OxEARS 2022-23

Welcome back to another year of the Oxford Early American Republic Seminar. This year, we continue to move in an interdisciplinary direction, incorporating some literary offerings into our regular diet of historical research on the United States between the Revolution and the Civil War. If you are a scholar working on early U.S. history, please do join us in person at the Rothermere American Institute or online via Zoom – all meetings are held at 4pm on a Wednesday. To join the mailing list for updates, pre-circulated papers, and Zoom links, please email the convenor at grace.mallon@rai.ox.ac.uk.


Wednesday 2nd November (Week 4)

Caitlin Smith (Heidelberg), ‘Can a Skeptic be a Lady? Domesticity and Irreligiosity in Antebellum American Literature’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 30th November (Week 8)

Tomos Hughes (Warwick), ‘Why Can’t Slaveholders Imagine the Future?’ (pre-circulated)


Wednesday 25th January (Week 2)

Helena Yoo Roth (CUNY), ‘Colonial Time-Consciousness and the American Revolution’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 8th February (Week 4)

Isaiah Ellis (Toronto), ‘ “To Remedy the Evils Under Which We Labor”: Internal Improvement as Religious Statecraft in the Antebellum South’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 22nd February (Week 6)

Gordon Fraser (Manchester), ‘Engineering Peace: Technology and the End of Politics in the American Nineteenth Century’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 8th March (Week 8)

Claire Rydell Arcenas (Montana), book talk: America’s Philosopher: John Locke in American Intellectual Life (Chicago, 2022)


Wednesday 3rd May (Week 2)

Carolyn Zola (Stanford), ‘Industrious or Obstreperous: Impoverished White Huckster Women in the Antebellum City’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 17th May (Week 4)

Kevin Waite (Durham), book talk: West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire (Chapel Hill, 2021)

Wednesday 31st May (Week 6)

Richard Bell (Maryland), ‘Get Out: Streetcars and the Gendered Politics of Segregation in 1850s New York’ (pre-circulated)

Wednesday 14th June (Week 8)

Kenneth Owen (Illinois), ‘Reinventing the Revolution: The State of Franklin, Secessionism, and the New Constitution’ (pre-circulated)

Call for Papers 2022-23

Since 2018, the Oxford Early American Republic Seminar (OxEARS) has provided a forum for junior scholars to share their works in progress with a friendly and expert audience who share an interest in the early American republic, broadly defined as the United States from the Revolution to Reconstruction. Based at Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute, the seminar has so far welcomed dozens of historians and literary scholars from around the world to discuss dissertation chapters, book manuscripts, and article projects at various stages of completion. We now solicit applications for our 2022-23 series, which will offer twelve scholars the opportunity to share their work with the seminar group over the course of Oxford’s three academic terms.

The seminar meets every two weeks in term time in the downstairs seminar room at the Rothermere American Institute. Though we especially encourage applications from scholars who are based in the United Kingdom or will be visiting during the upcoming academic year, we are also able to welcome presenters and participants who are unable to attend in person, and will conduct all of our sessions in hybrid format. Maintaining a socially inclusive and intellectually diverse environment is a principal goal of the seminar, and we strongly encourage applications from individuals whose identities and backgrounds are underrepresented in the academy. Contributors to the seminar in the past have usually been junior scholars between the stages of commencing graduate study and publishing a first book.

Submissions should consist of a paper title, a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper, and a 100-word speaker bio. We are open to both pre-circulated chapters and conference-style presentations – proposals should indicate which of these formats the presenter would prefer. Pre-circulated papers must be sent to the convenor a week in advance of the presentation.

Seminar meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 4pm London time (usually 11am New York, 8am San Francisco). Applicants should indicate which of the following dates will suit them best to present.

  • Wednesday 19th October 2022
  • Wednesday 2nd November 2022
  • Wednesday 16th November 2022
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022
  • Wednesday 25th January 2023
  • Wednesday 8th February 2023
  • Wednesday 22nd February 2023
  • Wednesday 8th March 2023
  • Wednesday 3rd May 2023
  • Wednesday 17th May 2023
  • Wednesday 14th June 2023

Submissions should be emailed to grace.mallon@rai.ox.ac.uk. The deadline for submissions is Monday 12th September 2022.

Trinity 2022 Term Card

This term, OxEARS returns to Oxford! We’ll be holding our first two seminars exclusively online, but from 6th Week, as we welcome Oxford historian Mark Power Smith to present on his forthcoming book, we will begin to transition to hybrid seminars. We hope this will offer the best of both worlds. Our friends from around the UK and across the Atlantic will still be able to join us for presentations and discussions, while, at the same time, we can begin to rebuild our UK-based community of Revolutionary-through-Civil War historians with in-person meetings at the Rothermere American Institute. Whether you’re joining online or in the flesh, we look forward to seeing new faces and familiar ones for this term’s terrific presentations.

As always, OxEARS meets at 4pm London time every other Wednesday in term time. For those who can join us in person for our seminars in 6th Week and 8th Week, we will meet in the downstairs seminar room at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road, next door to Mansfield College and a few doors down from Rhodes House.

