Week 1: Catherine Treesh, ‘Nova Scotia and the American Revolution’

Join us in the downstairs seminar room at the Rothermere American Institute next week, Wednesday 1st May, at 5pm for our first session of the term, where Catherine Treesh will give a presentation on Nova Scotians’ role in the American Revolution, ‘asking why rebels there were unable to connect with the revolutionary thirteen colonies.’ The paper will not be pre-circulated, and all are welcome to attend.

Catherine Treesh is a doctoral candidate in History at Yale University, focusing on political culture and institutions in eighteenth-century America. Her dissertation, “Creating a Continental Community: Committees of Correspondence and the American Revolution,” explores the committees that British North Americans used to resist imperial policy in the 1760s and 1770s. The project developed from her abiding interest in the ways political communities are formed, which was sparked by coursework on the growth of the early modern British Empire and the breakdown of empires during the Age of Revolutions. She is currently researching in London but will return to Yale this autumn to continue teaching and writing.

Trinity 2019 Termcard: Methodology in Focus

As warmer weather (we hope) approaches, OxEARS will be closing out the academic year with a longer and more diverse seminar series than ever before. Our weekly Trinity Term sessions will explore the early American republic through a wide variety of methodological lenses, taking in religious, environmental, and intellectual history. Other speakers will discuss the period from the perspective of enslaved African Americans seeking freedom, and of native peoples threatened with removal. Moving across disciplinary boundaries, we will be hearing for the first time from scholars working in literary criticism and the digital humanities. We are delighted to be welcoming graduate students and early career researchers from a range of institutions across the United Kingdom and the United States.

All of our seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5pm – we meet in the downstairs seminar room at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road in Oxford. Some papers will be pre-circulated: if you would like to receive a copy in advance, contact grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk or stephen.symchych@sant.ox.ac.uk to be added to our mailing list.

Week 1: Wednesday 1 May

Catherine Treesh (Yale), ‘Nova Scotia and the American Revolution’

Catherine Treesh is a doctoral candidate in History at Yale University, focusing on political culture and institutions in eighteenth-century America. Her dissertation, “Creating a Continental Community: Committees of Correspondence and the American Revolution,” explores the committees that British North Americans used to resist imperial policy in the 1760s and 1770s.

Week 2: Wednesday 8 May

Claire Arcenas (Montana), ‘When Theory Fails in Practice: Learning from Locke’s Mistakes in Early America’

Claire Arcenas is Assistant Professor of American History at the University of Montana, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute in 2019. At present, she is at work on a book about the changing influence of the English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) on American intellectual life over the last three hundred years.

Week 3: Wednesday 15 May

Lindsey K. Walters (Cambridge), ‘The Environmental Thought of Runaways from Slavery’

Lindsey K. Walters is a second-year PhD candidate in American History at the University of Cambridge. Her dissertation is a social and intellectual history of enslaved people’s environmental thinking in the antebellum South.

Week 4: Wednesday 22 May

Michael Breidenbach (Ave Maria), ‘Sovereign Jealousies: The Quebec Act, the Declaration of Independence, and Immigration in the New Republic’

Michael Breidenbach is a Visiting Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Assistant Professor of History at Ave Maria University. His book manuscript, The Pope’s Republic: Liberties and Loyalties in Early America, is a history of religious liberty and church-state relations in early America.

Week 5: Wednesday 29 May

Jane Dinwoodie (Cambridge), ‘Camouflage Tactics and Indian Non-Removal in the American South’

Jane Dinwoodie is a Research Fellow in American History at Jesus College, Cambridge University. Her current book project centres on Indian removal and the thousands of people that successfully avoided it.

Week 6: Wednesday 5 June

Olga Akroyd (Kent), ‘Saints, Spies, Celibates: The Erotic Ambiguity of the Revolutionary Hero’

Olga Akroyd is a final-year PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Kent, working towards a thesis on the representation of the exceptionalist discourse in the novels of Herman Melville and F. Dostoevsky.

Week 7: Wednesday 12 June

Nicholas Cole (Oxford), ‘The Quill Project and Mythbusting the Constitutional Convention’

Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Director of the Quill Project, a digital project exploring the creation of constitutions, treaties, and legislation throughout history. 

Week 8: Wednesday 19 June

Book talk: Tristan Stubbs, Masters of Violence: The Plantation Overseers of Eighteenth-Century Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2018)


Call for Papers, Trinity Term 2019

The Oxford Early American Republic Seminar offers the opportunity for junior researchers to share and discuss their work on America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in depth with students and lecturers from other universities. The seminar would like to invite graduate students and early career researchers working in the United Kingdom to present at our Trinity Term sessions.

