Approaching Evidence in Early America:
The Perils and Promises of Interdisciplinarity
A Graduate Student Conference hosted by
The McNeil Center for Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania, October 6–8, 2005


Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Unless otherwise noted, all sessions take place at 3619 Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus

Thursday, October 6

12:00-1:30: Reception

2:00-4:00 Mütter Museum Tour

Tour space is limited.  RSVP by filling out registration form.

5-7:30: The Ephemeral Archive

Chair: Monique Allewaert, Duke University (English)

 Melissa Andrews, Florida State University (American Dance Studies)
“Step in Time: Revisioning Social Dance and Military Drill in the Revolutionary War”

Wendy Warren, Yale University (History)
“The Cause of Her Grief: Writing the Lives of African Slaves in 17th Century New England”

Nancy Zey, University of Texas at Austin (History)
“Of Age: Using Microhistory to Explore concepts of Childhood and the Experiences of Children in the Early American Republic

Friday, October 7

8:30-9:00: Coffee and Bagels

9:00-9:15: Opening Remarks:

Daniel Richter, University of Pennsylvania (History) and Director, McNeil Center for Early American Studies

9:15-10:45: Border Interrogations

Chair:  Cyrus Mulready, University of Pennsylvania (English)

Caroline Frank, Brown University (American Civilization)
“There is No China in Colonial America: Porcelain Pot Shards, Ideology, and the History of America’s East-West Relations”

Anthony Galluzzo, University of California at Los Angeles (English)
“Revolutionary Republic of Letters: Anglo-American Radical Literature in the 1790s”

Joseph P. Rezek, University of California at Los Angeles (English)
“The Waverly Novels and the Interdisciplinarity of America in the 1820s”

11:00-12:30: Placing Social Groups

Chair: Aaron Wunsch, University of California at Berkeley (Architectural History)

Joanna Frang, Brandeis University (History)
“New York City’s First Mechanics Hall: Reconstructing an Archival and Architectural Ghost”

Kyle B. Roberts, University of Pennsylvania (History)
“Creating an Evangelical Space: The John Street Chapels and the Development of Methodist Identity, 1768-1858”

Jessica Roney, Johns Hopkins University (History)
“A Complicated Dance: The Philadelphia Dancing Assembly and Urban Social Networks in Philadelphia, 1748”

12:30-2:00: Lunch

2:00-3:30: Colonial Exchanges

Chair: Jennifer Schaaf, University of Pennsylvania (History)

William Carter, Princeton University (History)
“Misreadings of Marcel Mauss’s The Gift: Gifts and Reciprocity in the Interactions of Indians and Colonists in Early America”

Andrew Lipman, University of Pennsylvania (History)
“Heads Changing Hands: The Exchange of Trophies in the Pequot War and Kieft’s War”

Jessica Stern Spivey, Johns Hopkins University (History)
“Biography of a Deerskin”

4:00-6:00: MCEAS Seminar

Benjamin Franklin Room, 2nd Floor, Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Joyce E. Chaplin, Harvard University (History)
“Scientific American: Reinterpreting Benjamin Franklin”
Those attending should read Prof. Chaplin's precirculated paper in advance)
For access to an on-line copy, contact Zelini Hubbard at the McNeil Center

6:00-7:00: Social Hour

Saturday, October 4

8:30-9:15: Coffee and Bagels

9:30-11:00: Authenticating the Past

Chair: Sarah Rivett, Washington University in St. Louis (English)

Laura Keenan, University of Pennsylvania (History)
“From John Dickinson’s Scrap Heap: Reconstructing Rachel”

Joshua Ratner, University of Pennsylvania (English)
“Neal’s ‘Unpublished Preface,’ ‘Otterbag,’ and the Fiction/History of Prejudice”

Brian J. Rouleau, University of Pennsylvania (History)
“Mass Produced Memory: The Reminiscences of an American Sailor”

11:15-12:45: Ethics of Interpretation

Chair: Justine S. Murison, University of Pennsylvania (English)

Richard J. Bell, Harvard University (History)
“Locating an Early American Suicide Rate”

Katy L. Chiles, Northwestern University (English)
“These white people was (sic): Reading and Quoting the Native American Archive”

Robert Hiliker, Brown University (Comparative Literature)
“Treating Others as Interlocutors: Marie de l’Incarnation’s Mission in America and the Interpretive Act”

12:45-2:15: Lunch

2:15-3:45: Cultures of Science

Chair: Matt Osborn, University of California at Davis (History)

Lana Finley, University of California at Los Angeles (English)
“‘The Stars Incline, But Do Not Compel’: Early American Astrology and the Problem of Evidence”

Matthew H. Fisk, University of California at Davis (Art History and Theory)
“Peale’s Mammoth was Peale’s Business: Charles Wilson Peale’s Mammoth Skeleton as Aesthetic Enterprise”

4:00-6:00 Plenary

Samuel Otter, University of California at Berkeley (English)
“Three Stories about Evidence (involving a Trip to Barnum’s Museum, an Encounter between Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, and a Remarkable Literary Supper in Philadelphia)”

6:00-7:00: Reception