Junto March Madness 2016: The Unveiling of the Brackets

JMM16The brackets are here, the brackets are here! During the next month, prepare for a supreme nerd-fest as historians vote for the articles they think have shaped early American history. This year, the bracket is focused on articles.

A few rules guided how we constructed the brackets based on your excellent nominations:

  1. We tried to break up the brackets into vaguely thematic topics. As you’ll see, some are a real stretch. However, given the nature of this year’s tournament, we think this will help sleeper articles make it out of their bracket. Don’t judge us too harshly.
  2. Seeds 1-4 in each bracket were mostly decided based on our anticipation of how much support those articles will receive, though obviously this took a lot of guesswork.
  3. Seeds 5-8 were not based on how we felt those articles would do, but were chosen based on if they created an interesting first-round matchup that would spark discussion.
  4. As a reminder that we give out every year: this exercise is meant to be fun. There is no way to truly determine what is the “best” article to use in the classroom. If an article doesn’t do as well as you expect, or if any subfields or subtopics seem underrepresented, it is based on readership nomination and voting. Most especially, the purpose of this year’s tournament is to use a fun venue (March Madness) to introduce historians to a broad array of scholarship that they may want to consider using in the classroom.

Related to that last point, I am so, so, SO very pleased to announce that we are working with Oxford University Press and Early American Studies to make nominated articles FREE and OPEN ACCESS during the tournament. Are you a journal editor we’ve not yet contacted? Would you like to work with us to make your authors’ articles open access for the tournament? Please email us: thejuntoblog@gmail.com.

Throughout the tournament, various Juntoists will also be writing posts that reflect on journal articles: how we write them, how we read them, how we review them in a helpful way.

Voting for Round 1 begins tomorrow. You are strongly encouraged to add your commentary about the match-ups in the comments below.

The hashtag for this year’s tournament is #JuntoMM16. We received a lot of digital chatter last year, and hope it continues again.

Without further ado, behold the brackets!

Atlantic World

  1. Morgan, Jennifer. “‘Some Could Suckle over their Shoulder’: Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500–1700.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 54, no. 1 (January 1997), 167–192.
  2. Games, Alison. “Atlantic History: Definitions, Challenges, and Opportunities.” American Historical Review 111, no. 3 (June 2006): 741–57.
  3. Ferrer, Ada. “Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic.” American Historical Review 117 (2012): 40–66.
  4. Gould, Eliga. “Zones of Law, Zones of Violence: The Legal Geography of the British Atlantic, circa 1772.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 60, no. 3 (July 2003): 471–510.
  5. Warsh, Molly. “Political Ecology in the Spanish Caribbean.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 71, no. 4 (Oct. 2014), 517–50.
  6. Parsons, Chris, and Murphy, Kathleen S. “Ecosystems under Sail: Specimen Transport in the Eighteenth-Century French and British Atlantics.” Early American Studies 10, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 503-29.
  7. Fitz, Caitlin. “The Hemispheric Dimensions of Early US Nationalism: The War of 1812, its Aftermath, and Spanish American Independence.” Journal of American History 102, no. 2 (Sep. 2015): 356–379.
  8. Vidal, Cécile. “For a Comprehensive History of the Atlantic World or Histories Connected In and Beyond the Atlantic World?” Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales (English Edition) 67, no. 2 (April-June 2012): 279–300.


