James Alexander (Alec) Dun is an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University. He has published articles in the William and Mary Quarterly and the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, as well as a number of chapters in edited volumes on race and identity, radicalism and revolution, slavery and antislavery. His first book, Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), appeared last year. We are grateful that he took the time to answer some of our questions. Continue reading
This is the third post in The Junto’s roundtable on the Black Atlantic. The first was by Marley-Vincent Lindsey, and the second was by Mark J. Dixon. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan holds a PhD in early American history from the University of Leicester and is Coordinator and Instructor of Public History at Rutgers University. She is currently completing a manuscript on vagrancy and indigent transiency in the early nineteenth century US.
The early modern Atlantic Ocean was traversed by countless seafarers with varying degrees of maritime experience, in varying degrees of (un)freedom. People used mobility, including travel by sea, to negotiate new identities for themselves, however precarious. Continue reading
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
Today’s post was jointly produced by Sara Damiano and Joseph Adelman.
The community 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.
Pete David is a songwriter from Sheffield, who performs with the band, The Payroll Union. They have produced two EPs—Underfed & Underpaid and Your Obedient Servant—and have two albums: The Mule & The Elephant and their most recent, Paris of America.
Andrew Heath (@andrewdheath) is a lecturer in American History at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He spent several years in grad school in Philadelphia, where he became fascinated by the city’s nineteenth-century past.
Paris of America, a new album by the Sheffield U.K.-based band The Payroll Union, is the product of a two-year collaboration between songwriter Pete David and historian Andrew Heath. With the help of funding from Sheffield University, Pete and the band explored the turbulent history of antebellum Philadelphia: a city in which racial, religious, and social strife earned it the title of “mob town” of the Union. Here, they reflect on the project, and the possibilities of exploring the history of the Early Republic beyond the more familiar routes of text and film. Continue reading
Yesterday, Chris Minty reviewed Jessica Choppin Roney’s book, Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia. Today, she speaks with The Junto about the book project and the process of turning the dissertation manuscript into a book. She received her MA at the College of William and Mary and her PhD at The Johns Hopkins University. She is currently Assistant Professor of History at Temple University in Philadelphia and is organizing a global early modern conference this November: Port Cities, 1500-1800, hosted by Temple University, the Program in Early American Economy and Society, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Continue reading
Jessica Choppin Roney, Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).
In recent years, early American political history has received considerable attention. A range of historians have enriched our understanding of how Americans participated in and contributed to politics in the early republic. Popular politics during the colonial period has received less attention. But in Governed by a Spirit of Opposition, part of Studies in Early American Economy and Society from the Library Company of Philadelphia, Jessica Choppin Roney focuses on politics in Philadelphia prior to the American Revolution. In so doing, she makes an important contribution to the field of early American history. Continue reading
Big news out of Philadelphia earlier this week, as the city’s NBA team, the 76ers, introduced an “updated brand identity.” For now, the team has released the new logo set, though updated uniforms are also reportedly in the works. That new logo set amounts mostly to slight revisions of existing logos, but also includes a secondary logo featuring a bespectacled Benjamin Franklin donning a blue jacket emblazoned with “76,” red culottes so as to expose knee high and team colored-striped socks, and blue sneakers. Suffice it to say that my excitement about my prospective move to Philadelphia this fall just increased ten-fold. Continue reading
K.A. Woytonik is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of New Hampshire. In 2013-2014, she was a Research Associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Her dissertation is a cultural history of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Early Republic Philadelphia.
A bevy of esteemed scholars across fields have established the devastating effects of early modern epidemics, from Europe’s plagues to the decimation of Native American populations in North America. Epidemics occupied the minds of colonists, who, depending on region and demographics, participated in prevention strategies including quarantine, the destruction of soiled linens belonging to sick individuals, days of fasting and prayer, and immunity-building efforts such as inoculation and changes in diet. In today’s academy, epidemics offer historians avenues of interdisciplinary discussion, as the impact of contagious disease can be read not only in the archive, but in literature, in artwork, and in archaeological findings.
François Furstenberg. When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation. New York: Penguin, 2014.
On the Fourth of July, 1794, two former members of France’s Constituent Assembly gazed from a window across New York’s Bowling Green. Both had arrived in the United States just that year. Back in 1789, they had helped to launch a revolutionary movement for liberal and constitutional reforms. But as the Revolution grew ever more violent and threatened to destroy them, they fled France. The United States, they thought, would be a suitable refuge: the republican spawn of the British government whose constitution they so admired, the new nation whose Enlightenment principles would guard them from the threats of the Parisian mob. They must have been unnerved to see “a host of pro-French radicals” marching towards them that day, the rabble-rousing Girondin ambassador Edmond-Charles Genet at the fore, “singing the Marseillaise and other republican songs,” and hurling insults up to the windows where the émigrés stood watching (80). Continue reading