn’t like it—in fact, I am way behind on my own reading—but it is an invitation to list your own favorite recent articles in the comments below.
The following articles were published between March and September, and obviously reflect my own interests and background. Also, remember the fantastic articles in the special WMQ issue on families and the Atlantic world that I highlighted a few months ago. Continue reading
This week at The Junto, we are pleased to offer a roundtable review on Walter Johnson’s recent River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013). Johnson, whose Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Trade Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999) went far in this year’s Junto March Madness, is the Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. River of Dark Dreams is a dense, learned, and sophisticated account of cotton culture, slave society, and global capitalism as experienced in pre-Civil War Mississippi Valley. It has somthing for everyone: race, slavery, capitalism, technology, regionalism, and globalism. As such, this week’s roundtable will offer five reviews from five different authors giving their take on what promises to be a classic text. After my brief overview and introduction, we will post one review each day from Mandy Izadi (today), Matt Karp (Tuesday), Joe Adelman (Wednesday), Roy Rogers (Thursday), Sara Georgini (Friday), and Eric Herschthal (Saturday). We hope that these various reviews will spark discussion and debate. Continue reading
As Michael Hattem noted in his post on Monday, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, along with a handful of other prestigious organizations, is hosting what promises to be a monumental conference on the American Revolution this weekend in Philadelphia. Titled, “The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century,” it is a combination of roundtable discussions with prominent historians as well as pre-circulated papers from up and coming scholars. (I’m about halfway through the papers, and they are terrific.) There will certainly be lots of important ideas to discuss, and we’ll have several followups (including a post and a podcast) to help digest what went down. Continue reading
Though chronologically speaking only half of their content is relevant to The Junto, we are thrilled to welcome a new journal into the fray: J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. What originated as an email list and loosely-based organization emerged to host two fabulous (from what I hear) conferences, and now what promises to be a solid journal. Continue reading
I planned on doing another “Articles of Note” post for today since it’s been a few months since the last one, and lots of new articles are indeed noteworthy, but I’m feeling lazy today. Plus, as a more legitimate excuse, the William and Mary Quarterly just put out an issue that is worth highlighting by itself. What originated as a conference sponsored by the OIEAHC and the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, “Centering Families in Atlantic History” addresses an important (and often neglected) issue in the vibrant, popular, yet often uneven field of study based around the Atlantic Ocean. In brief, two of the lessons that stood out the most to me were 1) the importance of family connectedness within an era usually dominated by an emphasis on empires and states, and 2) the much-needed diversification that encompasses much more than just Anglo-America (perhaps the biggest problem with the “Atlantic History” field.)
If you or your institution have a subscription to JSTOR, you can download the entire issue here. Hopefully we can have a more in-depth and substative review of some or all of the excellent articles in this issue, but for the time being I’ll just post the titles and abstracts here. Continue reading
Last saturday, I woke up at an ungodly hour (especially for a weekend!) in order to make the 2 1/2 hour drive down to New Haven in time for the start of “Historiographical Heresy: A Conference on the Legacy of Jon Butler” (program here). The brainchild of James Bennett and Amy Koehlinger, and spearheaded on the ground by Kathryn Lofton, the one-day event commemorated the retirement of one of American religious history’s major figures. All participants were in some way students of Butler–some claimed him as their dissertation adviser, others as one of their committee members, and at least one as just an informal advisor; it was stated that this was more of a “family reunion” than a conference. Though I have zero attachment to Yale and no direct connection to Butler (besides being strongly influenced by his writing), I was warmly welcomed as an outsider and thoroughly enjoyed both the stimulating papers and discussions as well as the comraderie. Continue reading
Probably expected to most readers given the book’s performance thus far, we at The Junto are pleased to announce Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom to be the winner of the 2013 Early American History Tournament. Cronon put up a fight, but in the end Morgan pulled away with 65% of the vote. You could call this an end-to-end victory, since Morgan’s book received the most nominations, was never really challenged, and always seemed destined for the title. And this may be fitting: the book is magisterial in research, exquisitely written, and still relevant to any project on colonial history. (Not to mention it works great in the classroom!) It is a testament to its power that American Slavery is still en vogue three and a half decades after its release. Sure, there are problems, but the book still challenges and provokes any close reader, and that is one of scholarship’s true purposes. Continue reading
This is for all the marbles, folks. I’d like to thank everyone who has voted (nearly 250 unique IP addresses!), shared this on twitter or facebook, and participated in the comments. We at the Junto have had a lot of fun, and we hope to make some version of this tournament a yearly tradition. (We’ll of course mix up the topics, periods, etc.) As always, this is acknowledge to be an extremely silly and subjective game, with a primary purpose of promoting discussion.
We have had enough chatter over the last two weeks so, after a brief reminder of how we got here, let’s get to the voting. We can only hope this matchup will be as riveting as the Lousiville/Michigan game. Continue reading