I’m Headed to SHEAR This Year!

SHEAR logo

That is the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.  It will be good to go back.  I haven’t been to SHEAR in close to a decade!  Here is my panel.  Thanks to Caitlin Fitz for the invite.

Roundtable: Early America on the Opinion Page – Writing Historically-Minded Pieces for Contemporary Media 

Chair:
Jill Lepore,  Harvard University/The New Yorker

Comments:
(Audience)

Panelists:

Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Rutgers University

John Fea, Messiah College

Gautham Rao, American University 

See you in Boston in July!

An Interview with the Editors of the *Journal of the Early Republic*

JEROver at The Panorama, Will Mackintosh interviews Andy Shankman and David Waldstreicher, the new editors of the Journal of the Early Republic.

Here is a taste:

Will: What are some of your plans for your editorial tenure at the Journal of the Early Republic?

Andy: Above all stewardship (which is an idea I’ve stolen from David) because I think the journal is in such great shape and has had such an impressive run of editors. So above all, I hope to do no harm. I’d like to involve the SHEAR community in helping us to think about special issues on topics that a large portion of our readers would like to see. For me, the core mission of the journal is to publish excellent original research drawn primarily from primary sources. But I also feel that we’ve never produced more high-quality scholarship at a greater (even overwhelming) rate than we are right now. I want to think about ways the JER might help us to attempt some broad, synthetic thinking, and perhaps get scholars of different generations and scholarly focuses talking to each other. So many people are asking so many critical questions now about the nation’s origins—about race and slavery, gender relations, the role and nature of the state at all levels, about how all of that relates to capitalism and political economy, about the need to bring together historiographies about institutions, cultural and social relations and constructions, political though,t etc., scholarships that haven’t always engaged with each other as much as they might—it’s a tremendously exciting time to be a student of the early American republic, and I want to think about ways in which the JER can continue to capture and convey that excitement.

David: Doug Bradburn buttonholed me with this same question at SHEAR in Baltimore when I took over in 2012 and I answered in one word: stewardship. (I’m still wondering if he was disappointed.) The job of the editor is to get the best possible work in all subfields into the journal. Articles should be timely in the sense of speaking to matters of current interest to historians, but it is even more important that articles should be built to last a long time, to be resources for historians in all fields and for others who will be interested in we know not what in 10 or 20 or 50 years (witness the renewed fascination with aspects of economic and diplomatic history, utterly unpredicted when I was in grad school). Sooner or later, anything may become timely again. Journal editing is about creating and spreading brand new discoveries and interpretations but also about archiving original research it so it is there to be more easily found later when it is needed. But perhaps most of all, regardless of whether one focuses on the short or long term of scholarship in our field, the number one job of the editors is to draw on whatever expertise we can muster, including especially the readers who graciously review manuscripts for us, to make every piece that passes through our hands (or now, screens) better whether we publish it or not.

Read the entire interview here.

Andrew Shankman and David Walstreicher Take the Helm at the *Journal of the Early Republic*

JERMark Cheathem reports at “The Republic Blog”:

We are pleased to introduce the new co-editors of the Journal of the Early Republic, following the excellent leadership of retiring editor, Cathy KellyAndrew Shankman of Rutgers University-Camden and David Waldstreicher of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York will assume the editorship of the journal at the conclusion of SHEAR’s annual meeting in July 2018.

Andrew Shankman is a historian of the American Revolution and founding era, and author of Original Intents: Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the American Founding (2017) and Crucible of American Democracy: The Struggle to Fuse Egalitarianism and Capitalism in Jeffersonian Pennsylvania (2004). He edited Anglicizing America: Empire, Revolution, Republic (2015) and The World of the Revolutionary American Republic: Land, Labor and the Conflict for a Continent (2014).

David Waldstreicher is a historian of early and nineteenth-century America, and author of Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009); Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution (2004); and In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (1997). As editor, his books include A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams (2013), A Companion to Benjamin Franklin (2011), and The Struggle Against Slavery: A History in Documents (2001). He also served as co-editor of the Journal of the Early Republic from 2013 to 2014.

Read the rest here.

