Early American History and Culture

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This seminar explores a variety of topics each year from the founding of the European colonies in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, until the demise of the Revolutionary generation in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The program tries to strike a balance between presentations by established scholars in the field and younger people who are just getting established. It also tries to do justice to the broad interests of colonial specialists, ranging from traditional political and constitutional themes through newer interests in demography, gender, race, and highly refined methodologies. Although the focus of the seminar has primarily been historical, participation by scholars in literature, religion, and other fields is increasingly encouraged.

Seminar Website

Professor John Dixon

Professor Hannah Farber

Yoav Hamdani

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.



09/26/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
The 'Use of the Globes': Mathematical Geography and Its Cognitive Impact on the Spatial, Social, and Economic Imagination in the Early Republic
Tamara Thornton, SUNY Buffalo

10/10/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
Being Seen Like a State: How Americans (and Britons) Built the Constitutional Infrastructure of a Developing Nation
Daniel Hulsebosch, New York University School of Law

11/14/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
The Natchez War Revisited: Indigenous Diplomacy, Multi-Directional Slave Trades, and Violence in the Lower Mississippi Valley
Elizabeth Ellis, New York University

12/05/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
Making the New Nation Old; Or, Founding Objects: Relics and Nationalism
Matthew Dennis, University of Oregon

02/13/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
“Nor Be Angry…One Life Is Enough to Be Lost”: Clues from an Eighteenth-Century Murder Case for an Iroquois History of Thought and Emotion
Nicole Eustace, New York University

03/06/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
The Failure of Federalism: Boston’s French Years
Mark Peterson, UC Berkeley

04/10/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
Mobility and Satire in the American Plantations
Edward Cahill, Fordham University

05/08/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:30 PM
The Antebellum Origins of Alien Contract Labor Law
Hidetaka Hirota, City College, CUNY​