"War Stories" Conference

"War Stories: Conflict in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850" Conference
17-19 November 2022

War was a more usual state of affairs than peace in the early modern Atlantic, and there are few scholars who would deny its importance for understanding this imperial age. Nevertheless, the impact of almost constant warfare on everyday social and economic development remains underappreciated. In many ways, war made the Atlantic world – as an arena of interaction, as an economic entity, and as a place of inter-racial conflict. Rather than being a sporadic disruption, war was a permanent constraint of life in the early modern Atlantic world. At the same time, the nature of armed conflict in this world redrew the very boundaries that had customarily distinguished war from violence.

Inspired by the commissioning and production of The Oxford Handbook of the Seven Years’ War, this conference welcomes scholars at all stages of their careers, and from all relevant disciplines, who are exploring war’s impact on the early Americas and the Atlantic world. 

The conference will be held both in-person and by Zoom.  Masks are required by participants attending in-person.

War Stories: Conflict in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850

Cosponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation

All sessions will convene both via Zoom and in person at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (3355 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA).

All events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

All times are Eastern Time.


Thursday, November 17

1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.    Opening Remarks

Trevor Burnard (Wilberforce Institute and University of Hull)
Emma Hart (McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania)


1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Panel 1: Patriotisms

Chair: Tara A. Bynum (University of Iowa and McNeil Center)

Ernesto Mercado-Montero (Dartmouth College)
The Black Caribs, Afro-Indigenous Autonomy, and the French Revolutionary Wars in the Lesser Antilles

Andrea Miles (University of Louisville)
Regulators and Redcoats: Black Rebels: African American Revolutionaries from North Carolina During and After the War of Independence

Gregory Mole (Longwood University)
“You Have Only Ever Regarded Us as a Society of Petty Merchants”: Company Patriotism in the Age of the Nation-State

3:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.    Break

3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m.    Panel 2: Experiences of War

Chair: Edward Gray (Florida State University)

Joanne Jahnke Wegner (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
The Multiple Captivities of Susannah Johnson: Captivity, Gendered Economies, and Diplomacy during the Seven Years’ War

Meg Roberts (University of Cambridge)
Care in the City: Urban Army Hospitals and Community Care Work in Revolutionary Philadelphia

4:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m.    Break

5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.    Keynote: A Conversation

Chair: Emma Hart (McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania)

  1. Seema Alavi (University of Delhi)
  2. Erica Charters (University of Oxford)
  3. Wayne Lee (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


Friday, November 18

9:30 a.m. Coffee and Bagels/Muffins

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Panel 3: The Limits of Liberation: Combatting Slavery, Coercion, and Imperial Power in the Atlantic World

Chair: Kay Wright Lewis (Howard University)

Sean Gallagher (Colorado Mesa University)
“They don’t know where they Lived”: Enslaved People, Kidnapping, and Disorientation in the U.S. War for Independence

Crystal Eddins (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
“We Have a False Idea of the Negro”: Legacies of African Resistance in Colonial Haiti

Adam Thomas (Western Carolina University)
“Houses in the woods”: Marronage at the Limits of Jamaica’s 1831 Emancipation War

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Break

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.  Panel 4: Sinews of War and Peace: Captivity, Slavery, and Nationhood in Native American Conflicts

Chair: Wayne Lee (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Paul Barba (Bucknell University)

“They are Very Expeditious in Finding Out the Negroes that Frequently Run Away from Their Masters into the Woods”: Slave Hunting and the Historiography of Black-Indigenous Relations in North America

Alexis Guilbault (University of Illinois at Chicago)
“You Will Settle and Dispose of Them to the Most Advantage”: Colonialism and the Expansion of Native Slavery, 1750-1800

Jacob Hagstrom (The Citadel)
Slavery, Print, and Poe: Competing Narratives about the Second Seminole War

Bryan Rindfleisch (Marquette University)
“Cherokee Kings” & “Coweta Kings”: Muscogee-Cherokee Diplomacy, Warfare, & Intra-Indigenous Connections in Early America

