Washington Early American Seminar Series

The Washington Early American Seminar Series brings senior scholars, junior faculty, and advanced graduate students to College Park to discuss their work in progress. The seminar is composed of graduate students and faculty from the University of Maryland and a host of other area institutions and is convened by Professors Rick Bell, Christopher BonnerHolly BrewerClare Lyons.

The seminar meets at regular intervals throughout the academic year on Fridays at 4pm in Taliaferro Hall 2110.  Papers (typically 30-40 pages) are pre-circulated among seminar participants seven days in advance of each meeting. The ninety-minute workshop is followed by dinner with the presenter at a local restaurant.

To join the seminar email list or to apply to present a work in progress in future cycles, please contact Prof. Rick Bell (rjbell@umd.edu) or Prof. Holly Brewer (hbrewer@umd.edu). We usually issue a call for papers in April.

See the WEAS blog for more information!


Schedule of Events

Washington Early American Seminar Series

Spring 2020

February 5: 4pm via Zoom. Grant Stanton (University of Pennsylvania) will discuss his paper, "Revolutionary Insults: A Moral History of Boston and the Stamp Act Crisis."  Respondent: Sophie Hess (UMD).


March 5: 4pm via Zoom. Roger Bailey (University of Maryland) will discuss his paper, entitled, "'Nefarious and Inhuman Traffic': US Naval Officers and the Transatlantic Slave Trade." Respondent: Christopher Bonner (UMD).


April 9: 4pm via Zoom. Carla Cervasco (Rutgers University) will discuss her paper, "The Tobacco Pipe-Makers Arms: Gender, Race, Clay, and Tobacco in the 17th-Century Chesapeake." Respondent: Joshua Irvin (George Washington University).

Fall 2020

September 18: 4 p.m. via Zoom. Sarah Barringer Gordon (U-Penn History Department and Law School) and Kevin Waite (Durham University, UK). They will discuss their paper, entitled,  "Westward on the Tortured Path: The Law of Freedom and Slavery in California and Utah" .In it they explore the tortured path of the expansion of slavery in the far western U.S. in the 1850s. A brief comment will be provided by Joanna Katie Labor (UMD).


October 23: 4 p.m. via Zoom and in partnership with the Fred W. Smith Library at George Washington's Mount Vernon. Travis Glasson (Temple University): “'A ‘Neutral and Equivocal Character’: Peter Van Schaack and the Price of Conscience in the American Revolution." Respondent: Derek Litvak (Maryland)


Oct 30-Oct 31: WEAS Mini-Conference. Details TBA


November 13: 4 p.m. via Zoom. Marcus P. Nevius (University of Rhode Island): “'An Intire Tax': Dismal Plantation and the Question of Petit Marronage, 1760s to the 1790s." Respondent: Taylor Kocher (Maryland)


Other DC-area seminars of interest to scholars of Early American history include:

The Anna Julia Cooper Workshop in Black History hosted by the University of Maryland

The Slavery, Memory and African Diasporas Seminar hosted by Howard University

SlaveryArchive Book Club hosted by Howard University

The Early Modern Global History Seminar hosted by Georgetown University

The U.S. History Workshop hosted by Georgetown University