Roundtable — Facing the Archive from the Present: A Celebration of Dan Richter’s Work – Tara A. Bynum and Liz Polcha

EAS Editors’ Note: This guest-edited roundtable is a follow up to “Facing the Future of Early American Studies,” the July 2023 conference where scholars reflected on the scholarship and mentorship of Daniel K. Richter, director emeritus of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Roundtable Introduction – Tyra A. Bynum and Liz Polcha Jump to Facing the Archive from the Present Roundtable Posts As literary scholars, we want to honor…

The Ethics of Narrating the Past – Sherri V. Cummings

What are the ethics of narrating the past? I often wrestle with this question while researching the quotidian lives of African women and their daughters, in slavery and precarious freedom, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Saidiya Hartman, in her essay “Venus in Two Acts,” reminds us to respect the “shrieks, the moans, the nonsense and the opacity,” of their experiences despite the want, or rather the need, for…

Cultivating Curiosity: Phillis Wheatley in Newport – Michael Monescalchi

To more imaginatively engage with the early American archive, I think that we should go into every archive—and approach every text we read—without any kind of wishful thinking. Instead, we should be open-minded and curious about what we uncover. One of the ways that I’ve been able to enhance my curiosity is to move beyond the individual writers I research and learn more about the communities they belonged to and…

Call for Submissions: Reconceptualizing Religion in Early African American Literature–Deadline Extended to July 30th

For a special guested-edited issue on early African American literature and religion, Early American Studies seeks article-length contributions on how 18th- and 19th-century Black writers reconceptualized religion beyond the telos of the nation-state. The roles of religion and religious thought in early Black culture have often been understood within the dualistic frame of resistance whereby Christianity, the dominant religion of colonial and antebellum American society, is both employed by masters…

Beyond Myth-busting – Bradley Dubos

On December 6, 1811, New York City’s mayor, DeWitt Clinton, stood before the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) and voiced a prediction: “Before the passing away of the present generation, not a single Iroquois will be seen in this state.” I stumbled on Clinton’s speech while assisting with content research for a history exhibition at N-YHS. The exhibit, Acts of Faith: Religion and the American West, opens by examining how Haudenosaunee…

Interview with Douglas Winiarski, Author of the Spring 2024 Free Access EAS Article

Why did you choose to research your topic? What interested you about the topic? My article, “Revisioning the Shawnee Prophet,” began as a COVID project. I was already familiar with the journal of Quaker philanthropist William Allinson, in which he described his dinner conversation with Hendrick Aupaumut, and I was intrigued by the idea that Laloeshiga/Tenskwatawa started receiving visions several years earlier than historians had previously thought. With special collections…

Transcripts from the “Freedom Petitioners’” Campaign – Grant Stanton

In this post, EAS author Grant Stanton transcribes and collects for the first time all of the documents produced by a group of Black men in Boston who petitioned for the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts during the American Revolution. This includes four petitions and a memorial formally submitted to the Massachusetts General Court between 1773 and 1777; a circular letter sent to individual representatives and towns throughout the colony…

Interview with Zachary M. Bennett, 2023 Murrin Prize Winner

Zachary M. Bennett’s article, “‘Canoes of Great Swiftness’: Rivercraft and War in the Northeast” EAS 21, No. 2 (Spring 2023), won the 2023 Murrin Prize. The Murrin Prize is named for John Murrin (1936-2020), Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, who was a scholar of early American history and an active member of the McNeil Center community. The prize is awarded annually for the best article in EAS. The prize…

“Native Copper”: Exhibiting Anishinaabe Wealth at the U.S. National Museum – Gustave Lester, 2023 Murrin Prize Honorable Mention

Gustave Lester’s article, “Land, Fur, and Copper: The Union of Settler Colonialism and Industrial Capitalism in the Great Lakes Region, 1815–1842,” EAS 21, No. 1 (Winter 2023), received an honorable mention for the 2023 Murrin Prize. The Murrin Prize is named for John Murrin (1936-2020), Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, who was a scholar of early American history and an active member of the McNeil Center community. The prize…

Interview with Peter Olsen-Harbich, Associate Director, MCEAS

As the spring semester winds down, Peter J. Olsen-Harbich is also finishing up his first year as the McNeil Center’s new Associate Director with the remit of Academic Affairs. It’s an exciting time for MCEAS, and we at EAS Miscellany wanted to learn more about his work at the Center and in the field of early American studies more generally. Peter graciously took the time to answer some questions posed…