Guest Post: “Good Newes from ye olde World”

banner-redehjaHere at The Junto, we like to hear from early Americanists at work around the world. Today’s guest post comes from Lauric Henneton, Associate Professor at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin and Vice Président of the Réseau pour le Développement Européen de l’Histoire de la Jeune Amérique (REDEHJA)

In case the honorable readers of The Junto were wondering, we do Early American and Atlantic history in the “Old World” and not just in good old “Blighty.” This post is about how the Réseau pour le Développement Européen de l’Histoire de la Jeune Amérique (REDEHJA) came together and what we’ve done over the last few years. This is the story of a group of friends/colleagues who decided to come together institutionally after a few years holding small-scale events in and around Paris.

Since about 2000, yearly “Recent publications” day-conferences had been organized mostly by Naomi Wulf and Marie-Jeanne Rossignol at Université Paris XII (Créteil, now called UPEC). Over the years, new colleagues and doctoral students of the founding members have expanded the membership and broadened the thematic scope covered by our ‘activities’. To this day, REDEHJA has 35 “card-carrying” members in French universities and a number of ‘fellow travelers’ in France and abroad. We have a webpage ( where everything we’ve organized over the years can be found (yes, everything), a mailing list reaching about 200 colleagues around the world and we even have a Facebook page (come over and “Like” us!).

The REDEHJA was formally created in 2006 at roughly the time as the umbrella European network, the European Early American Studies Association (EEASA) of which REDEHJA is the French branch, much like the British Group in Early American History (BGEAH) is the British branch.The EEASA (pronounce “ee-za”) was formed as way of providing an institutional framework to the preexisting cooperation between both sides of the Channel but also of integrating colleagues from other European countries where Early American history was/is not very developed and where scholars would feel isolated (Greece, Poland, Hungary, Israel, Czech Republic). The key idea is to make sure that Early American and Atlantic history also happens and develops in Europe.

The biannual 3-day, 10-to-12-panel conference of the EEASA is the highlight, bringing together about 60 scholars from all over Europe (although admittedly mostly from France and Britain) but also from North America.

  • The first, held in Paris in 2006 (“From colonies into Republics in an Atlantic world”) featured a keynote address by Nicholas Canny.
  • The second edition was held in Venice, Italy in December 2008 (historic aqua alta and Wellington boots required!). The theme was “Amity, Enmity and Emotions in Early America and the Atlantic World” and one of the keynote speakers was Peter Onuf. (Programme)
  • The third (snowy) edition took place in Paris again in December 2010 (theme: “Looking Back: The Past, History and History-writing in Early America and the Atlantic World”). Keynote speakers were Peter C. Mancall and Trevor Burnard (Simon P. Newman having been snow-bound in Glasgow). (Programme here)
  • The latest edition was held in Bayreuth (Germany) in December 2012 (theme: “Empire and Imagination in Early America and the Atlantic World”) with keynote addresses by Hermann Wellenreuther (Göttingen) and François Brunet (Paris-Diderot University).
  • The next EEASA conference will be held in Lublin (Poland) in December 2014 (theme: “Protest and Persuasion: Writing, Print, Speech, and Performance in Early America and the Atlantic World”). The CFP has begun to circulate so yes, you can send a proposal.

We have recently created the Naomi Wulf Prize to honor the memory of our late colleague, one of the founders of both REDEHJA and EEASA, which entails “specific consideration [of papers presented at EEASA conferences] for publication” in the Journal of Early American History (JEAH). In between EEASA conferences, held on even years, the Summer Academy of Atlantic History (SAAH), founded in 2009 by Susanne Lachenicht (Bayreuth) and myself, is held on odd years (including this August in Hamburg, Germany). The aim of the SAAH, much like the EEASA, is to bring together scholars from both sides of the ‘Pond’ (both doctoral candidates and tutors) and to further contribute to making Atlantic History happen in Europe (and SAAH updates will follow at The Junto).

Besides the biannual EEASA conferences and the yearly “Recent publications” day-conferences, REDEHJA holds and/or sponsors national and international thematic symposia—the latest to date is “The Atlantic World of Anthony Benezet” (Paris, May 2013)—and occasional guest talks by visiting colleagues, including Steve Pincus, Evan Haefeli, Liam Riordan, Owen Stanwood, Susanne Lachenicht, Marcus Rediker, Johann Neem, Trevor Burnard, Peter Mancall, Simon P. Newman and Ira Berlin. Like our field, we practice interaction, circulation, networking, exchanges of information and knowledge, and contribute other historiographical traditions and expertise in non-English languages so as to enrich perspectives and, hopefully, to refine interpretations.

Relax, you don’t need to speak French to do business with us. We really encourage you to check us out and send proposals for the next EEASA conference(s) and/or SAAH (2015).

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: An Academic Bridge Across the Atlantic « The Junto


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