Week 2: Wednesday 4th May, 4pm BST (ONLINE)

Lauren Michalak (Maryland), ‘”These Surely are not the People who ought to have absolute authority over Us”: The Gordon Riots as Reaffirmation of the Patriot Cause’

Week 4: Wednesday 18th May, 4pm BST (ONLINE)

Grant Kleiser (Columbia), ‘”To Have America a Free Port”: Free Ports and United States Independence, 1776-1784’

Week 6: Wednesday 1st June, 4pm BST (HYBRID)

Mark Power Smith (Oxford), book talk: Young America: The Transformation of Nationalism before the Civil War (Charlottesville, 2022)

Week 8: Wednesday 15th June, 4pm BST (HYBRID)

Gautham Rao (American University), ‘The American Civil War: The Enslavers’ State Endures’

The seminar is open to scholars at all institutions and career stages who are interested in U.S. history. To join our mailing list and to request copies of pre-circulated papers and Zoom links, please email the convenor, Dr Grace Mallon, at grace.mallon@rai.ox.ac.uk.

Hilary 2022 Term Card

Another year, another term, another COVID variant. As omicron drives case numbers to new heights and we all continue to try to stay away from one another as much as possible, we hope you’ll join us (virtually) in Oxford this Hilary Term to learn more about the latest research into the history of the United States from the Revolution to the Civil War, and to talk with our expert speakers and audience members about key topics like race, gender, citizenship, violence, and diplomacy. Here’s this term’s lineup:

Week 2: Wednesday 26th January 2022, 4pm GMT

Anna O. Law (Brooklyn College), ‘The Roots of American Citizenship’

Week 4: Wednesday 9th February 2022, 4pm GMT

Nora Lessersohn (UCL), ‘The Sultan of New York: Armenian-American Diplomacy in the Era of the Eastern Question’

Week 6: Wednesday 23rd February 2022, 4pm GMT

Kevin Vrevich (Wesleyan), ‘United “Affrican Brethren:” Black Nationalism and Racial Solidarity in Early Republican New England’

Week 8: Wednesday 9th March 2022, 4pm GMT

Erin Shearer (Reading/Cardiff), ‘ “She took the whip frum him an’ give him a snake beatin’:” Enslaved Women, Counter-Whippings, and Revenge in the Antebellum South’

OxEARS meets every other Wednesday in term time at 4pm GMT (11am Eastern, 10am Central, 9am Mountain, 8am Pacific). The seminar is open to scholars at all institutions and career stages who are interested in U.S. history. To join our mailing list and to request copies of pre-circulated papers and Zoom links, please email Grace Mallon at grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk.

Michaelmas 2021 Term Card

The Oxford Early American Republic Seminar is back this November for a fourth academic year of seminars exploring the history and culture of the United States between independence and the Civil War. One of the special contributions OxEARS makes is to provide a welcoming space for junior scholars to workshop their research as they complete their dissertations and start out on the road to publication, and we hope you will join us online this Michaelmas Term as we hear from three up-and-coming scholars writing on a diverse range of times, places, and subjects. In Week 4, we kick off the year with a paper from Connie Thomas (Queen Mary, University of London) on early contests over U.S. citizenship during the Longchamps Affairs, 1784-1786. On Wednesday 17th November, we showcase some rising Oxford talent with Joshua Waechter‘s paper, ‘How to Draft a Constitution: Methods of Proceeding at State Conventions, 1818-1821.’ Finally, our first speaker from continental Europe, Matteo Rossi, joins us from Turin on December 1st to present his work on the history of economic thought and free labour ideology in the antebellum United States.

Due to the ongoing pandemic – and, more importantly, our desire to include scholars from around the world in our discussions – this year’s seminars will be held online via Zoom. All events take place on Wednesdays at 4pm London time, which is usually one hour behind France and Italy, five hours ahead of New York, six hours ahead of Chicago, and eight hours ahead of San Francisco. (Please note that daylight saving time ends on Sunday 31st October in the UK and on Sunday 7th November in the United States, so there will only be a 4-hour time difference between London and New York on Wednesday 3rd November.) We welcome all scholars who are interested in the early American republic, whatever their career stage. Zoom links for every session and pre-circulated papers will go out via our mailing list a few days before. If you are not yet on the mailing list and would like to be, please email Grace Mallon (she/her) at grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk.

Week 4: Wednesday 3rd November 2021, 4pm GMT

Connie Thomas (QMUL), ‘”The Common Cause:” Contesting Early American Citizenship in the Longchamps Affairs, 1784-1786’ (pre-circulated paper)

Week 6: Wednesday 17th November 2021, 4pm GMT

Joshua Waechter (Oxford), ‘How to Draft a Constitution: Methods of Proceeding at State Conventions, 1818-1821’

Week 8: Wednesday 1st December 2021, 4pm GMT

Matteo Rossi (Turin), ‘Henry Carey, the Philadelphia Working Class, and the Origins of Free Labour (1835-1840)’ (pre-circulated paper)