Non-Americans Researching Early America in North America

UNBThis week, several Juntoists have offered useful guides for archival work in Spain, France, and England. Today, we are offering something slightly different—a guide to researching in North America! After all, not all early Americanists are American, and planning transatlantic trips can be daunting. Continue reading

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Guest Post: A Recap of Situation Critical!

Today’s post is by John Garcia, a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the American Antiquarian Society.

interrobang“Historians treat theory the way rattlesnakes approach small mammals. They either strike to kill or swallow whole. The latter often amounts to death by citation.”[1] David Waldstreicher’s statement on the problematic status of critical theory in Early American Studies appeared in a 2005 WMQ forum reconsidering the public sphere as a category for analysis. Must historians always view theoretical work through an antagonistic empiricism, or, just as unreflectively, swallow theory whole? Perhaps the tide is turning towards new theoretical engagements, as historians and literary scholars recognize that theories are themselves continually subject to refinement in relation to historical research. A recent conference at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, entitled Situation Critical!: Critique, Theory, and Early American Studies, offered a plethora of keynote lectures and panel presentations surveying older critical models and offering new approaches with which future work in Early American Studies might engage.

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An Interview with Daniel K. Richter

Daniel K. Richter, from the OAH's website

Daniel K. Richter, from the OAH’s website

Daniel K. Richter is the Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, he has published Trade, Land, Power: The Struggle for Eastern North America. He has also written Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, and The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization. He is currently researching English colonization during the Restoration era, for a book tentatively titled The Lords Proprietors: Feudal Dreams in English America, 1660-1689, under contract with Harvard University Press. Today he speaks with The Junto about teaching and directing the McNeil Center, and he offers advice for potential fellowship applicants. Continue reading

Guest Post: MEAD: The Magazine of Early American Datasets

Today’s guest post comes from Andrew M. Schocket, Professor of History and American Culture Studies and Director of American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, and Billy G. Smith, the Michael P. Malone Professor of History, & Distinguished Professor of Letters and Science at Montana State University.

MEAD logoData. Before postmodernism, or environmental history, or the cultural turn, or the geographic turn, and even before the character on the old Star Trek series, historians began to gather and analyze quantitative evidence to understand the past. As computers became common during the 1970s and 1980s, scholars responded by painstakingly compiling and analyzing datasets, using that evidence to propose powerful new historical interpretations. Today, much of that information (as well as data compiled since) is in danger of disappearing. For that and other reasons, we have developed a website designed to preserve and share the datasets permanently (or at least until aliens destroy our planet). We appeal to all early American historians (not only the mature ones from earlier decades) to take the time both to preserve and to share their statistical evidence with present and future scholars. It will not only be a legacy to the profession but also will encourage historians to share their data more openly and to provide a foundation on which scholars can build. Continue reading

Remembering C. Dallett Hemphill

Today’s post was jointly produced by Sara Damiano and Joseph Adelman.

The commu275_dallettnity of early Americanists is relatively small and close-knit within the larger historical profession. That made it all the more shocking and painful when we learned a few weeks ago of the passing of Dallett Hemphill.

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Guest Post: On Publishing Journal Articles

Update: The Junto is sorry to report that C. Dallett Hemphill passed away on Friday, 3 July, after a brief illness. Hemphill received her BA from Princeton, and her PhD in American Civilization from Brandeis University. Through her own scholarly work, contributions to the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and her position as Editor of Early American Studies, she was a big supporter of junior scholars. She is remembered both for her contributions to the field and profession and as a warm and generous scholar. This was her recent guest post for The Junto, in which she offered advice to junior scholars on publishing journal articles.

Guest Poster C. Dallett Hemphill is Professor of History at Ursinus College. She is also Editor of Early American Studies, which is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.

275_dallettI’m grateful to The Junto blog for inviting me to discuss how to publish a journal article. Although the views that follow are my own and the details of the process vary somewhat from journal to journal, I know from conversations with other editors that there is consensus on the essentials.

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Have Cultural Historians Lost the American Revolution?

In just over a week from now, the Massachusetts Historical Society is hosting, “‘So Sudden an Alteration’: The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution,” an important conference on the American Revolution in recognition of the the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act. This is the second of three conferences dedicated to rediscovering or re-energizing study of the American Revolution, the first of which, “The American Revolution Reborn,” was hosted by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies in the spring of 2013. And so with the conference fast approaching, I want to use this piece to think about the specific moment and circumstances in which American Revolution studies currently finds itself, which has been the catalyst for this series of conferences, and suggest possibilities going forward. The primary circumstance of that moment, with which many seem to agree, is that the study of the Revolution is in a rut, plodding along in the same “well-worn grooves of historical inquiry” for the “past fifty years,” according to the conference’s call for papers. Continue reading