“Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physics, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge?”
-One of the questions Benjamin Franklin devised for his friday Junto meetings
It is with great honor that I welcome you to The Junto, a new blog on early American history. Staffed by a host of junior academics studying a broad range of topics—our brief bios are found at the end of the post, and more details are found on each individual author’s page—we aim to provide frequent content related to the academic study of America prior(ish) to the Civil War. But more than just serving as a sounding board for our authors and a clearinghouse for various news, events, and calls for papers, we hope that The Junto will become a vibrant community for the field of early American studies.
We consciously define the adjectives “early” and “American” very broadly. Most of us either are or will soon be teaching the first half of the American history survey, which typically runs from colonization through 1860, and we will thus structure our very loose parameters around that time frame. We hope to incorporate numerous methodologies, subfields, disciplines, and topics so as to have as broad a reach as possible. When all else fails, we side on the side of inclusion. Our contributors come from a broad range of backgrounds and maintain divergent sets of interests, so we hope to have diverse discussions.
Besides blog posts detailing current research questions, recapping recent books and articles, and generally pontificating on the field, The Junto will have various special features including, but not limited to, interviews with distinguished scholars in the field, roundtables on various issues, book/movie/documentary reviews, and other interactive formats. (For instance, in January we will have a week-long roundtable on the “New New Political History,” as well as a series of reviews of the PBS Documentary The Abolitionists). We also hope to provide lively discussions on pedagogy, digital humanities, and the job market—three aspects that dominate many young academics’ lives.
Make sure to note the numerous resources found under the appropriate link above, which includes lists of fellowships, calls for papers, recent books, and other relevant material. Direct your thanks to Michael Hattem, who is also the person behind this beautiful blog design.
We hope to witness lots of lively discussions on the blog and cultivate new academic friendhips. At a session held to honor his work at the 2011 AHA meeting, Richard Bushman noted the potential of these associations:
In forming these academic friendships, our books are our surrogate selves, commonly our initial introductions to one another…In this company of historians, person and writing merge. As we become better acquainted, we begin to hear personality coming through the words on the printed page. That’s so like her, I say to myself. Knowledge of the person helps us to understand the writing better, and the writing opens up the person. The combination creates a kind of intellectual kinship that is one of the great rewards of our profession.
This is the type of outlook I had when I envisioned this blog. I think we are going to have a lot of fun discussing early American history. In the end, I hope we can achieve, as Benjamin Franklin did with the original group, “a club of mutal improvement.”
Meet the people who make up The Junto:
Joseph M. Adelman, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Framingham State University, studies media, communication, and politics in early America.
Michael Blaakman, a Ph.D. student in History at Yale, studies the political, cultural, and economic history of early America, particularly land speculators in the early republic.
Tom Cutterham is a DPhil candidate at Oxford. He is working on a history of power and ideology among American elites in the 1780s.
Sara Georgini, a Ph.D. student in History at Boston University, studies the role of American religion in public service and private life.
Glenda Goodman is a musicologist who works on 17th and 18th century musical transatlanticism. She finished her PhD at Harvard in May 2012, and now teaches at The Colburn School.
Michael D. Hattem, PhD student at Yale University, studies late-colonial and revolutionary political culture and intellectual history, particularly colonists’ British historical memory in the decades before independence.
Rachel Herrmann, a PhD candidate in history at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Smith Richardson predoctoral fellow at International Security Studies at Yale, works on how Native Americans, free blacks, and slaves use food to wage war and broker peace during and after the American Revolution.
Eric Herschthal, a PhD student in early American history at Columbia University, has written for The Daily Beast, The New Republic, The New York Observer, and other publications.
Mandy Izadi is a D.Phil Candidate at Oxford University. She studies the intersections of Native American and African American life in the nineteenth-century South.
Christopher Jones is a PhD Candidate in Early American History at The College of William and Mary, whose research interests include the intellectual, cultural, and religious histories of the early American republic and the Atlantic World.
Matt Karp is currently a visiting scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in summer 2013 will begin as an assistant professor of history at Princeton University. He is writing a book about Southern slaveholders and American foreign policy in the Civil War era.
Katy Lasdow, a PhD student in History at Columbia University, studies architecture, material culture, and the development of urban space in the early republic.
Kenneth Owen, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Springfield, studies political mobilization and organization during the American Revolution and early republic.
Benjamin Park, a PhD candidate in history at the University of Cambridge, studies the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of the early republic and is writing his dissertation on the local productions of nationalism.
Seth Perry, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, is nearly finished with his dissertation on the production of bibles in early America. His interests include religious and print history.
Alyssa Reichardt, a PhD student at Yale, studies 18th century America and the Atlantic world. Her dissertation examines the contest between French, British, and indigenous empires for the Ohio Valley from a continental and transatlantic perspective, with an emphasis on the role of communication networks and infrastructure.
Roy Rogers is a PhD candidate in history at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work focuses on the impact of politics and law upon religious competition in the early American republic.
Jonathan Wilson is a PhD candidate in American intellectual history at Syracuse University. He studies articulations of national identity in early nineteenth century New York City print culture.