History Dissertation Abstracts

If you need a good dissertation abstract for your own research, you should be very careful in searching in order to pick out the highest available quality. A good sample of an academic paper is well worth giving the search some effort. Now, let’s see where you can find something that can be used for your own history project.

  • Ask your supervisor.
  • In fact, many students avoid asking their supervisors for help, being afraid of creating a wrong impression. They think that showing their supervisors that they do not know something is a mistake that will lead to a lower evaluation of their work. It is a totally mistaken conception, because supervisors are here to solve your problems with you, while you are in the process of writing of your project. So, if you need help with any part of your research paper, you should feel free to turn to them and ask for a piece of advice. Quite often, they have works of other students, so you can use their abstracts as a sample to compose your own one. Sometimes, supervisors dedicate time to helping you with your task personally.

  • Turn to a library.
  • Libraries possess huge collections of dissertations and other research projects in history. If you do some search in a library of your college, you will find an enormous quantity of perfectly made projects. You can use them as samples without fear. Professors are quite amiable towards works that use projects of other students of the same college.

  • Turn to online databases.
  • Online resources are truly huge, so you can find numerous samples of history dissertation abstracts without much trouble. They are available both for free and for a certain fee. It’s up to you to decide which option suits you better. However, you should keep in mind that reliable high-quality samples are more usual among paid-for offers.

  • Turn to professionals.
  • If you have tried all the above-mentioned options and none has worked, you can turn to professional writers who are available online. You can find them with the help of your friends or fellow students who have already tried their services, or on your own. They can work individually or for special companies, and this factor influences their fees. Your task is to choose the most reliable online author who specializes in history and can provide you with a high-quality abstract for your dissertation. As well, you can take advantage of free samples that are displayed at the websites of such writers.


    Dissertation Abstracts

    Dissertation abstracts are arranged alphabetically by author. An author/title index is also available.



    Name:Robert Alderson
    Email address:ralderso@gpu.edu
    Institution:Georgia Perimeter College
    Dissertation Title:Michel-Ange-Bernard de Mangourit, Consul at Charleston, S.C., 1792-1794
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2000
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Owen Connelly, Robert Weir, Paul MacKenzie, Michael Smith, Paul Johnson, Bruce Marshall

    Abstract:
    Consul Mangourit’s tenure at Charleston is a case study in transatlantic republicanism. The early part of the French Revolution was a time when France and the United States were in a position to work together in the cause of international republicanism. However, because of different conceptions of the nature of republics, diplomatic errors were made, mostly on the French side. The Girondin minister to the United States, Edmond Charles Genet, was instructed to spread revolution into the colonial holdings of Britain and Spain. The Girondins hoped that the American government would help in this republican crusade. However, President Washington decided on a policy of neutrality. Genet proceeded with his plans, alienating the American government and touching off something of a constitutional crisis. The Jacobins, who repudiated international republican revolution, replaced Genet with a Jacobin minister. During the Genet Mission, it was clear that self-interest and republicanism could not be reconciled on the national level. However, Genet’s subordinate, Consul Mangourit, met with considerable success in bringing self-interest to the service of the republican cause. He used the interest of many southerners in western lands to tie his allies to the French cause. The friends of France were not merely interested in western expansion; they genuinely believed that the cause of liberty, faced with hostile European powers, was in peril. Pro-French South Carolinians developed their fears into a criticism of the state’s social order. Other South Carolinians, including women and slaves, indicated that they too were interested in the debate over the nature of republicanism. In the end, Mangourit's careful preparations came to nothing; he was recalled at the same time that Genet was. France and American republicanism diverged and the French lost the best opportunity they had to reclaim their empire in North America. The tension between republicanism and self-interest could be resolved, but republicanism could not be the only basis for relations, nor could it overcome the pull of national self-interest.


    Name:Deborah Allen
    Email address:DeborahJAllen@aol.com
    Institution:Literatures in English, Rutgers University
    Dissertation Title:To Measure and Describe "The Whole Globe of the Earth": Geographical Writing and Imperial Enterprise in the English Atlantic World, 1660-1815
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., September 2003
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Myra Jehlen, Michael Mckeon, and Michael Warner

    Abstract:
    My dissertation explores the relationship between geographical writing—the activity of describing the earth in both a mathematical and a prose sense—and the practical enterprise of commercial and territorial expansion on the globe by Britain and the United States in North America in the long eighteenth century. My project traces the changing emphases in geographical writing in all its forms in the latter half of the seventeenth century, when the focus of Britain's colonization of the Atlantic world was on the safety and expansion of transoceanic routes of commerce and coastal settlements, and throughout the eighteenth century, when both Britain and then America's competitive imperialism was centered on consolidating and extending political control of territory in North America. Examining archival materials such as maps and sea charts and forms such as the atlas, geographical compendium, and travel account, I argue that geopolitical necessity, rather than concerns with the improvement of navigation and practical seamanship, increasingly determined the aims and scope of geographical writing in the period my dissertation covers. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the production of accurate written and graphic descriptions of North America's geography, rather than geographical inventories of the terrestrial globe, became critical to the success of Britain and early America's imperial enterprise. My dissertation examines works by London mapmakers and publishers John Seller and Robert Morden, Daniel Defoe's contributions to Atlas Maritimus and Commercialis (1728), and cartographical memoirs by Lewis Evans and John Green. After the French and Indian war, Britain was no longer a simply maritime power, but a nation that articulated its imperial claims on a continental scale. It was through statesmen like Thomas Jefferson, the most scientific of America's presidents and whose writings I examine in my dissertation's final chapter, that nationalism and "natural rights" were extended to include territorial rights to the North American continent.

    Name:Edward E. Andrews
    Email address:edwarda@cisunix.unh.edu
    Institution:The University of New Hampshire
    Dissertation Title: Prodigal Sons: Indigenous Missionaries in the British Atlantic World, 
    1640-1780
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Expected May 2009
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Eliga H. Gould, W. Jeffrey Bolster, Cynthia Van Zandt, Funso Afolayan, 
    and David J. Silverman


    Abstract:

    This dissertation explores the hundreds of black and Native American preachers who worked as Christian missionaries in the early modern British Atlantic world. While scholars have generally accepted the convention that most missionaries were white Europeans who knew little about the native peoples they were trying to convert, there were practical and theological explanations for why native preachers not only became ubiquitous, but often outnumbered their white counterparts in Protestant missions. The language barrier, the opportunity to tap into extensive kinship networks, and early modern interpretations of black and Indian bodies all catalyzed the formation of an indigenous evangelical corps from Iroquoia to India. Protestant missionaries also looked back to early Christian history to explain how “gospelization” might advance alongside their own rapidly expanding world. They believed that the gentiles – or unconverted nations – were central to their own conversion during the initial spread of Christianity and incorporated this model of early Christian evangelization into their own approach to missionary work among black slaves, Africans, and Native Americans. Situated as they were between British missionaries and unconverted natives, indigenous missionaries also found themselves at the center of transatlantic conversations about race, empire, spiritual authority, and the place of Native Americans and Africans in Western Christendom. In sum, the centrality of indigenous preachers, teachers, and evangelists to British Atlantic missions demands that we reconceptualize the historical relationships between missionaries and neophytes, imperial colonization and Protestant evangelization, and Christian doctrines and indigenous spiritualities. Prodigal Sons thus enriches and complicates our understanding of cultural interaction between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans in the most formative period of those encounters.


