Friday Seminars

The McNeil Center sponsors a seminar that meets on Friday afternoons at 3:00 pm approximately twice a month between September and May, with the paper for each session circulated in advance. Over two hundred people attend at least once a year, with an average attendance of 40 to 50 at meetings held at various sites in the Delaware Valley. While most of the regular attendees are graduate students and faculty from institutions in the Philadelphia area, participants come from as far afield as Long Island, New York City, Princeton, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington. 

In order to get an accurate count for the post-seminar happy hour, we are asking that attendees RSVP to To get access to the seminar papers and Zoom links, or to join our mailing list, please email us at

Own Nothing: Rethinking Theft in Slavery's Archives

Friday Seminar
Ajay Batra, University of Southern California and 2019-2020 MCEAS Hamer Dissertation Fellow
Oct 7, 2022 at -

Ajay [UH-jay] Kumar Batra is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities. Batra is a literary and cultural historian working at the intersection of…

Treaty Claims and the Reorganization of Fiduciary Colonialism in the Wake of Indian Removal

Friday Seminar
Emilie Connolly, Brandeis University and 2017-2018 MCEAS Consortium Dissertation Fellow
Oct 21, 2022 at -

Emilie Connolly is an Assistant Professor of History at Brandeis University. She specializes in the nineteenth-century U.S., with a focus on the history of political economy, colonialism, and the Indigenous peoples of…

Freedom, Faith and Family: Black Migrants and the formation of their West Philadelphia Community

Friday Seminar
Donna Rilling, Stony Brook University
Nov 4, 2022 at -

Donna Rilling is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where she focuses on the history of the early American republic. She completed her doctoral work at the University of…

Hereditary Term Slavery and the Pursuit of Restitution in Antebellum Pennsylvania

Friday Seminar
Cory James Young, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 2020-2021 Friends of the MCEAS Dissertation Fellow
Dec 9, 2022 at -

Cory James Young is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Young is a historian of abolition and slavery in the American North. He received his Ph.D. from Georgetown…