Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Uncommon Sense—the blog

Author Archive

TJ takes on Buffon

· March 17th, 2021 · No Comments

By Gordon M. Sayre, author of “Jefferson Takes on Buffon: The Polemic on American Animals in Notes on the State of Virginia” in the January 2021 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia has intrigued me for my entire career. In my dissertation research I read Wayne… Read More »

Science for the History of Science: An Imperfect Tool

· March 3rd, 2021 · No Comments

By Whitney Barlow Robles If given the option to expand my already-lengthy article, “The Rattlesnake and the Hibernaculum,” which appeared in the January 2021 William & Mary Quarterly—well, I would probably decline for fear of losing my reader in its serpentine folds. If forced to expand my essay, on the other hand, I would have… Read More »

Defining the project

· November 24th, 2020 · No Comments

By Hannah Farber When I help graduate students prepare applications for fellowships and jobs, we sometimes talk about the phrase “my project.” What does this phrase actually mean? Ph. D. students usually use it, reflexively, to mean “my dissertation.” Book writers often use it to mean “my book.” I prefer to think about a “project”… Read More »

An argument over seven years in the making

· November 17th, 2020 · No Comments

By Asheesh Siddique In 2013, while I was a PhD candidate making my first foray into research on a dissertation about administrative knowledge practices in the early modern British empire, I stumbled across a curious and cryptic set of notes in an obscure file at the UK National Archives at Kew Gardens. The file, TNA,… Read More »

Jack Custis, Race, and the Unseen in Colonial Virginia Portraits

· August 31st, 2020 · 1 Comment

by Janine Yorimoto Boldt One painfully obvious fact as one scrolls through Colonial Virginia Portraits is that the faces are overwhelmingly white. Colonial Virginia Portraits includes more than 500 recorded portraits of which approximately 95 are documented but no longer extant. Only four of the total represent a non-white person. Three of these feature unnamed… Read More »