    Name:Manuel Barcia Paz
    Email address:mbarcia24@gmail.com
    Institution:University of Essex
    Dissertation Title:Domination and Slave Resistance in Cuban Plantations, 1808-1848
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2005
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Matthias Röhrig Assunção/Robin Blackburn and James Walvin

    Abstract:
    For over a century slave resistance has been a frequent topic of research for scholars from both sides of the Atlantic. In the Cuban case, some particular forms of resistance have monopolised the scholarly efforts in this field, among them marronage and slave revolts. Albeit slave resistance has been considered a crucial issue, very much has been published using secondary sources, and giving priority to some relevant maroon communities and slave conspiracies and rebellions. Books and articles embracing both violent and non-violent forms of slave resistance in Cuba are very few. Perhaps with the exception of Gloria García's book (La esclavitud desde la esclavitud: la visión de los siervos, 1996), no other important study has equally examined all the forms of resistance practiced by the African slaves and their descendants in Cuba. García's work, however, had a wide scope and drew examples from both urban and rural environments, and without discriminating chronologically or geographically. Following García's work, but using a different approach, I have also tackled the diverse forms of slave resistance in Cuba, concentrating my attention on the western part of the island, where sugar and coffee plantations dominated throughout the nineteenth century. The central argument of this dissertation is that slaves in Cuba resisted oppression in a myriad of ways. Not only the scholarly favored maroon communities and violent revolts constituted their forms of rejecting slavery. African slaves and their descendants living on western Cuban plantations learned how to use the colonial laws, an issue practically forgotten that only recently has been revived by scholars. They also made use of the "weapons of the weak" that were at their disposal. Thus, many of their songs, dances, religious ceremonies and, especially, many of their offstage conversations, constituted effective ways of expressing their discontent. Beyond their everyday actions, slaves also risked their lives every time they robbed from a white person, every time they burned down a plantation, and every time they assassinated an overseer or a master. Finally there remains the forgotten issue of the slave suicides, a constant source of concern for the colonial authorities and slave owners. Here I examine each of these forms—and others not mentioned in this paragraph—with the intention to show that slaves were not docile bearers of their condition and that most of them, in one way or another, contested and undermined the Spanish slave system to a certain degree through their exceptional and daily actions.


    Name:Eugene C. Berger
    Email address:berger-e@mssu.edu
    Institution:Missouri Southern State University
    Dissertation Title:Permanent War on Peru's Periphery: Frontier Identity and the Politics of Conflict in Seventeenth-Century Chile
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2006
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Jane Landers

    Abstract:
    This dissertation argues that rather than making a concerted effort to stabilize the Spanish-indigenous frontier in the south of the colony, officials in seventeenth-century Chile purposefully perpetuated the conflict to benefit personally from the spoils of war and hoard the resources sent by viceregal authorities to fight it. In some cases Chilean governors even turned indios amigos (indigenous allies) against them to continue the pattern of profiteering that became a primary source of income for the colony and its officials. Using original documents I gathered in research trips to Chile and Spain, I am able to reconstruct the debates that went on both sides of the Atlantic over funds, protection from pirates, and indigenous slavery that so defined Chile's formative seventeenth century. While my conclusions are unique, frontier residents from Paraguay to northern New Spain were also dealing with volatile indigenous alliances, threats from European enemies, and questions about how their tiny settlements could get and keep the attention of the crown. I also hope to shed new light on what the residents of the frontiers themselves were saying about their world, rather than relying on the important but somewhat muddled impressions of historians and statesman who have national legacies in mind.


    Name:Emily Berquist
    Email address:emilyberquist@yahoo.com
    Institution:University of Texas at Austin
    Dissertation Title:Imagining the New World: Bishop Martínez Compañón and the Hispanic Enlightenment in Peru
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Expected, May 2006
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Susan Deans-Smith/Jonathan Brown, Mauricio Tenorio, James Boyden

    Abstract:
    My dissertation focuses on the life and work of this Spanish Bishop of Trujillo, Peru, in the context of the Hispanic Enlightenment and the broader trends of Enlightenment in the Atlantic World. It examines his various liberal reform projects (such as schools for indigenous children and training for mercury miners) in order to see how his work conformed with or diverged from the theories of peninsular reform-minded thinkers. His collections of natural specimens, indigenous artifacts, and his watercolors portraying Trujillo are highlighted as exemplary of his participation in the science of natural history that characterized the Spanish Enlightenment. Martínez Compañón is thus a figure who illustrates both dominant aspects of the Enlightenment in the Hispanic world—liberal reform and natural history.


    Name:Stephen R. Berry
    Email address:srb12@duke.edu
    Institution:Duke University
    Dissertation Title:Seaborne Conversions, 1700-1800
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2005
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Grant Wacker, Peter H. Wood, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, David Steinmetz, and Wesley A. Kort

    Abstract:
    The beliefs of the Old World did not simply transfer to the New, but experienced a translation in the crossing. The close reading of eighteenth-century travel narratives benefits the understanding of American religion by viewing religious beliefs during a moment of liminality—an in-between time and space—in which no particular religious institution predominated. Three groups—sailors, passengers, and clergymen—constitute the objects of the study and provide its evidentiary base through letters, diaries, autobiographies, and ship's logs. This research argues that the process by which North America developed an increased reliance upon individualism and a functional religious pluralism incubated onboard Atlantic sailing vessels. These eighteenth-century voyages combined divergent and competing worldviews in a relatively open, non-institutional atmosphere that reveals the particular mentalities of the participants and their belief systems. Section one describes the environmental circumstances aboard ship that formed the backdrop for seagoing religious belief and culture—the maritime dimensions of time, space, gender, nature, and providence. Section two examines how distinct cultures and religious approaches adapted to ship life, and how the weeks and months spent at sea altered their religions. The ocean crossing placed limitations on varying Protestant traditions. The "Middle Passage" of African slaves offers helpful comparisons with this European experience, showing the common alterations and challenges that both underwent. Unlike passengers, sailors remained in the in-between space of the Atlantic. Seamen have often suffered the label irreligious, but a closer examination of their lives reveals profoundly religious rituals and behaviors. Individualism characterized the religion of sailors whose lives demonstrated the effects of institutional religious deprivation. Sailors also had to navigate multiple religious options. These shipboard meetings help to explain the formation of broader patterns in American culture, especially the emergence of a functional pluralism. The eighteenth-century sea passage did not create pluralism but placed multiple world-views into single communities. In short, the ship crossing germinated the American approach to denominationalism involving mutual acceptance and competition, openness and exclusivity. The ship anticipates the difficulties of twenty-first century life, as well as providing a model for navigating modern trends such as globalization and religious pluralism.


