The 2nd annual Omohundro Institute Scholars’ Workshop began July 5. As last year, six untenured scholars are gathered at the OI for two weeks of intensive discussion, editing and meetings with the OI’s publications team. Each scholar also has the option to stay in Williamsburg and continue to work for up to two weeks after the workshop ends. Applications for next year’s workshop are due January 23, 2017.
Megan Cherry, North Carolina State University
I am currently at work on my first book, New York Asunder: Factional Politics in Colonial New York, 1689-1719. New York Asunder explains the origins and consequences of Leisler’s Rebellion. This popular political uprising split New York into two factions that continued to divide the colony for three decades after Leisler’s execution. My work shows that Leisler’s Rebellion had ideological motivations with deep roots in contemporary political developments in England and the Netherlands. The Glorious Revolution divided England in a dispute between the Whigs and Tories over the shape its government, economy, and empire should take. Meanwhile, the contest in New York was similarly fought over issues of political economy. The Anti-Leislerians shared the political language and theories of the English Tories, while the Leislerian party found much in common with the revolutionary Whigs. Dutch political factions also influenced politics in New York, with the Leislerians drawing heavily on Orangist political culture during the early stages of the rebellion.
Neal Dugre, University of Houston-Clear Lake
I am working on the fifth chapter of my first book manuscript, entitled Inventing New England: The Rise and Fall of the United Colonies in British North America, 1630-1684. The book re-conceptualizes the nature and trajectory of early English colonization by examining relations among the Northeast’s four dominant colonies: Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. Using the records of a confederation that linked the four colonies from 1643 through 1684, the book reconstructs the motives, forms, and limits of intercolonial collaboration and competition. It argues that New England was not simply a cultural or geographic region, but a polity—the “United Colonies of New England”—devised by Puritan leaders to suppress internal discord, overpower opponents, and transform rival settlements into stable colonies.
Donald Johnson, North Dakota State University
I am working on the second chapter of my book manuscript-in-progress, Occupied America: Military Rule and the Everyday Experience of Revolution. The book investigates the everyday experience of ordinary people living under military occupation during the American Revolutionary War. Focusing on day-to-day life in port cities occupied by the British army, the book recounts how men and women from a variety of backgrounds navigated harsh conditions, mitigated threats to their families and livelihoods, took advantage of new opportunities, and balanced precariously between Revolutionary and British attempts to secure their allegiance. The experiences of these people reveal that the process of political change during the Revolution occurred not in a single instant but gradually, over the course of years of everyday hardships, slights, and disruptions that forced Americans to grapple with their political allegiances in intensely personal and highly contingent ways.
Mairin Odle, University of Alabama
I am working on an article, “Pricing and Purchasing Scalps: An Economy of Violence in Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colonies, 1636-1725.” In it, I examine the development of scalp bounties in colonial New England and the role these incentives played in spurring anti-Native violence. The colonial introduction of a price for scalps not only dramatically expanded the scale of an indigenous trophy-taking practice, but also assigned new meanings to scalping. I’m especially interested in the narratives presented by petitioners who sought these bounties, and their efforts to assign meaning and coherence to potentially troubling objects.
This article grows out of my book project, which investigates how seventeenth- and eighteenth-century cross-cultural contact between Natives and newcomers could change those individuals’ physical appearances in profound, permanent ways. Specifically, the project focuses on tattooing and scalping as forms of body alteration connected by painful origins, physically intimate infliction, and storytelling power.
Melissah J. Pawlikowski, The Ohio State University
My book project, “Communities of Diversity” charts the formation of 100 interethnic communities along the mid-Atlantic borderland of British North America. The Seven Years’ War and Pontiac’s War displaced Delaware, Euromerican, and African-Americans. Resettling, the dispossessed identified the Ohio Valley as a commons. The designation neutralized local Indian and European authority, facilitating community building among recent enemies. Interdependence necessitated a balance of power. A cyclical geopolitical authority formed. Collectivism abounded in the construction of mills, exchanged medicinal knowledge, and mixed hunting parties among other examples. Communities re-formed across ethnic lines from the family unit out, a process that embedded peacekeepers throughout the valley. My project reframes mid-Atlantic borderland inhabitants as a common interethnic social group owing to the frequency in which they experienced displacement and by the interethnic strategies they employed to combat globalization.
Bryan Rindfleisch, Marquette University
My book project examines the world of George Galphin, a Scots-Irish trader who immigrated to South Carolina in 1737, who emerged as one of the most influential cultural intermediaries in the American South. Specifically, Galphin offers a window into the many personal and spatial connections that existed in early America; between the Native South, Europe, Spanish-French-British America, and transatlantic locales. Over the course of three decades, Galphin accumulated a wealth of relationships throughout early America, be it with family and friends, business partners, imperial allies, Creek Indian relatives, clan members, and other Indigenous leaders, enslaved African and Native peoples, Euro-American dependents, and others. As a consequence, the Galphin world provides a synthesis for some of the most salient themes in early American history, including empire and colonialism, slavery and resistance, cross-cultural interactions (or intimacy) and inter-ethnic violence, extra and intra-Indigenous relations, Atlantic processes like transoceanic commerce and immigration, and the gendered-racial-class dynamics of early America. By peeling back the layers of Galphin’s world, then, we see how the peoples, places, and processes of early America intersected in the lives of individuals like Galphin, who understood and experienced all of those things in very intimate ways.