 

Jane Kamensky Talks John Singleton Copley

KamenskyCheck out Mark Cheathem‘s interview with Harvard historian Jane Kamensky.  She talks about her award-winning book A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley.

Here is a taste:

For those who haven’t read your book, would you please provide a synopsis?

Jane Kamensky (JK): A Revolution in Color tells an off-kilter story of British America in the age of the American Revolution through the biography of the New England-born painter John Singleton Copley. Born on the eve of King George’s War, Copley came of age in a thoroughly British Boston, with streets named Queen and King, and book stores and coffee houses touting the latest news from London. He identified thoroughly with an imperial imaginary, dreaming of a world in color an ocean away. When Boston grew heated over taxes in the 1760s, he identified as a Son of British Liberty, and hoped for a return of the status quo ante. He painted men and women on all sides of the conflict–Paul Revere and Thomas Gage, Samuel Adams and Francis Bernard–who doubtless gave him an earful while they sat for their portraits. But when shouting turned to shooting, he, like Melville’s Bartleby, simply preferred not to. Copley’s life and work make visible, literally visible, the viewpoints of that large group of early Americans whose preferred side in Britain’s American War was neither. As Yeats would say of another revolutionary conflict more than a century later, he thought “the worst [were] full of passionate intensity.” He himself lacked political conviction, focusing his own intensity on art and family strategy rather than matters of nation or party. His rise and fall show both the terrors of revolutionary fervor, and the costs of passivity in an age where people insisted on forging their own destinies. Like the Revolution itself, it’s a very ambivalent story.

I would venture to say that many Americans have never heard of John Singleton Copley. What led you to choose him as the subject for this book?

JK: If they haven’t heard of Copley, they’ve seen his work. His Paul Revere is surely the second most famous face of revolutionary America, and we see a version of it every time we hoist a bottle of Sam Adams lager. And of course, Bostonians know Copley as written into the very landscape of the city: Copley Square, the Fairmont Copley Hotel, Copley T station. But the irony is, Copley’s life doesn’t support his use in contemporary culture, which follows a kind of New England nationalism. That gap was interesting to me. Plus, the evidence is very rich: in addition to his dazzling painted work, Copley and his kin left hundreds of letters, which is true for very few artists. Those letters allowed a muddled, middling character to emerge from the swirl of events in the age of revolution. Like a Copley portrait, he’s a well mottled character. We have too few of those in the literature of revolutionary heroes and villains.

Read the rest at The Republic Blog

 

How NOT To Write Your Second Book

how-not-to-write-your-second-book-logoThe Junto blog is running a series of posts on this topic featuring some excellent historians. The posts stem from a roundtable presented at the 2017 meeting of the Society for the History of the Early Republic.  It was organized by Emily Controy-Krutz and Jessica Lepler.

Here is a taste of the Conroy-Krutz and Lepler’s introduction to the series:

How do you start a new book that’s on a wildly different topic from your last book? Or written in a different style? And how do you write a book while teaching new preps and serving on committees? What if you’re also raising kids and caring for aging family members? If a book could be articles, shouldit be articles? In a packed conference room on a hot Saturday in July, five incredibly generous, funny, and thoughtful scholars shared their tips and tricks for “How Not to Write Your Second Book,” and the laughter and nods around the room suggested that the comments, questions, and conversation spoke to concerns that are widely shared among mid-career scholars and that had sparked the creation of the SHEAR Second-Book Writers’ Workshop (2BWW).

Read the entire roundtable here.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Will Give Plenary Address at SHEAR’s 2016 Annual Meeting

Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius behind the smash Broadway musical “Hamilton,” will give the plenary address at the 2016 meeting of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic in New Haven.

Here is the announcement from the SHEAR website:

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s SHEAR plenary will feature an interview with Hamilton playwright and star Lin-Manuel Miranda. His schedule unfortunately will not permit him to join us in New Haven, but he has graciously agreed to a filmed interview, which will be shown during the conference plenary, and followed by a panel discussion. This unusual format affords us an opportunity: We invite you to send us questions for the interview. Of course, it is likely that there will be time to pose only a small selection of questions, but we’d like the interview to reflect the interests and thoughts of SHEAR members.

