I am currently Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Springfield. I have been blazing my own personal frontier trail, having taught previously at Ohio University and the University of Sussex. I received my DPhil from the University of Oxford in April 2011, for my dissertation ‘Political Community in Revolutionary Pennsylvania, 1774-1800’.
My research focuses on the history of political organization and mobilization during the American Revolution and Early Republic, with particular focus on extra-governmental forms of political activism. I demonstrate the ways in which ordinary citizens shaped the course of the Revolution, and that the mechanisms that they developed to control political action in 1776 remained a crucial touchstone of politics in the 1790s. In this way, I argue, the Constitution should not be seen as a counter-revolutionary moment that placed restrictions on popular democracy. Instead, we need to understand the Revolution as a primarily political event in which the functioning of the new nation was most heavily influenced by ordinary citizens, as expressed through their political mechanisms. I am currently working on revising my book manuscript, and starting research on my new project, ‘The Constitutional Frontier, 1790-1850’.
When not involved in history projects of some sort, I can normally be found trying to convince my students that cricket is the highest pinnacle of civilization, watching sports, or plotting to continue my quest to set foot in all 50 states.
My personal website can be found here. I also run a personal blog, The Committee of Observation and Inspection. And my Twitter handle is @kenneth_owen.