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The History of Slavery through Literature and Film

The History of Slavery through Literature and Film

This upper-level undergraduate seminar explores the history of race and slavery in America through autobiography, literature, and film. We pair first-person accounts of slavery with modern fictional narratives in order to examine the meaning and memory of slavery throughout American history. Central themes and topics…

The Early Modern Archive

The Early Modern Archive

This graduate-level course examines how early modern archives were created — and how modern historians are using those archives today in new and innovative ways. From mapping to musicology, we examine the exciting ways that scholars have re-imagined and re-narrated the early modern past. Each…

Food, Magic, Medicine: History of the Atlantic World

Food, Magic, Medicine: History of the Atlantic World

“Food, Magic, Medicine” introduces the age of exploration as an era of encounter and exchange. Rather than focusing on conquest, it asks how Native and African cultures transformed European, American and global history during the early modern era. While imperialism relied on an ideology of…

Constructing Religion, Defining Crime

Constructing Religion, Defining Crime

What do we mean when we talk about “religion”? And how do we distinguish “religion” from “superstition” or “witchcraft”? Most importantly, who gets to decide what counts as a religion and what is a superstition – or a crime? In the early modern period (1500-1800),…

Atlantic Workshop

Atlantic Workshop

Since 2014, I have co-organized the Atlantic Workshop at the University of Minnesota, first with Joanne Jahnke-Wegner and now with Hannah Smith. We meet every other week throughout the academic year. We normally discuss works-in-progress, but we have also hosted discussions on teaching Atlantic history,…

Missionaries & Maroons

Missionaries & Maroons

On August 7, 1755, George Caries, the first Moravian missionary to Jamaica, visited the maroon town of Accompong. The Jamaican maroons, mostly escaped slaves who had built a series of towns and their own form of government in the interior of the island, had won…

Caribbean Reformations

Caribbean Reformations

Caribbean Reformations begins from the understanding that in the Caribbean, enslaved and freed Africans had to fight their way into Protestant churches – in many cases facing intense resistance from white Protestant slave owners. As they did so, they challenged and transformed European Protestant ideas…

Missionary Encounters

Missionary Encounters

Evangelism was as a major justification for imperial expansion during the early modern period. Yet the actual relationship between missionaries and those they hoped to convert was far more complex than the narrative of conquest suggests. Missionaries were often the most prolific writers on non-European…

Quakers and Slavery
The 1688 Germantown Protest against Slavery

Quakers and Slavery

I have written several articles about Quakers and slavery in the seventeenth century. Two of them focus on antislavery thought, while the third examines Quaker slave holding practices in Barbados. All three of these articles begin from the premise that Quakers initially accepted slavery, but…

Baptism in New England
View of Christ's Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Baptism in New England

“Beyond the Half-way Covenant” redefines the New England church membership crisis of the 1650s and 60s as a crisis of outreach, rather than a crisis of declension. It examines family strategies and ancestral networks in Cambridge, Massachusetts and argues that Jonathan Mitchel, the minister of…


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