SHEAR 2014 Annual Meeting Preview

A little over a week from now (July 18-20) marks the beginning of the thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), held this year the society’s balmy hometown of Philadelphia, PA. To help get the broader Junto community excited, for what is my favorite conference of the year, I thought I’d offer a brief preview of a few of the panels and sessions I am particularly interested in this year.

I’ve highlighted below just one session from each scheduling block. This preview is just that—it does not represent all of the panels I’m interested in at this year’s conference. I have, for example, excluded all of the panels touching on the history of religion because Monica Mercado has already ably highlighted them over at Religion in American History. The wonderful thing about this year’s SHEAR meeting is the sheer number of fantastic offerings for each session block.[1] No matter your subfield—gender, slavery, religion, and economics—there are offerings sure to challenge your perceptions and shake up the historiography. You can find the full program here.

I invite our community to highlight the panels and sessions in which you are particularity interested in the comments section of this post, if I don’t mention them below. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Libraries in the Atlantic World” Conference Recap

Today’s guest poster, Aaron M. Brunmeier, recaps the recent conference in Liverpool, England. He is a Ph.D. student at Loyola University-Chicago, where he studies print culture, gender, and the public sphere in revolutionary New York City. He is the social media assistant for the Community Libraries Network.


Last week, I finished my minor field exams, lesson-planned for my substitute teacher, and then hopped on a plane headed toward Liverpool for a conference on library history. It was the first of three colloquia organized by the Community Libraries Network and funded by the AHRC. This colloquium, “Libraries in the Atlantic World,” brought scholars of different disciplines from all around the world to share their research and discuss the newest trends in the field at the University of Liverpool, 24-25 Jan. 2014.

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American Studies Association: A Preview for Early Americanists

ASAlogoThis coming weekend the American Studies Association descends on Washington, D.C. for the annual conference. The theme this year is “Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent,” and with thirteen concurrent sessions it promises to be a busy weekend. The ASA is not exactly a bastion of early Americanist work these days, but many of the overriding themes in current scholarship have their roots in early American history. Investigating the ramifications of colonialism and colonialist attitudes? check. Wrestling with (the legacy of) slavery? check. Questioning the role of gender in society? check.

For ten years, the Early American Matters Caucus has been sponsoring panels, and thanks to scrupulous program combing by Dennis Moore and the Working Committee, we can provide a guide to early (meaning, pre-1900) events at the conference.

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Land and Language Symposium: A Recap

Sequoyah_CharlesBirdKing1830On April 26, Columbia University’s American Studies and Early American History Seminars organized the symposium “Rethinking Land and Language: Dialogues in Early American and Indigenous Studies.” Divided into two roundtables dedicated to land and language, the symposium brought together an array of scholars to discuss how new perspectives in Native American studies might influence work being done across fields in early American history. This post will recap a few of the key themes that emerged from the symposium.* Continue reading

Charles Beard, Economic Interpretation, and History

BookCoverImageIt’s been a century since Charles Beard published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. That book has a central role in more or less every overview of the historiography of the constitution and the founding. Just what that role is, though, is still open to debate. That Pauline Maier’s Ratification (2010) has no listing for Charles Beard in the index might have been taken as a sign that scholars no longer have to deal directly with his towering legacy. But that Seth Cotlar called her out on it in a recent William & Mary Quarterly forum, and took her to task for the “absence of any direct engagement” with Beardian, “conflict-oriented” interpretations of the period, reminds us just the opposite. As Saul Cornell put it, in light of powerful and varied strands of contemporary neo-Beardian scholarship, from Robert McGuire to Woody Holton and Terry Bouton, “one wonders if we have fully laid the ghost of Charles Beard to rest.” Well, if you have to wonder… Continue reading

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