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 mceas@sas.upenn.eduMasks are optional in the seminar room. 

The Conestoga “Commonwealth”: Indigenous Constitutionalism and Settler Counter-Sovereignty

Friday Seminar
Matthew Kruer, University of Chicago
Feb 10, 2023 at -

Matthew Kruer is an Assistant Professor of Early North American History at the University of Chicago. He specializes in early American and Indigenous histories, with a focus on the relationship between small Indigenous…

An Archive of Crushes: Love, Latinidad, and the Vastness of Early American Feeling

Friday Seminar
Ana Schwartz, University of Texas at Austin
Feb 24, 2023 at -

Ana Schwartz is the author of Unmoored: The Search for Sincerity in Colonial America (OIEAHC January 2023), a case study in the history of the desire to escape history. Since completing this work, she has been…

“A Distant People”: The History of Slavery and Race in the US Declaration of Independence

Friday Seminar
Steve Sarson, Université Jean Moulin
Mar 24, 2023 at -

Steve Sarson is Professor of American Civilization at Jean Moulin University, Lyon, France. He did his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and previously taught at Towson State University in Baltimore and Swansea…

Staking Claims: Founding Myths and Property Formation on Seventeenth-Century Long Island

Friday Seminar
Michael LaCombe, Adelphi University
Apr 21, 2023 at -

Michael LaCombe teaches early American history and food in U.S. history at Adelphi University on Long Island. He has published recently in Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and in EAS Miscellany. This…

Obour Tanner’s Archive

Friday Seminar
Tara Bynum, Iowa State University and the McNeil Center
May 5, 2023 at -

Tara A. Bynum is an Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Iowa and a Barra Sabbatical Fellow at the McNeil Center. Her new book, Reading Pleasures (University of Illinois Press…