A Tale of Two Richards, or, from Sugar and Slavery to Sugar and Slaves – Roderick A. McDonald

I am taking a wee break from celebrating the 50th anniversary release this month of Joni Mitchell’s fantastic Blue album to enjoy our commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Richard Dunn’s fantastic Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713. Apparently, the early 1970s ‘twas a good time for seminal works! And I’m just delighted to be participating in this marvelous event with…

Remarks for A Workshop in Honor of Sugar and Slaves on its 50th Anniversary – Laura Rosanne Adderley

I was one of Richard’s graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania. As someone from the Caribbean and from an undergraduate joint degree in History and Latin American Studies, it was only at the University of Pennsylvania–because graduate students are expected to look at the trajectories of historians’ work—that I learned about Richard’s first identity (or always in my mind his “other identity”) as a historian of early North America.…

Sugar and Slaves Resource Guide

As we mark  the 50th anniversary of Richard S. Dunn’s path-breaking book Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624–1713, we wish to draw attention to the myriad ways Dunn’s work influenced subsequent scholars in the field, including many Early American Studies authors. Dunn’s pioneering social history on the English West Indies not only depicted the rise of a powerful white planter class,…

The Pig of Knowledge: The Career of a Concept – Dan Richter

The Pig of Knowledge and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies (MCEAS) grew up together. The porcine horizon—as archaeologists might call the Pig’s first appearance in the Center’s material culture—occurred in 1998, the same year in which the former Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies assumed its current name. The porker’s premier was abrupt, and two-fold: The Pig of Knowledge graced both the 1997–1998 fellows’ class memorial tee-shirt and…

The Royal Geographical Pastime: A Game from 1770 – Holly Brewer

For several years now I have had students in my U.S. history classes play The Royal Geographical Pastime: Exhibiting a Complete Tour Round The World. In which are delineated the North East and North West Passages into the South Sea, and other modern Discoveries.  Thomas Jeffreys, “geographer to the King,” who created and published it in London in 1770 at a moment when the British empire was very powerful, intended…

Indigenous Perspectives and Historical Empathy – Maeve Kane

After portraying Benjamin Franklin in the Reacting to the Past game Forest Diplomacy, one of my students, who is enrolled at the Seneca Nation, said that she finally understood why settlers did what they did. She wrote in her post-game reflection that it was not until she had to inhabit the role of Franklin and advocate for Indigenous dispossession that she really understood why settlers had pushed (and continue to…

Gaming the Framing: To Teach the Convention, the Constitution, and the Founding – John Patrick Coby

A Convention delegate—who shall go unnamed—while researching the backgrounds of his colleagues in Philadelphia, has uncovered information of a compromising nature; and being something of a scoundrel himself, he resolves to use that information in ways that will advance his own interests. One by one he approaches his targets, intimating that, for considerations, he might be willing to keep quiet about their secrets. When he comes upon Alexander Hamilton and…

Reacting to the Past for Early Americanists – Elizabeth George

Class was over. It had been over for five minutes. I could see the next class growing restless in the hall. I interrupted a heated exchange among my students with an “ok, we’ll decide if he lives or dies next time!” The students immediately broke into smaller groups, everyone talking quickly, even as the next class came in and forced them away from the tables.  This is a typical class…

Building Student Engagement with Reacting to the Past – Christopher E. Hendricks

A widow who runs a tavern in Manhattan stands before a gathering of representatives, some loyal to the Crown, others interested in severing their ties with Great Britain and establishing a new government. A group of women, enslaved people, craftsmen, and others listen as she petitions the august body to recognize property and voting rights for women in New York, when suddenly a mob forms and storms the assembly. The…