Please send your questions to HamforSHEAR@gmail.com by March 25th.

See you in New Haven this July!

Joanne B. Freeman and Brian Murphy

SHEAR Has a Blog!

SHEAR logo

The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic has started a blog.  Mark Cheathem, a veteran of the history blogosphere who has been quite busy lately, is involved with the project.  He explains:

We are excited to launch SHEAR’s new blog, The Republic! This blog will serve as the place to go for news about the organization and scholarship on the period.

Planning for this blog began in 2011, when the late Drew Cayton, then serving as SHEAR president, asked Caleb McDaniel and me to put together a working group to look into expanding the organization’s social media footprint. Rachel Herrmann and Beth Salerno joined us in crafting a proposal that addressed not only social media but also other ways in which the organization could incorporate twenty-first-century technology.

A number of SHEAR presidents—Harry Watson, Drew Cayton, Pat Cohen, John Larson, Ann Fabian, and Jan Lewis—and the members of the advisory council have been supportive in recognizing the need for SHEAR to make this move. Last year, Ann Fabian, with the approval of the advisory council, appointed me as SHEAR’s first social media coordinator. I asked Caleb and Liz Covart, whom many of you know from Ben Franklin’s World, to brainstorm our path forward. After the conference, we invited Vanessa Holden and Lyra Monteiro to join the committee. Late last year, the committee members and JER editor Cathy Kelly held a virtual meeting and discussed a number of possible approaches to take.

The committee members came away with several conclusions. First, we wanted SHEAR to have a viable and vibrant connection to the world of social media. We established Facebook and Twitter accounts several years ago, and they have proven successful in attracting the attention of both SHEAR members and non-members. In addition to taking a more active approach to social media during the year, we hope to have a more visible presence at the annual meeting. Second, we believed that our charge included more than just social media, so we altered the vision to include new media, which is a more encompassing description of what we intend. Lastly, we wanted to expand SHEAR’s reach in the digital world by establishing a blog. Most major historical organizations have taken this step, and it seemed appropriate for SHEAR to do so as well.

What can you expect from The Republic? On a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on the time of year, we expect to publish posts as diverse as author interviews, JER-related pieces, and pedagogical essays. We also hope that you will send us your relevant CFPs or perhaps even research queries that you have for other SHEARites. If you have an interest in contributing to the blog in some way, don’t be shy! Reach out to us at shearrepublic@gmail.com

"The Wealth of Nations," the "Sermon on the Mount," and Poverty in the Early Republic

Gabriel Loiacono, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, checks in with another report from last weekend’s thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic in Philadelphia. Thanks for Gabriel’s great work as correspondent at SHEAR for The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  Click here to read his previous report.
An Erudite Opera in Four Parts
SHEAR President John Larson’s presidential address, last Saturday evening, was big-thinking and light-hearted all at the same time.  Entitled “An Inquiry into Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” Larson also called his talk a comic opera in four acts.  In between the occasional comic leavening, Larson’s goal was to tackle Adam Smith’s famous work, and to pose the question: did Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” upend Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount when it comes to our attitude towards poverty?  While I can’t do justice to Larson’s whole talk, and I assume it will appear in the Journal of the Early Republic as past presidential addresses have, I can give you a taste of what it hit upon.  It traced the varying meanings of the word “Fortune,” from uncontrollable circumstances to a pile of cash.  It traced the uses to which Smith’s work was put, from his own assumptions of Christian charity and a common good to readings which stripped those assumptions away.  The villain of Act IV of Larson’s talk was undoubtedly Francis Wayland, the Baptist pastor and president of Brown University, in whose works Larson finds a sanctification of the most ruthless readings of Smith’s “Wealth of Nations.” 
As a scholar of poverty, and as a teacher of the survey, I appreciated Larson’s big sweep and inclusion of poverty in the story.  I highly recommend it to all readers of the JER.  And, of course, it whet a large number of SHEAR-ites to come back for more great scholarship on Sunday morning.  Always a tough time, I was pleased to see lots of listeners in that time slot.
Signing off,
Gabriel