    Name:Daniela Bleichmar
    Email address:bleichma@usc.edu
    Institution:University of Southern California
    Dissertation Title:The Visual Culture of Natural History: Botanical Illustrations and Expeditions in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish Atlantic
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2005
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Anthony Grafton/Kenneth R. Mills, D. Graham Burnett, Richard Kagan

    Abstract:
    This dissertation investigates the connections among visual culture, natural history, and empire in the late eighteenth century, focusing on the Spanish Atlantic in particular. In the second half of the century, Spain sponsored almost thirty scientific expeditions to its colonies, eight of which focused specifically on natural history. The almost 10,000 images produced by European and American naturalists and artists connected with these expeditions, far from being mere ornamental byproducts of natural history investigation, were central to the project. Expeditions constituted visualization projects that enabled naturalists to identify, translate, transport, and appropriate nature. Natural history, I argue, was an overwhelmingly visual discipline whose notion of sight went beyond the physiological act of seeing to involve acts of expert viewing that required training and specialized practices of observation and representation—not sight, but insight. This visual culture of science was very much a material one linking vision to images, drawn or engraved, and to specimens in collections. Furthermore, the act of viewing nature was inextricably linked to a transatlantic—indeed, global—imperial project. More than mere representations, images acted as visual avatars replacing objects that did not survive travel and would otherwise remain unseen and unknown. Images defined nature as a series of transportable objects whose identity and importance were divorced from the environment where they grew or the culture of its inhabitants. Pictures were used to reject the local as contingent, subjective, and translatable, favoring instead the dislocated global as objective, truthful, and permanent. In the Spanish Americas, however, hybrid scientific and artistic traditions emerged, presenting alternatives that contested and reappropriated nature from this European uniforming vision. The dissertation discusses, among other topics, the Atlantic and global world in which these expeditions operated; the competition for natural commodities in Atlantic and Pacific settings; the status and uses of images in eighteenth-century natural history; the importance of visual material in training the expert eyes and skilled hands of naturalists, artists, and collectors; the role of print culture in establishing a common vocabulary of scientific illustration, and the ways in which colonial naturalists and artists appropriated and transformed European models, producing hybrid, local representations.


    Name:Kristen Block
    Email address:kristen.block@gmail.com
    Institution:Rutgers University
    Dissertation Title:Faith and Fortune: Religious Identity and the Politics of Profit in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2007
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Phyllis Mack; Christopher L. Brown; Herman L. Bennett; Jennifer Morgan; Jane Landers

    Abstract:
    "Faith and Fortune" examines the intersection between religious allegiance and economic ambition on the volatile frontiers of the seventeenth-century Caribbean. Encompassing both Spanish and English colonies, it employs four case studies to explore how ordinary individuals created and manipulated the meaning of their religious affiliations. The first chapter examines cases of Christianized slaves in Cartagena de Indias who denounced their masters' harsh mistreatment as un-Christian, using their membership in the community of believers as leverage to demand better conditions. The second chapter is a study of the motley crew of Protestant Northern Europeans who, as sojourners in the Spanish Caribbean, converted to Catholicism as an assimilation strategy. The ideas and practice of English puritanism animate the third chapter's case study of the political economy of Oliver Cromwells Western Design—a puritan crusade against the Spanish Catholic empire in the New World—using an analysis of race, class, and gender to examine its failures. The final chapter takes place in Barbados, birthplace of the English colonial "sugar revolution," where Quaker missionaries intent on Christianizing the local African slave population churned up fears of slave rebellion and challenged local Friends' interpretation of their own faith and convictions. "Faith and Fortune" personalizes the history of Caribbean inequalities from the perspective of slaves, sailors, servants, and sectarians who made their lives and fortunes in the profit-saturated landscape of the Caribbean. It illuminates how for them, articulating a Christian identity was a political act, an important power negotiation, and a way to articulate injustice.


    Name:Ian David Chambers
    Email address:chambers@uidaho.edu
    Institution:University of Idaho
    Dissertation Title:Space: The Final Frontier? Spatial Understandings in the 18th-Century American Southeast
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    University of California, Riverside, Ph.D., 2006
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Rebecca Kugel / James Carson, Michelle Raheja

    Abstract:
    My research is focused on the late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century North American southeast and its place in the Atlantic world. Specifically, I explore the way in which members of the British and Cherokee nations understood space, both physically and intellectually, during the colonial period. To do this I explore what I define as spatial personas, that is, the linkage of a person's identification with a specific location, or locations, as a means of verifying identity and informing the act of contact. Beginning in Britain, I explore physical incidents such as the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire, land enclosure, and landscape design, alongside intellectual developments such as the enactment of new laws, the writings of John Locke and Daniel Defoe, to unpack the components of a British spatial persona. I follow a similar approach for the Cherokee, where I look at structural design and spatial distribution through archaeology and analyze the many legends and myths of the Cherokee to uncover a Cherokee spatial persona. Once both these spatial personas have been uncovered I apply them to a number of specific events to plot the influence of space during colonial contact.


