Trinity 2020 Term Card

Seminars may be the last thing on our minds at the moment, but we have decided to run OxEARS remotely this term as an opportunity to learn, share, and keep in touch with recent developments in our field despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We hope our friends and colleagues around the world will consider joining us every other Wednesday at 4.30pm BST to hear from our fantastic speakers, whose dates, topics, and biographies are laid out below. We are very pleased to have been able to reschedule Lawrence Hatter (Washington State) and Nicholas Cole (Oxford), whose sessions were cancelled last term due to the strike action, alongside Alys Beverton, who joins us from Oxford Brookes to talk about Confederate foreign policy, and Kelly Sharp (Luther College), who is presenting research from her book project on food, race, and labour in antebellum Charleston.

The link to join the seminar will be sent out via our mailing list on the day of the meeting. If you are not yet signed up, please email grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk.


Week 2: Wednesday 6th May, 4.30pm

Lawrence Hatter (Washington State), ‘The Past Isn’t Past: An Indigenous History of the U.S.-Canadian Border’

Dr Hatter received his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2011, and is the author of Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.-Canadian Border (University of Virginia Press, 2016).


Week 4: Wednesday 20th May, 4.30pm

Nicholas Cole (Oxford), ‘Impeachment at the Founding’

Dr Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and director of the Quill Project, a digital project exploring the creation of constitutions and other negotiated texts through formal parliamentary processes. 


Week 6: Wednesday 3rd June, 4.30pm

Alys Beverton (Oxford Brookes), ‘”Damn The Yankee Imperialists”: Reconsidering Confederates’ Hemispheric Visions during the U.S. Civil War’

Dr Beverton recently received her PhD from University College London, where she wrote about the relationship between the United States and Mexico during and after the American Civil War. She is now a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University.


Week 8: Wednesday 17th June, 4.30pm

Kelly Sharp (Luther College), ‘Bowls and the Meaning of Race: Dining in Antebellum Charleston’

Dr Sharp is assistant professor of Africana Studies and History at Luther College. Her manuscript, under contract with Cambridge University Press, is tentatively titled Provisioning Charleston: Food, Race, and Labor in the Antebellum Lowcountry. She has an article forthcoming in Agricultural History (summer 2020) on African-American contributions to the Lowcountry’s postbellum truck farming industry.

UCU Strikes, February-March 2020

Due to the upcoming industrial action scheduled for Wednesday 26th February and Wednesday 11th March, we have decided to cancel the Week 6 and Week 8 seminars which were due to take place on those dates. We will publish a new term card in April and hope to see you all at our Trinity Term events.

Week 4: Kariann Yokota, ‘A “proper theatre for exertion”: U.S. forays into the trans-Pacific world in the early American republic’

Join us on Wednesday 12th February at 4.15pm for our next OxEARS session, where RAI Visiting Fellow Dr Kariann Akemi Yokota will be joining us to present new research. We will meet in seminar room 1 at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road, and head to the pub for a drink afterwards. All are welcome!

N.B. This will be a conference-style presentation, and there will be no pre-circulated paper.


Kariann Akemi Yokota received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and served as Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University before coming to the University of Colorado Denver. Yokota is the author of the widely acclaimed book, Unbecoming British, among other publications on topics of immigration and ethnicity.

Week 2: Benjamin Schneider, ‘Technological Change and Work: The Transformation of American Transport, 1750-1860’

Join us on Wednesday 29th January at 4.15pm for the first OxEARS of Hilary Term, where Benjamin Schneider will be joining us to present part of his doctoral research. We will meet in seminar room 1 at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road, and head to the pub for a drink afterwards. All are welcome!

N.B. This will be a conference-style presentation, and there will be no pre-circulated paper.