Following the example of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, where the seminar is based, we aim to promote an interdisciplinary approach to American studies. We therefore welcome submissions from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences including – but not limited to – history, geography, literature, political science, and economics.

It is expected that most sessions will involve discussion of projects that are currently in-progress. Presenters may pre-circulate a paper for an in-depth workshop-style session, or give a conference-style presentation on their research. Meetings will be held in Oxford at 5pm on Wednesday evenings in the summer term of 2019, with exact dates depending on availability of presenters.  Thanks to generous funding from the Rothermere American Institute, the seminar is able to reimburse presenters for transportation when necessary, and invite them to dinner after the session.

All submissions should make their way to us by Saturday, 9 March 2019 to be considered for next term’s seminar. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, a 100-word biography, and a preference to present or pre-circulate, to

grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk   or


Hilary 2018 Termcard: War in the Early American Republic, 1772-1820

Happy New Year, and welcome back to the Oxford Early American Republic Seminar! This term, OxEARS welcomes four young scholars whose work explores the varied experiences and meanings of war in the early republic. We hope historians from Oxford and elsewhere will be able to join us to explore this exciting new scholarship.

Week 2: Wednesday 23rd January, 5pm

Nicolas Bell-Romero (University of Cambridge)

‘Growing Pains: Epithets and the Problem of American Nationhood, 1776-1782’

Week 4: Wednesday 6th February, 5pm

Adam McNeil (University of Delaware)

‘Fear of a Negro Revolt: Southern Patriot Fears of Black Rebellion, 1772-1776’

Week 6: Wednesday 20th February, 5pm

Jack Campbell Tracey (University of Kent)

‘Loyalism in Motion: The Cultural Rituals of Georgia Loyalists, 1779-1782’

Week 8: Wednesday 6th March, 5pm

Sveinn Jóhannesson (Institute for Historical Research)

‘Science, the War of 1812, and the Hidden Transformation of America’s Central State, 1812-1820’

All of our events this term will take place at the Rothermere American Institute. Some of our papers will be pre-circulated: if you would like to read these papers but are not yet on our mailing list, please send an email to grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk.

Michaelmas 2018 Termcard

We are very proud to present our inaugural termcard! Seminars will generally take place at 5.30pm every other Wednesday at the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road in Oxford.

Wednesday 17th October (Week 2)

Andrew Edwards (University of Oxford): ‘Making Revolutionary Money; Making Money Revolutionary: 1775-1776’

Wednesday 31st October (Week 4)

Meg Roberts (University of Cambridge): ‘Work, Manufacturing, and Disability in the Early Republic’

Wednesday 14th November (Week 6)

Liz Barnes (University of Reading): ‘Navigating Authorities in the Reconstruction South: Freedwomen and Community-Based Sexual Violence’

Wednesday 28th November (Week 8)

Don Ratcliffe (University of Oxford): ‘Henry Storrs and New Light on the Missouri Crisis’

Pre-circulated papers will be circulated via our mailing list a week in advance of the seminar: if you are not already on the mailing list and would like to be added, please email grace.mallon@univ.ox.ac.uk or stephen.symchych@sant.ox.ac.uk.

Two-Minute Review: Stephen Symchych on ‘New England Federalists’

Stephen Symchych, University of Oxford, reviews Dinah Mayo-Bobee, New England Federalists: Widening the Sectional Divide in Jeffersonian America (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017)


Professor Mayo-Bobee’s work offers a fresh perspective on a somewhat under-followed area. By analyzing Federalists’ radicalism as a response to Republican policies beginning with the Haiti crisis of 1805–6, she effectively allows a re-thinking of the path of dissent that reached its anti-climax after the Hartford Convention. In addition, she provides a framework for enhancing our understanding of the role of slavery in the sectional divisions that eventually led to secession and Civil War. By extending the narrative beyond the death of Federalism and before the first Embargo bill, she has left room for additional work to be done in the decades after 1815, as well as before the Jeffersonian ascent in 1800. For these reasons, New England Federalists will doubtless hold interest to scholars and students. Readers in search of a less-concentrated writing style may also find that her original dissertation, which is more expansively and clearly written, remains well worth a look.


This is an extract from a longer piece published in Reviews in History in May 2018. Read the original review in full here.