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Washington Early American Seminar

The Washington Early American Seminar 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 Baltimore-Washingto area institutions. It is currently convened by Rick Bell, Christopher Bonner, Holly Brewer and Clare Lyons from the Department of History.

The Seminar meets regularly 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, See Organizers contact information below. We usually issue a call for papers in April.


Richard Bell

Professor, History

2136 Francis Scott Key Hall
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-7051

Christopher Bonner

Associate Professor, History

2122 Taliaferro Hall
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-8739

Holly Brewer

Burke Chair of American Cultural and Intellectual History and Associate Professor, History

2101A Francis Scott Key Hall
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-9442

Clare Lyons

2129 Taliaferro Hall
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-1156

Schedule of Events 2021-2022

Fall 2021

September 17, on Zoom. Randy Browne (Xavier University). 'Driving: Slave Drivers and the Management of Enslaved Laborers on British Caribbean Plantations.’ Respondent: Dusty Dye (Maryland).  

October 15, in person. Tracy Barnett (University of Georgia). 'A Powder Keg: Buying and Selling Guns in the Antebellum South.’ Respondent: Derek Litvak (Maryland).    

November 5, in person. Justin Clark (Nanyang Technical University, Singapore). 'The Chronopolitics of Gradual Emancipation in Early Republican Pennsylvania.’ Respondent: JP Fetherston (Maryland).    

December 10, in person. Lois Leveen (Library of Virginia). ‘"And that may be the reason for her irritability & ill conduct": Excavating the Liberian Adolescence of a Black Civil War Spy.’ Respondent: Sophie Hess (Maryland).

Spring 2022   

January: WEAS Virtual Mini-Conference. Dates and Details TBA

February 4, in person. Elizabeth Clay (University of Pennsylvania). ‘"Proceed Directly to Cayenne”: The Role of Amazonian Spice Production in Shaping Nineteenth-Century Slavery and Franco-American Commerce.’ Respondent: Katie Labor (Maryland).  

March 4, Zoom. Joint event  with the George Washington University's Department of History. Jerome Dotson (University of Arizona). ‘"Less than a peck of corn-meal per week”: Provisioning, Food Insecurity, and Plantation Reform in the Antebellum South.’ Respondent: Michael Guy (George Washington).    

April 1, in person. Joint event with Maryland’s Anna Julia Cooper Workshop. Marjoleine Kars (UMBC). 'Multiple Crossings: The Lives of Two African Men in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Atlantic.’ Respondent: Jordan Sly (Maryland).    

April 29, in person. Matthew Mason (Brigham Young University). 'Slavery and the Politics of Humanity in the Era of the American Revolution.’ Respondent: Hannah Nolan (Maryland).  

Other DC-area Early American History Seminars