This paper examines the impact of technological change on work in a dynamic sector of the early American economy. Interurban transport in the Northeastern United States was transformed by institutional and technical changes over the period 1750– 1860 as poorly-maintained municipal roads were replaced by turnpikes, canals, and finally railroads. The paper describes and measures the ways that conditions and work opportunities for transport employees were changed by the key inventions of the period. It uses quantitative and qualitative evidence from company and government records and an index that measures changes in the quality of work— whether occupations were good jobs—to determine how new technology affected this aspect of living standards. The job-level analysis is complemented by figures on the range of occupations available within firms and sector-level data on the change in total employment opportunities in transport.

‘The evidence from this multilayered approach suggests that the creation of increasingly large and sophisticated transport systems produced a greater division of labor, which resulted in rising inequality of living standards when viewed from an occupational quality perspective. Municipal roads in the 18th century were built and maintained by unskilled laborers, with occasional stints by skilled craftsmen. By the mid-19th century, large waterway systems such as the Erie Canal and trunk routes like the Pennsylvania Railroad required a wide variety of specialized workers, ranging from brakemen and lock-tenders to draftsmen and foremen. Opportunities for skilled workers increased, while the share of unskilled laborers fell. Many of the new jobs created, such as clerks and superintendents, were in higher-quality occupations that had safer working conditions and higher remuneration. Even so, the growth of the American economy, supported by improved transport, meant that the sector grew substantially. While workers’ fortunes diverged, this example of technological change did not produce significant technological unemployment.


Benjamin Schneider is a DPhil candidate in Economic and Social History at Merton College, Oxford. He has a BA in History & Government from Cornell University and an MSc in Economic and Social History from Oxford. His research focuses on work, labor markets, and living standards in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Hilary 2020 Term Card

Happy New Year, and welcome back to the Oxford Early American Republic Seminar, where we’re beginning 2020 with a diverse array of projects exploring the first century of U.S. history from a range of angles. Economic historian Ben Schneider will start us off with an overview of the transport revolution that transformed life in the early republic between the Revolution and the Civil War. We’re also excited to welcome RAI Visiting Fellow Kariann Yokota, author of Unbecoming British (Oxford University Press, 2011), who will be discussing her recent work. Oxford’s own Nicholas Cole joins us in Week 6 to discuss the hot constitutional topic du jour, impeachment, in historical context, and Lawrence Hatter rounds off the term with an ‘indigenous history of the U.S.-Canadian border.’

Thanks to feedback from our audiences and contributors, we’ve decided to make a small change to our regular scheduling this term. Instead of meeting at 5pm, as we have been accustomed to do in the past, we’ll be kicking off at 4.15pm on a Wednesday afternoon every other week. All of our events will be held in seminar room 1 at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road in Oxford.

Some papers may be precirculated: to receive a copy in advance, and to hear other news, join our mailing list by emailing grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk or stephen.symchych@sant.ox.ac.uk.


Week 2: Wednesday 29th January, 4.15pm

Benjamin Schneider (Oxford), ‘Technological Change and Work: The Transformation of American Transport, 1750-1860’

Benjamin Schneider is a DPhil candidate in Economic and Social History at Merton College, Oxford. He has a BA in History & Government from Cornell University and an MSc in Economic and Social History from Oxford. His research focuses on work, labor markets, and living standards in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Week 4: Wednesday 12th February, 4.15pm

Kariann Yokota (Colorado), title TBC

Dr. Yokota received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and served as Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University before coming to the University of Colorado Denver. Yokota is the author of the widely acclaimed book, Unbecoming British, among other publications on topics of immigration and ethnicity.


Week 6: Wednesday 26th February, 4.15pm

Nicholas Cole (Oxford), ‘Impeachment at the Founding’

Dr Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and director of the Quill Project, a digital project exploring the creation of constitutions and other negotiated texts through formal parliamentary processes. 


Week 8: Wednesday 11th March, 4.15pm

Lawrence Hatter (Washington State), ‘The Past Isn’t Past: An Indigenous History of the U.S.-Canadian Border’

Dr Hatter received his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2011, and is the author of Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.-Canadian Border (University of Virginia Press, 2016).