  1. Zagarri, Rosemarie. “The Rights of Man and Woman in Post-Revolutionary America.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 55, no. 2 (April 1998): 203–230.
  2. Kerber, Linda. “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History.” Journal of American History 75 (1988): 9–39.
  3. Dayton, Cornelia. “Taking the Trade: Abortion and Gender Relations in an Eighteenth-Century New England Village.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 48, no. 1 (Jan. 1991): 19–49.
  4. Brown, Kathleen. “‘Changed… into the Fashion of Man’: The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 6, no. 2 (Oct. 1995): 171–193.
  5. Smith Rosenberg, Carroll. “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America.” Signs 1, no. 1 (Autumn 1975): 1–29.
  6. Camp, Stephanie M. H. “The Pleasures of Resistance: Enslaved Women and Body Politics in the Plantation South, 1830–1861.” Journal of Southern History 68, no. 3 (August 2002): 533-72.
  7. McCurry, Stephanie. “The Two Faces of Republicanism: Gender and Proslavery Politics in Antebellum South Carolina.” Journal of American History 78, no. 4 (1992): 1245–64.
  8. Ditz, Toby. “Shipwrecked; or, Masculinity Imperiled: Mercantile Representations of Failure and the Gendered Self in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia.” Journal of American History 81, no. 1 (June 1994): 51-80.

Economic and Social History

  1. Breen, T. H.  “Baubles of Britain: The American and Consumer Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century.” Past & Present 119 (1988): 73–104.
  2. Maier, Pauline. “Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority in Eighteenth-Century America.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 27, No. 1 (Jan., 1970): 3–35.
  3. Nash, Gary, “Transformation of Urban Politics, 1700-1765.” Journal of American History 60 (Dec. 1973): 605–632.
  4. Hartog, Hendrik. “Pigs and Positivism.” Wisconsin Law Review 899 (1985).
  5. Rao, Gautham. “The Federal Posse Comitatus Doctrine: Slavery, Compulsion, and Statecraft in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America.” Law and History Review 26 (Spring 2008): 1–56.
  6. Smith, Billy. “Inequality in Late Colonial Philadelphia: A Note on its Nature and Growth.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 41, no. 4 (Oct. 1984): 629–645.
  7. Rothman, Joshua. “The Hazards of the Flush Times: Gambling, Mob Violence, and the Anxieties of America’s Market Revolution.” Journal of American History, 95, no. 3 (December 2008): 651–77.
  8. Bushman, Richard. “Markets and Composite Farms in Early America.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 55, no. 3 (July 1998): 351–374.

American Revolution

  1. Young, Alfred. “George Robert Twelves Hewes (1742–1840): A Boston Shoemaker and the Memory of the American Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 38, no. 4 (Oct. 1981): 561–623.
  2. Freeman, Joanne. “Dueling as Politics: Reinterpreting the Burr-Hamilton Duel.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 53 (1995): 289-318.
  3. Lemisch, Jesse. “Jack Tarr in the Streets: Merchant Seamen in the Politics of Revolutionary America.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 25, no. 3 (July 1968): 371–407.
  4. Jasanoff, Maya. “The Other Side of the Revolution: Loyalists in the British Empire.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 65, no. 2 (April 2008): 205–32.
  5. Brown, Christopher. “Empire without Slaves: British Concepts of Emancipation in the Age of the American Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 56, no. 2 (1999): 273–306.
  6. McDonnell, Michael. “Class War? Class Struggles during the American Revolution in Virginia.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 63, no. 2 (April 2006): 305–44.
  7. Holton, Woody. “Did Democracy Cause the Recession…?”Journal of American History 92, no. 2 (Sept. 2005): 442–469.
  8. Kim, Sun Bok. “Limits of Politicization: The Experience of Westchester County, New York.” Journal of American History 80, no. 3 (1993): 868–89.

History of Ideas

  1. Fea, John. “The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian’s Rural Enlightenment.” Journal of American History 90, no. 2 (September 2003).
  2. Wood, Gordon. “Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 23, no. 1 (1966): 4–32.
  3. Kloppenberg, James. “The Virtues of Liberalism: Christianity, Republicanism, and Ethics in Early American Political Discourse.” Journal of American History, 74 (June 1987): 9–33.
  4. Loughran, Trish. “Disseminating Common Sense: Thomas Paine and the Problem of the Early National Bestseller.” American Literature, 78, no. 1 (2006): 1–28.
  5. Caron, Nathalie and Naomi Wulf. “American Enlightenments: Continuity and Renewal.” Journal of American History 99, no. 4 (2013): 1072–1091.
  6. Grasso, Christopher. “Deist Monster: On Religious Common Sense in the Wake of the American Revolution.” Journal of American History 95, no. 2 (June 1995): 43–68.
  7. Howe, Daniel Walker. “The Evangelical Movement and Political Culture in the Northeast During the Second Party System.” Journal of American History 77, no. 4 (March 1991).
  8. Butler, Jon. “Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction.” Journal of American History 69, no. 2 (Sept. 1982): 305–325.