    Name:Matt D. Childs
    Email address:mchilds@mailer.fsu.edu
    Institution:University of Texas at Austin
    Dissertation Title:The Aponte Rebellion of 1812 and the Transformation of Cuban Society: Race, Slavery, and Freedom in the Atlantic World
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., April 2001
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Aline Helg

    Abstract:
    In 1812 a series of revolts known collectively as the Aponte Rebellion erupted across the island of Cuba that sought to destroy slavery and end Spanish rule. Based upon primary sources in over four countries and more than a dozen archives, this study explores the Aponte Rebellion to analyze transformations in Cuba, and more broadly, the slave societies of the Americas during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Aponte Rebellion is situated within the Atlantic world to examine the contradictory forces landing in Cuba from the Age of Revolution that heralded individual liberty at the exact moment when racial slavery expanded across the island. The massive importation of slaves transformed Cuba from a corporate colonial hierarchy of orders into a racialized plantation society. The rise of a racialized plantation economy corroded the special niche and limited privileges that free men and women of African ancestry previously enjoyed. The dissertation explores the rebels' worlds by focusing on organizations that proved instrumental in planning the rebellion: the military and mutual aid societies. Spain fielded a free men of color militia to compensate for the lack of able-bodied white soldiers to protect the island from European rivals and pirate attacks. The issue of racial and ethnic identity is examined through the African based fraternal societies, known as cabìldos de nación, that united both free people of color and slaves who shared a common linguistic, cultural, and geographic heritage rooted in Africa. The revolts that spread across the island from Bayamo and Holguín in the East, to the East-Central city of Puerto Príncipe, to Havana in the West, qualifies the Aponte Rebellion as one of the most extensively planned revolts in the Americas. The ideology of the Aponte Rebellion is examined through an analysis of how the Haitian Revolution served as a unifying force for the rebels. The Aponte Rebellion left a long-lasting impression on Cuban society by anchoring white Creoles firmly to the protection of Spanish colonialism, diluting desires for independence while most of Latin America struggled for liberation.


    Name:Emma Christopher
    Email address:emma_christopher@hotmail.com
    Institution:University College London
    Dissertation Title:The Sons of Neptune and the Sons of Ham: Slave Ship Sailors and their Captive Cargoes
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., September 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Rick Halpern, Mary Turner, and Marcus Rediker

    Abstract:
    This thesis studies sailors who worked onboard British and North American slave ships between 1750 and 1808. Its starting point is the discrepancy between maritime historiography and that of the slave trade: in the former seamen appear as radical, anti-authoritarian figures who were far more accepting of black men and women than other occupational groups in this era. In slave trade literature, by contrast, sailors appear as shadowy figures ready to do the captain's bidding, which generally meant abusing, maltreating and assaulting men and women of African origin. Through detailed analysis of the lives and working conditions of those who were lowly employees in the slave trade, it is possible to see that the much-vaunted radicalism of seamen as a group grew at least in part from their work onboard "guinea ships." Freedom and fair payment for labour were hardly unconnected to slavery and the slave trade, and sailors who were involved in the delivery of slaves to the Americas had ample occasion to compare their own situation with that of slaves. It was this which, to some extent, led to their famous politicised protests for freedom and better pay around the Atlantic rim. In addition the slave trade brought European seamen into contact with people of African origin on a large scale. Sailors on slave ships worked alongside free Africans and Afro-Caribbeans at all points of their journey, and often had men of African origin as colleagues even during the middle passage. While seamen were certainly the perpetrators of many of the middle passage's atrocities, racial constructs and interracial interaction were vastly more complex during a slaving voyage than is often accepted.


    Name:Fiona Clark
    Email address:fio_uk@yahoo.com
    Institution:Queen's University Belfast
    Dissertation Title:La Gazeta de Literatura de México, 1788-1795: Relating Science and Society through Periodical Literature in Late Eighteenth-Century Mexico
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., Spring, 2003
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa

    Abstract:
    The Gazeta de Literatura de México, 1788-­1795, edited by José Antonio Alzate y Ramírez, is an innovative and singular example of a scientific periodical published in New Spain in the late eighteenth century. This study examines the means by which the Gazeta addresses the ideas and concerns of both an individual and wider society in the local and international setting. The first section of the work presents the biographical details of the editor within the social context of the enlightened elite in Mexico City. His links with various European scientific and economic institutions and academies are shown to reflect the importance of the transatlantic nature of his interests, both as part of a "universal community of science" and the "Republic of Letters." The second section studies the historical context of the Gazeta through the progression of the periodical press in Europe and the Spanish Americas. It focuses particularly on the growth in publication of the scientific periodical during this period. The analysis of the Gazeta provides an overall picture of the editorial practices and policies, a statistical breakdown of the contents and an examination of the dialogic nature of its relationship with contemporary periodicals. The third and final section contains a detailed study of the four main areas investigated by Alzate y Ramírez, namely, Natural Sciences, Applied Sciences, History and Nationhood, and Belles Lettres. It is argued that the Gazeta serves as an instrument of enlightenment in New Spain, that this transmission of ideas does not signify passive adoption but a critical analysis and adaptation to serve the local situation. Alzate is shown to use the periodical as a didactic tool through which to impart his pragmatic understanding of science to his contemporaries in the Spanish Americas and in Europe. As such it serves as a defence against European misconceptions, as promotion of Spanish American cultural, intellectual and natural wealth, and as an archive for future generations.


    Name:Karoline Cook
    Email address:kcook@princeton.edu
    Institution:Princeton University
    Dissertation Title:Morisco Emigration to Spanish America, 1492-1650
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2008
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Kenneth R. Mills, Anthony Grafton

    Abstract:
    My dissertation examines clandestine Morisco emigration to the Spanish Americas during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Due to Spanish authorities' preoccupations with spreading religious orthodoxy in the Americas, Moriscos or Iberian Muslims, many of whom had been forcefully baptized at the beginning of the sixteenth century, were prohibited from settling in the Spanish Americas. Because of these prohibitions against their emigration, many historians have overlooked the possibility that Muslims and Moriscos contributed to the transformation of colonial society. My research demonstrates how individuals were able to subvert the restrictions by a variety of means and settle in the forbidden territories. In my dissertation I focus on the social and cultural dimensions of the presence of Moriscos in the Spanish Americas as they negotiated their status, religious practices, and relationships in the new settlements. Through a thorough examination of colonial legislation, inquisitorial records, and court cases I examine how individual actions “on the ground” illuminate broader imperial relationships. I analyze how Morisco presence sheds light on issues of religious identity, honor, and local power struggles, and I contextualize these cases within a broader discussion of the role that images of Muslims played in influencing Spanish ideologies of conquest and colonization.


