Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Uncommon Sense—the blog

OI colloq series begins February 7

· January 11th, 2017 · No Comments

The Omohundro Institute’s colloquium series resumes February 7 with a presentation by Greta LaFleur (Yale University) entitled “The Complexion of Sodomy.”

The OI’s colloquium series convenes up to six times per semester to discuss projects in progress. Papers are pre-circulated and available by request. Although only postdoctoral work is presented, graduate students at all levels are warmly encouraged to attend the sessions. Each meeting draws students, faculty and scholars from the Virginia region for robust conversations.

Scholars interested in presenting their work at a colloquium should contact Karin Wulf ( by February 15 in order to be considered for the upcoming academic year’s schedule. The OI provides presenters with lodging and up to $300 in travel.

Junior and senior scholars alike have found the experience helpful.

Allison Madar (California State University, Chico) presented “‘Delivered of a Bastard Child’: Bastardy, Servitude, and the Law in Eighteenth-Century Virginia” on November 15, 2016. She reports

“I thoroughly enjoyed my OIEAHC colloquium experience. I presented the first draft of a chapter on servant bastard bearing and bastardy laws in eighteenth-century Virginia, and it was clear that the attendees had read carefully and were invested in helping me make it better. They asked questions about my source base, the unfree women themselves, their children, and the courts, among other things, and provided thoughtful and constructive feedback. In addition they challenged me not only to think more broadly about eighteenth-century law, but also to think more carefully about family strategies and the choices these women had both in servitude and in freedom. I couldn’t have asked for much more out of my evening at the Institute.”

Simon Newman (University of Glasgow) discussed his work in progress, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Escaped Slaves in Jamaica,” on October 11, 2016. He offers

“The OI colloqs provide an invaluable opportunity to improve work-in-progress. The OI and the Department of History at William and Mary have a large and knowledgeable community of graduate students, faculty and postdoctoral fellows. But what makes the OI colloq unique is the presence of past and present editors and editorial staff of a world-leading journal and book series in early American and Atlantic World history. Thus in addition to benefitting from the subject expertise of those present, colloq presenters also receive feedback from people who know a great deal about how best to formulate and present original research. There is no other seminar like it.”

The full Spring 2017 schedule includes:

February 7, Greta LaFleur (Yale University), “The Complexion of Sodomy”

February 14, Matthew Kruer (University of Oklahoma), “The Time of Anarchy, 1675-1685”

February 28, Phillip Stern (Duke University), ‘‘‘A Wild Chimera of Visionary Brain’: Land Companies and Colonial Sovereignty
in the Anglo-Atlantic World”

March 21, Johann Neem (Western Washington University), “Liberal Education Confronts the Rise of Democracy: Yale’s Reports of 1828”

April 4, Deborah Hamer (Omohundro Institute Postdoctoral Fellow), “Marriage and the Problem of Governance in the Seventeenth Century Dutch Atlantic World”

April 25, Anya Zilberstein (Concordia University), “From the Barnyard to the Mess Hall: Feeding People like other Animals in the Eighteenth Century”


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