  1. Rodgers, Daniel T. “Republicanism: The Career of a Concept.” Journal of American History 79, no. 1 (1992): 11–38.
  2. Lepore, Jill. “Historians Who Love Too Much: Reflections on Microhistory and Biography.” Journal of American History 88, no.1 (June 2001): 129–144.
  3. Furstenberg, Francois. “Beyond Slavery and Freedom: Autonomy, Agency, and Resistance in Early American Political Discourse.” Journal of American History 89, no. 4 (March, 2003), 1295–1330.
  4. Saunt, Claudio. “Go West: Mapping Early American Historiography.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 65, no. 4 (October 2008): 745–78.
  5. Wilson, Kathleen. “Rethinking the Colonial State: Family, Gender, and Governmentality in Eighteenth-Century British Frontiers.” American Historical Review 116, no. 5 (2011): 1294–1322.
  6. Meranze, Michael. “Culture and Governance: Reflections on the Cultural History of Eighteenth-Century British America.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 65, no. 4 (October 2008): 713–44.
  7. Bodle, Wayne. “The ‘Myth of the Middle Colonies’ Reconsidered: The Process of Regionalization in Early America.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 113 (1989): 527–548.
  8. Stoler, Laura. “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and Post-Colonial Studies.” Journal of American History 88, no. 3 (December 2001): 829–865.

Native American History

  1. Hämäläinen, Pekka. “The Politics of Grass: European Expansion, Ecological Change, and Indigenous Power in the Southwest Borderlands.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 67, no. 2 (April 2010): 173–208.
  2. Merrell, James. “The Indians New World.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 41, no. 4 (October, 1984), pp. 538–565.
  3. Richter, Daniel. “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 40, no. 4 (October 1983): 528–59
  4. Greer, Allan. “Commons and Enclosure in the Colonization of North America.” American Historical Review 117, no. 2 (April 2012): 365–86.
  5. Barr, Juliana. “From Captives to Slaves: Commodifying Indian Women in the Borderlands.” Journal of American History 92, no. 1 (June 2005)
  6. Fisher, Linford. “Indian Baptism and Conversion in the Rogers Williams Code.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 71, no. 2 (April 2014): 175–202.
  7. Dubcovsky, Alejandra. “One Hundred Sixty-One Knots, Two Plates, and One Emperor: Creek Information Networks in the Era of the Yamasee War.” Ethnohistory 59, no. 3 (Summer 2012), 489–513.
  8. Fenn, Elizabeth. “Biological Warfare in Eighteenth-Century North America: Beyond Jeffery Amherst.” Journal of American History 86, no. 4 (March 2000): 1552–1580.

Slavery and Race Formation

  1. Morgan, Edmund. “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox.” Journal of American History 59, no. 1 (June 1972): 5–29.
  2. Brown, Vincent. “Social Death and Political Life in the Study of Slavery.” American Historical Review 114, no. 5, (December 2009): 1231–1249.
  3. Baptist, Edward. “‘Cuffy,’ ‘Fancy Maids,’ and ‘One-Eyed Men’: Rape, Commodification, and the Domestic Slave Trade in the United States.” American Historical Review 106, No. 5 (December, 2001).
  4. Johnson, Walter. “On Agency.” Journal of Social History 27 (2003): 113–24.
  5. Waldstreicher, David. “Reading the Runaways: Self-Fashioning, Print Culture, and Confidence in Slavery in the Eighteenth-Century Mid-Atlantic.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 56, no. 2 (April 1999): 243–272.
  6. O’Malley, Gregory E. “Beyond the Middle Passage: Slave Migration from the Caribbean to North America, 1619-1807.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 66, no. 1 (January 2009): 125–72.
  7. Fields, Barbara J. “Slavery, Race, and Ideology in the USA.” New Left Review 181 (May/June 1990): 95–118.
  8. Huggins, Nathaniel. “Deforming Mirror of Truth: Slavery and the Master Narrative of American History.” Radical History Review 49 (1991): 25–48.