    Name:James Delbourgo
    Email address:james.delbourgo@staff.mcgill.ca
    Institution:Columbia University
    Dissertation Title:Electricity, Experiment and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century America
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:David Armitage

    Abstract:
    This dissertation pursues recent themes from the historiography of early modern science in early North American history by exploring the ways in which North Americans sought enlightenment through electrical experimentation between roughly 1745 and 1810. Including, but moving beyond the lone figure of Benjamin Franklin, it examines interactions between electricity and the human body in the construction of natural philosophy, the presentation of electrical knowledge through public demonstrations, the development of the lightning rod, political discourse during the era of the American Revolution, and a variety of programs for manipulating electricity as a resource for medical therapy. It describes an American Enlightenment not exclusively textual, but one made through material-cultural practice, and the intersection of bodies, artificial machines and a variety of eighteenth-century discourses: technical (principally natural philosophy, physiology and therapeutics), social (from polite self-improvement to revolutionary republicanism to the humanitarian dissemination of useful knowledge and technologies), and theological (from physico-theology to Providentialism to Protestant millenarianism). The dissertation thus addresses not only the question of how North Americans understood the relationship between electricity and the body, but also why they believed this relationship to be important. In addition, it elucidates the ways in which electrical knowledge and practice functioned across and between the apparently distinct realms of science, medicine and technology, by attending to the reciprocities between heterogeneous fields and practices such as natural philosophy, medical knowledge, therapeutic practice, and the dependence of all of these on a variety of philosophical apparatus (scientific instruments). As such, this study provides the first comprehensive cultural history of early North American electricity in the context of the North Atlantic world.


    Name:John Donoghue
    Email address:jdonoghue1@yahoo.com
    Institution:University of Pittsburgh
    Dissertation Title:Radical Republican Politics in the Puritan Atlantic, 1630-1661
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., March 2004
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Marcus Rediker/Jonathan Scott, Janelle Greenberg, William Fusfield

    Abstract:
    Despite its rich, comprehensive tradition of scholarship, Puritan studies have largely neglected the network of radical republicans that developed in Old and New England between the Great Migration and the Restoration. Research on this topic seems worth pursuing, especially in light of the hundreds of New England saints who re-migrated to Old England during the English Civil War. Many of these migrants had once entertained radical millennial expectations of a world turned upside down in New England. But frustrated by the growing exercise of arbitrary power by the Bay Colony court, they returned to Old England, where the prospects for republican government had brightened with the outbreak of the Civil War. By tracing the careers of five of these Puritans—William Aspinwall, John Clarke, Wentworth Day, Henry Vane, and Thomas Venner—I will argue that New Englanders and their New England experience had, as contemporaries themselves recognized, a critical part in shaping the political leadership, ideology and rhetoric of radical republicanism in Interregnum London


    Name:Christopher Ebert
    Email address:cce4@columbia.edu
    Institution:Columbia University
    Dissertation Title:The Trade in Brazilian Sugar: Brazil, Portugal, and Northwestern Europe, 1550-1630
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2004
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Herbert Klein/Martha Howell, Pablo Piccato, Johannes Postma, Alan Dye

    Abstract:
    The commercial organization of the Brazilian sugar trade in its earliest phases developed during a time of complicated political and military circumstances. The natural markets for Brazilian sugar were northwestern Europe, but for much of the time between 1550 and 1630 Portugal was drawn into the conflict between Habsburg Spain and the “rebellious provinces” of the Low Countries. In spite of intermittent war and trade embargoes, the ever-expanding supply of Brazilian sugar continued to reach markets in northwestern Europe. Amsterdam, for a time, became the largest importer. The Brazilian sugar trade persisted because it was not subject to monopolies and was relatively lightly regulated and taxed. Large profits could be made from the trade and attracted groups of merchants who were mobile and very international in their organization. Although Portugal forbade foreigners in Brazil after 1605, the investment structure of the trade remained free and highly international, as Portugal and northwestern Europe continued to exchange communities of merchants who traded sugar. The first blow to this system came in 1621 with the chartering of the monopoly Dutch West India Company. The invasion of Pernambuco by the WIC in 1630 spelled an end to the first phase of free trade in Brazilian sugar.


    Name:Katherine Carté Engel
    Email address:kecarte@wisc.edu
    Institution:University of Wisconsin
    Dissertation Title:Of Heaven and Earth: Religion and Economic Activity among Bethlehem’s Moravians, 1741-1800
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., Spring 2003
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Charles Cohen

    Abstract:
    This dissertation investigates how religious beliefs influence economic decisions, highlighting the often-overlooked role of religion in the development of eighteenth-century capitalism. It argues that Bethlehem’s Moravians, a transatlantic Pietist missionary community with acute business acumen, created a form of “moral capitalism” neither at odds with economic development nor guided solely by Weber’s “spirit of capitalism.” The group met its fiscal needs through a flexible approach to economic structures that allowed for economic innovation, profit maximization, and religious oversight. Through the Moravians’ story, this work addresses scholarly debates over “declension” and early America’s transition to capitalism and argues for taking religion as an engine of economic development in colonial British North America more seriously than scholars generally have. Bethlehem, founded as a communitarian town in 1741, was deeply embedded in Pennsylvania’s market economy, while maintaining an internal economic structure seemingly at odds with capitalistic pursuits. Simultaneously, the international Moravian church capitalized on its extensive religious network- stretching from Surinam, British North America, and the Caribbean to England, Germany, and the Netherlands-to engage in transatlantic commerce. Tracing Bethlehem’s development through the end of the eighteenth-century, “Of Heaven and Earth” also explores how the Moravians responded to new economic situations. In 1762, economic contraction in the transatlantic Moravian community required that a cash-based system replace Bethlehem’s communalism. The town’s new economy exhibited market-based pricing, greater individual freedom, and the use of profit motives in business. Nonetheless, “moral capitalism” remained the guiding spirit behind the economy, and church leaders monitored prices, internal competition, and general business practice-all with the explicit goal of ensuring that commerce be conducted “after the spirit of Jesus.” By exploring the intersection of religious belief and economic behavior, this dissertation challenges the assumption that capitalism caused Bethlehem’s decline, arguing instead for a reexamination of the subtle ways in which religious actors responded to and shaped the developing capitalist economy of the eighteenth century.


    Name:David Michael Fitzsimons
    Email address:dmfitzsim@aol.com
    Institution:University of Michigan
    Dissertation Title:Toward a New World Order: Thomas Paine and the Ideology of Early American Foreign Relations
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., December 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Bradford Perkins

    Abstract:
    Following a trail blazed by Felix Gilbert, this thesis contends that, contrary to perceptions commonly held by historians and political scientists, the ideology of early American foreign relations included a radical perspective contrary to the norms of traditional diplomacy. An examination of the writings of Thomas Paine and a wide range of secondary sources on Paine, early America, and the ideology of American foreign policy makes clear that Paine in particular believed that the American Revolution had launched a new world order of democracy, peace, and unrestricted international commerce that had spread to France by 1789 and would soon sweep the world. Paine’s vision changed over time from an emphasis on global transformation by example to reformation by the sword. In his early writings, such as Common Sense (1776), he supported an anti-colonial war so that America could trade freely with other nations and create a liberal exemplar for other nations to emulate. In the 1790s, however, in the second part of The Rights of Man (1792) and in other writings, he began to advocate colonialism and wars of conquest to bring about his international vision. In particular, he proposed that the United States, France, and an eventually republicanized England impose on Latin America a regime of democracy, human rights, and free trade. After returning to America in 1802, in the name of spreading liberty abroad he inflamed party hatreds at home, abraded the Constitution on the Louisiana question, and encouraged war against England. Until his death in 1809, he tragically defended in the name of democracy and international peace the dictatorial belligerency of the Directory and Napoleon Bonaparte that had killed millions and violated the liberal values he had once so powerfully championed.