4 responses

  1. Ah, March Madness. The happiest time of the year (except for early fall in the years when the Phillies don’t stink, which most certainly will not be this year.) I’m delighted to see this year’s brackets. What a treat to read through that lineup of wonderful articles. Maybe I can use this competition to cross a few articles off my personal List of Shame — articles that I know I should’ve read years ago but somehow never ….

    Since Rachel’s post mentions editors who may not have been contacted about making the articles from their journals OA–and since Tom Cutterham’s tweet explicitly asks why the WMQ’s articles are not OA–I thought that I’d say that I was approached by a Junto editor. My response is below.

    The short answer, though, for why the WMQ is not available via OA is that there are a wide variety of business models for academic journals. The WMQ has always been committed to making its articles widely available. We were one of the founding journals in JSTOR because of that commitment. That said, we’re independently published, unlike most of the journals whose articles are featured in the brackets, and our articles are widely available at prices ranging from the very reasonable (for Associates) to the absurdly cheap (for students and people who subscribe via our OI Reader app) to free (via JSTOR’s Register and Read program). Karin Wulf and I have written widely on our approach to OA; you can find two pieces here:

    At any rate, my response to the Junto’s editor is as follows:

    I’m delighted to hear that the Junto’s 2016 “March Madness Tournament” will focus on articles. I’m a fan of the tournament–and esp. of the comments and discussion it elicits–and switching the focus to articles should be a very interesting exercise. This promises to be an effective way to encourage people to revisit both classic pieces and more recent scholarship.

    I also appreciate your desire to make sure that your readers will have access to the articles in question. That said, I do not believe that making the relevant Quarterly articles freely available to all is the right way to go here. Doing so would deprive both the author and the journal of important metrics about online access, readership, and downloads. Just last month, I was contacted by a Quarterly author who is coming up for tenure and wanted statistics on how often his/her essay had been downloaded, exactly the sort of data that deans (unfortunately) love and that making our articles freely available would undermine. And then, of course, there’s the financial side of things. Downloads from JSTOR and Project Muse provide critical revenue for journals at a very difficult time in academic publishing. Moreover, unless I missed something, the Junto didn’t ask academic presses to make e-copies of their books available for all during the last round of the tournament, a step that would be analogous to what you’re asking of journals.

    Again, though, I’m eager to support the Junto and the tournament. So, let me suggest another option that will allow your readers w/o institutional or personal subscriptions to the Quarterly to get access to our articles. The Quarterly is a participant in JSTOR’s “Register and Read” program, which allows individual users to download and read up to 78 articles a year for free. Here’s the link:

    Going this route will let your readers reacquaint themselves w/ the articles in question w/o undermining the interests of either the journal itself or our authors.

    I’m very much looking forward to this year’s tournament.



    Joshua Piker
    Editor, William and Mary Quarterly
    Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
    Professor of History, College of William & Mary

  2. Early American Studies is proud and delighted that our Murrin Prize-winning article, Christopher Parsons and Kathleen Murphy’s “Ecosystems Under Sail: Specimen Transport in the Eighteenth-Century French and British Atlantics” (10:3, Fall 2012) is included in the Atlantic World bracket, and to assist you with your deliberations, the journal and Penn Press have made available a free download of this superb piece at http://journals.pennpress.org/media/34140/eas_vol103parsonsmurphy.pdf.

    Many thanks to The Junto for organizing this fun, exciting endeavor. I’m looking forward to a bracket-busting, parenthesis-disrupting good time.

    Best wishes,


    Roderick A. McDonald
    Editor, Early American Studies


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