    Name:Jeffrey A. Fortin
    Email address:fortin.jeffrey@comcast.net
    Institution:University of New Hampshire
    Dissertation Title:"Little short of national Murder": Removal, Exile, and the Making of Diasporas in the Atlantic World, 1745-1865
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., May 2006
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Cynthia Van Zandt/W. Jeffrey Bolster, Eliga H. Gould, Funso Afolayan, William O'Reilly

    Abstract:
    Removal—or, the exile and forced migration of marginalized cultural and racial groups from one region of the British Empire and, later, the United States, to another less volatile region—emerged as a key tool in the construction of the 18th and 19th-century Anglo-American Atlantic World. British officials used removal to secure the empire, ridding the realm of Catholic menaces, black insurgents, challenges to the throne and the brutal conflicts between English colonists and Native Americans. American leaders, after the conclusion of the American Revolution, viewed removal as a viable solution to the problem of slavery and the potential troubles induced by freeing the slaves. Thomas Jefferson, among other Virginians, Britons and West Indians, advocated removing all freed blacks to parts unknown. At the same time, black Masons in New England embarked on the first organized attempt to land free African-Americans in Sierra Leone in 1795/6, calling on free Africans in America to return to their native land to Christianize the continent. By 1812, Paul Cuffe advocated black emigration partly for religious reasons, but also in an effort to open new trade opportunities with West Africa. Later, the American Colonization Society—heavily supported by current and former slaveholders, high profile politicians such as Henry Clay, and moral improvement organizations—motivated some freed blacks to go voluntarily back to Africa to settle Liberia. Soon, however, free blacks who formerly supported voluntary emigration began to view the idea as removal, a colonization scheme forced on them by powerful whites. Many blacks refocused their attention on building strong, free communities in America, while others looked to black organized and sponsored emigration to Haiti. As the Civil War erupted and the United States faced the prospect of thousands of free blacks, Abraham Lincoln’s government joined the growing Haitian colonization movement, sponsoring a colony in Haiti that failed within one year. Lincoln also called for the creation of a colony in South America for newly emancipated African Americans, revealing the extent to which removal had become a highly racialized and institutionalized ideology that went far beyond the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Indeed, removal and colonization served as a key ingredient in America’s plans for territorial expansion throughout the nineteenth century. Men like Thomas Jefferson attempted to replace free blacks with immigrant white Europeans, who they believed made for a more harmonious and stable republic.


    Name:Malick Ghachem
    Email address:mghachem@law.harvard.edu
    Institution:Stanford University
    Dissertation Title:Sovereignty and Slavery in the Age of Revolution: Haitian Variations on a Metropolitan Theme
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Keith Baker, Jack Rakove, and Peter Sahlins

    Abstract:
    This thesis provides an account of the politics of slavery in the eighteenth-century French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). It analyzes the central tensions in the colony’s administrative history as case studies of an overarching theme: the nature of slavery as an institution torn between “private” and “public” law. At the same time, the dissertation uses those tensions to form one interpretation of the colonial origins of the Haitian Revolution. The governance of slavery in Saint-Domingue was characterized by a complex and sometimes competitive relationship between two forms of “absolutism”: the “domestic” sovereignty of planters and the public sovereignty of the royal administration. Part One of the dissertation explores this competition with reference to the regulation of manumission and the question of planter brutality. In these contexts the interests of “public order” and the principle of private dominion clashed, leading the authorities to impose restrictions that the planters typically rejected as a violation of their domestic prerogatives. Part Two of the dissertation focuses on the tension between membership and autonomy that dominated colonial pamphlet literature after the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. The nature of French sovereignty over Saint-Domingue in this period was hotly debated in connection with the monarchy’s efforts to reform the mercantile trading regime. The question of whether the colonists could assert the privileges of metropolitan membership while claiming the benefits of commercial autonomy was also raised by the movement to enact a code of laws compatible with the interests of “local custom.” In both cases, slavery aggravated the general uncertainty over what it meant for an overseas territory to belong to the French state. The final part of the thesis begins with an account of the most publicized case of planter brutality in the colony’s history, which brought the conflict between domestic authority and public order to the fore only months before the convening of the Estates General. The planters’ subsequent decision to seek representation in the metropole renewed that Old Regime competition once again and proved to be one of the critical turning points in the path to the colonial revolution.


    Name:Travis Glasson
    Email address:tg96@columbia.edu
    Institution:Columbia University
    Dissertation Title:The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Creation of Race in the British Atlantic
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):

    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:David Armitage

    Abstract:
    In the period before the American Revolution, the Anglican missionary association the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) was active in sending out ministers, catechists, and schoolmasters to the mainland colonies and to the Caribbean. SPG missionaries proselytized among European settlers, Native Americans, and African and African-American slaves. Besides founding churches and schools, the SPG owned and operated a major Barbadian sugar plantation, Codrington. This dissertation uses the records of the SPG as a window on to the development of eighteenth century ideas about human difference and race by examining the actions and writings of SPG members and missionaries and the reactions and responses of the peoples of the British Atlantic to their efforts.

    Name:Pablo F. Gomez
    Email address: pablo.f.gomez@Vanderbilt.Edu
    Institution: Vanderbilt University
    Dissertation Title: Bodies of Encounter: African Healing, Diseasing and
    Dying Practices and Ideas in the Early Modern Iberian Caribbean

    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Expected 2010
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Prof. Jane Landers


    Abstract:

    This project explores African originated ideas and practices about bodies,
    health, disease and death in the early modern Iberian Caribbean from the
    late sixteenth to the mid eighteenth centuries. My work defines and
    contextualizes local and transatlantic connections and ruptures between
    African cultures in the Spanish Caribbean and West and West-Central
    Africa. It also contributes to a redrawing of the place occupied by
    Caribbean locales in the Iberian Atlantic during the early modern period
    and a recognition of the distinctively fluid and cosmopolitan societies
    and cultures that developed in them. Drawing on material culture and
    documentary evidence from early modern Africa, Europe, and Spanish
    America, my project contributes to diverse understudied fields. It breaks
    ground by bringing to the front African systems of belief and practices as
    seminal in the emergence of early modern ideas abound body and health and
    by challenging prevailing assumptions about the place and occupied by
    Africans in processes of cultural interchange in the Caribbean basin.
    Additionally, in examining the influence of African religion and culture
    on New World health practices my work enters a larger historiographical
    discussion about African cultural continuities in the Atlantic World. This
    dissertation also talks to historians of medicine in the
    re-conceptualization of what it meant to be sick and healthy in the early
    modern world in Europe, Africa and in the Americas, and the type of
    practices in which healers engaged. Finally, it speaks to scholars working
    on African history and archeology and offers novel approaches for the
    recreation of cultural and social structures in the West and West-central
    parts of this continent.


    Name:John Grigg
    Email address:kuaussie@yahoo.com
    Institution:University of Kansas
    Dissertation Title:The Lives of David Brainerd
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., December 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Peter C. Mancall, Paul Kelton, N. Ray Hiner, Donald Fixico, and Timothy Miller

    Abstract:
    This dissertation examines the work of the Presbyterian missionary David Brainerd. Brainerd was commissioned as a missionary to Native Americans by the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge. After spending a year with John Sergeant in Massachusetts, he worked for almost three years among the Delaware Indians in eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. News of the success of his work reached a broad audience following the 1746 publication of his journals, under the title Mirabilia Dei Inter Indicos, or the Rise and Progress of a Remarkable Work of Grace. Brainerd, never a well man, died in October, 1747, aged 29, at the home of Jonathan Edwards. In 1749 Edwards published The Life of David Brainerd, which utilized parts of Brainerd’s public and private journals. Edwards judiciously edited Brainerd’s writings in order to advance his own theological agenda. In 1768, John Wesley published An Extract of the Life of the Reverend David Brainerd. Wesley combined parts of both Mirabilia and Edwards’s Life in his work. He too, made editorial changes to support a theological perspective that differed in certain key points from that of Edwards. This dissertation examines the life and ministry of David Brainerd and seeks to place them in the broader context of the social and religious milieu within which he lived and worked. Consideration is given to the history and beliefs of the Delaware Indians, the various theological and social streams active in New England, and the influence of some British religious traditions. It is demonstrated that Brainerd’s life and work was influenced both by his New England heritage and by the Delaware Indians among whom he worked. In addition, it is apparent that the success of Brainerd’s work was due, in part, to unforeseen common ground between his beliefs and those of the Delawares. This dissertation also examines why both Edwards and Wesley, men with different theological beliefs in a number of areas, saw in Brainerd a model of the normal Christian life. Thus, I consider the theological disputes that both men were involved in as well as personal struggles that took place at the time they published their versions of Brainerd’s life. This examination provides explanations of why both men found Brainerd’s life so attractive, as well as demonstrating why they needed to edit Brainerd’s words to suit their own agenda.


    Name:Ellen Hampton
    Email address:ElleHampton@aol.com
    Institution:Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
    Dissertation Title:A Comparison of Early Land Acquisition in the Americas by the Five European Colonizers
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2007
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:François Weil

    Abstract:
    Comparing early land acquisition by the five European colonizers in the Americas—the English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese—takes the beginning of colonization out of a nationalist perspective and gives it a broader and more complex context. Among aspects of land acquisition examined are the terms of the original charters, the methods and means by which settlers got land, the design and development of the first settlements, the effect of landholding on immigrants, and how relations with native inhabitants affected European acquisition of land. Colonial comparisons have tended toward the bipolar: English vs. Spanish, Protestant vs. Catholic, North vs. South. Adding the French, Dutch, and Portuguese loosens the bounds of the debate and offers a more accurate background for colonial actions. The time frame runs from the late fifteenth century for the Spanish to the first quarter of the seventeenth century for the Dutch, but the process undergone by each colonizer was very much the same. Each of the settlements experienced a constant negotiation between the desires of the metropole and the possibilities of the colony. The gap began with the original charters, in which Spain treated the native inhabitants in more humanitarian terms than any of the others, France claimed three-quarters of North America, and Portugal laid on the heaviest taxes. Their paper wishes would not bring them the success they sought. Then, in choices of location, design, and construction of six American settlements, comparison reveals a pairing up of similitude between Massachusetts/Hispaniola, Virginia/Brazil, and New France/New Netherland. And comparing the social impact of landholding, one finds that in each of the six settlements, the earliest immigrants to arrive formed an elite based on land acquisition and political power, tools they employed to further increase their wealth. Using land acquisition as a lens for comparison, colonial promise and practice come into sharper focus.


    Name:Mark Hanna
    Email address:m1hanna@ucsd.edu
    Institution:Harvard University
    Dissertation Title:The Pirate Nest: The Impact of Piracy on Newport, Rhode Island and Charles Town, South Carolina, 1670-1730
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2006
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:

    Laurel Ulrich, Joyce Chaplin, Jill Lepore


    Abstract:

    This dissertation analyzes the rise and subsequent fall of global piracy from the perspective of English colonial maritime communities. Piracy flourished in the late seventeenth century in New Spain, the South Sea, and the East Indies because of the active support it received from members of the merchant elite in North American ports, particularly Newport and Charles Town. Far from a hindrance to trade, these fledgling maritime communities thrived from the active and open support of piracy and unregulated privateering. In times of economic distress, these men represented a real as well as symbolic challenge to the legal commercial policies formulated by distant and ineffectual administrative bodies across the Atlantic that hindered financial prosperity and defense of the colonies. These two communities earned an international reputation as “pirate nests,” a pejorative term commonly used by royalists and customs officials. Many of the most notorious pirates began their careers in these ports while others settled down in these communities where they became respected members of the local gentry. The first part of this dissertation explores the religious, economic, legal, and political factors that gave rise to the pirate nest historically rooted in the traditions of Elizabethan England’s West Country. Like previous pirate nests, Newport and Charles Town shared a similar currency drain, rarely brought pirates to trial, and were led by powerful local factions who benefited from economic riches and naval protection provided by pirates. The second part of the dissertation analyzes the remarkable and rapid transformation of Newport and Charles Town into pirate hunting communities. After a dramatic transformation of the English empire on either side of the Atlantic, Charles Town and Newport held the two largest mass executions, excluding slave revolts, in early American history. The final part of the dissertation focuses specifically on the relationship of print culture to the rise and fall of piracy. Popular pirate narratives at the end of the seventeenth century were generally produced by the pirates themselves and fostered an image of piracy that was inherently nationalist, socially traditional, and militaristically Protestant. In the early eighteenth century, Daniel Defoe and Cotton Mather explicitly challenged this image on either side of the Atlantic. The dissertation concludes by analyzing the direct correlation between the rise of colonial newspapers with the fall of piracy.



    Name:Margaret Hanzimanolis
    Email address:margaret.hanzimanolis@jsc.vsc.edu
    Institution:Johnson State College
    Dissertation Title:Ultramarooned: Gender, Empire, and Narratives of Travel in Southern Africa
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., University of Cape Town, 2005
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Dorothy Driver / Margaret Lenta, Daniel Herwitz, Carmel Schrirer, Jenny De Reuck

    Abstract:
    This is a discursive study in which I examine two subgenres of travel writing crucial to understanding the anxieties of gender that are entangled in discovery, contact, and colonial discourses in southern Africa: Portuguese shipwreck survivor narratives (1552-1647) and British women's travel writing about the Cape Colony and Natal during the nineteenth century. Despite their status as the "first" sustained records of contact between southern Africans and Europeans, the shipwreck survivor narratives have been poorly integrated into literary history or historiography in South Africa. I argue that one of the reasons this rich archive may have been "whited out" is that many of the encounters described in these early contact records were inconsistent with the myths of superiority upon which British and Dutch imperial ambitions depended. These early records often dwell on the barbaric behavior of the European survivors, the indigenous Africans as pastorally prosperous, generous, dignified and handsome, and the dire pitifulness of European women—nuns, noblewomen, orphans—abandoned along the march to Lourenço Marquez. Likewise, the image of "European women in Africa" was manipulated just as assiduously by British women writing a later era, although this genre was pitched in an opposite direction: to assuage readers' fears about the safety of women in southern Africa. Works such as Catherine Barter's pluckish trading and missionary account, Alone among the Zulus (1865), seem calculated to assure prospective settlers or travelers to the Cape Colony or Natal that women could expect to be shielded by a "sphere of inviolability" should they travel to, or settle in, southern Africa. This is further complicated by the existence of a significant discursive theme—the so-called "black peril" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—which returned to a sense of the European woman as hyper-vulnerable. In each of these three periods, the representation of women (as imperiled or as secure) was coincident with economic and political objectives of the imperial machines of Europe. In the process of tracing these currents in South African foundational myths, this study examines selected instances of commemorative and monumental arts, South African literature which engages with tropes of early contact (Antjie Krog and Andre Brink), and Luís de Camões' Os Lusiadas (1573), among others. The memorializations, memoirs, aesthetic recreations and redeployments of the period of first contact suggest that European women's presence in southern Africa occasioned significant anxieties that were only partially discharged, and sometimes inflamed, via manipulations of the expectations for safety or menace.


    Name:Jurretta Jordan Heckscher
    Email address:jhec@loc.gov
    Institution:George Washington University
    Dissertation Title:"All the Mazes of the Dance": Black Dancing, Culture, and Identity in the Greater Cheasapeake World from the Early Eighteenth Century to the Civil War
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., American Studies, 2000
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:John Michael Vlach / James Oliver Horton, Teresa Murphy

    Abstract:
    Why was dancing so important to African Americans enslaved in the American South? Previous studies have documented black dancing throughout the South or concentrated on the significance of genres such as John Kunering. This study in historical ethnography is the first to illuminate the development of a specific African-American dance culture within a specific Southern region. It seeks to disclose some of the reasons for dance's pivotal significance in African- American culture and to establish the importance of the study of dance for the understanding of American cultural history. The region examined is the "Greater Chesapeake" (Maryland, Virginia, and the Virginia-oriented portion of North Carolina). Having determined what can be known of dance culture in the region's African slave source areas, the work documents the emergent black dance culture of the eighteenth century, reconstructing the outlines of choreographic form through comparison with other historically relevant African-based choreographic traditions. The fuller documentation available for the nineteenth century permits a richer account of dance in the decades leading up to the Civil War that confirms its pervasive cultural importance. Drawing on the theoretical insights available from the ethnographic study of dance and movement, the work then considers the reasons for dance's significance in the lives of enslaved African Americans in the Greater Chesapeake. It concludes that African Americans deliberately chose to use dance as a primary instrument of cultural and personal identity, one that enabled them to coalesce and persist in community, to preserve and reanimate essential features of ancestral African heritage, to incorporate selective elements of white dance tradition as an emblem of their own American identity, and to establish an African-American model of the person that directly counterposed the bodily foundations of slavery in the bodies of the enslaved. Because of its importance as a source area for the U.S. domestic slave trade, the Greater Chesapeake was the seedbed of African-American culture in North America. The black dance traditions developed there have gone on to exercise a definitive influence on the development of dance and movement throughout the United States and, ultimately, the world.


    Name:Brooke Hunter
    Email address:bhunter@rider.edu
    Institution:University of Delaware
    Dissertation Title:Rage for the Grain: Flour Milling in the Mid-Atlantic, 1750-1815
    Degree and Year
    (or Year Expected):
    Ph.D., 2002
    Dissertation Advisor/Committee:Cathy Matson

    Abstract:
    In 1795 New Castle County, Delaware was considered the "greatest seat of manufactures" in the United States. That flour manufacturing was the reason why is probably surprising. My dissertation shows how the flour mills, not only in New Castle County, but across the entire lower mid-Atlantic region between Philadelphia and Baltimore, became the most advanced in the Atlantic world between 1750 and 1815. It is a study of an era: a time marked by war, revolution, and nation-building, periods of abundance and periods of depression, crop failure, insecurity, and risk. Despite these challenges and sometimes because of them, I show how farmers, millers, and merchants in the lower Delaware River Valley refined the grain trade and transformed flour milling. This study creates a fuller picture of economic and business life in early America and has broad ramifications for our understanding of the Atlantic economy, regional distinctiveness, relationships between local and regional economies, labor and entrepreneurship, environmental history, industrialization, the impact of war, and the rise of capitalism. Each chapter focuses on the relations between farmers, millers, and merchants, and links the entire production, distribution, and marketing processes from the fields through the mills to transatlantic markets. By broadening the scope of early American economic and social history, my dissertation bridges the gap between studies of the dynamic colonial economy and those that herald a market revolution in the nineteenth century. It also challenges the prevailing view of early American industrialization based on the New England experience. By bringing attention to the great variety of individuals participating in the grain trade and flour milling, I blur the categories of "farmer" and "merchant." In doing so, I present agriculture, industry, and commerce not as separate enterprises but as a single, united system during a critical period in early American history.


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