1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.    Lunch (on your own)

2:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Panel 5: Consequences of the Seven Years' War

Chair: Arianne Sedef Urus (McNeil Center for Early American Studies)

Manuel Covo (University of California, Santa Barbara)
The Economic Consequences of the Seven Years’ War in Europe


Robert Paulett (Southern Illinois University)
From Indians to Interest: Lord Shelburne’s Archive and a New Narrative of Indigenous Subjecthood in the British Atlantic

Andrew Sturtevant (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
“Good” and “Bad” Wyandots: Rethinking Pontiac’s War

4:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m.    Break

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.    Panel 6: Revolution

Chair: Jessica Choppin Roney (Temple University)

Katherine Grandjean (Wellesley College)
Pockets Full of Ashes: The Lingering Embers of the Revolutionary War in the South

Donald F. Johnson (North Dakota State University)
Shots Heard and Unheard: Inventing the Beginning of the America Revolutionary War

Daniel Krebs (United States Army War College)
Escalation: The Revolutionaries’ Strategy to Win the American War of Independence


6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.    Reception at the McNeil Center


Saturday, November 19

9:30 a.m. Coffee and Bagels/Muffins

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Panel 7: Trade and Commerce

Chair: Robert DuPlessis (Swarthmore College)

Alexandre Dubé (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi)
Jean-François Lozier (Canadian Museum of History)
Guerre, Paix et Commerce Étranger: Illicit Trade at the Heart of New France

Ty M. Reese (University of North Dakota)
‘the country belongs to them’: The American Revolution Arrives on the Gold Coast

Siobhan Talbott (Keele University)
War and Opportunity: British Merchants and the Early-Modern Atlantic World

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Break

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.   Panel 8: War and the Environment

Chair: Elizabeth Cross (Georgetown University)

David C. Hsiung (Juniata College)
Some Environmental Consequences of War: How the American Revolution Affected the Natural World in Predictable and Surprising Ways

Justin J. Iverson (United States Air Force)
Changes in the Land: English Strategies of Infrastructure, Possession, and Militarization of the Jamaican Landscape During the First Maroon War

Shavagne A. Scott (New York University)
The Unending Labor of Futurity: Maroon Women, War, and the Maroon Landscape in Colonial Jamaica, 1700-1740

1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.    Lunch (on your own)

2:45 p.m-4:15 p.m.     Panel 9: Representations of War

Chair: Trevor Burnard (Wilberforce Institute and University of Hull)

Sarah von Hagen (University of Göttingen)
Sublime Bloodshed? Visual Representations of British Atlantic Naval Warfare, ca. 1740–1763

Joel Herman (Trinity College Dublin)
News of War: Newspaper Representations of Warfare in the British Atlantic World, c. 1756-1783

Megan Baker (University of Delaware)
The Death of Patroclus and John Singleton Copley’s Visual Rhetoric of Masculinity

4:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m.    Break

4:30 p.m. -6:00 p.m. Panel 10: Peace and Diplomacy

Chair: María Esther Hammack (McNeil Center for Early American Studies)

Evan Haefeli (Texas A&M University)
The Last War: Affirming Indigenous Peace in the Eastern Woodlands

Eric Schnakenbourg (Nantes Université)
Necessary Partners: French Strategy toward Neutrals in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Wars

Helen Shears (Duke University)
“In a Time of Perfect Amity”: War and Peace in the Hudson Bay, 1682-1713

To register for the conference, please click here.

Nearby Dining

For McNeil Center guests looking for somewhere close and quick to grab lunch, here are some options.


Franklin’s Table

3401 Walnut Street (2-minute walk)

Specialties: sushi, sandwiches, hummus & falafel, pizza, and more

Counter Service with large seating area


New Deck Tavern

3408 Sansom Street (3-minute walk; faster if you jay-walk)

Specialties: Irish pub with drinks and pub-style food

Table service


White Dog Café

3420 Sansom Street (3-minute walk; faster if you jay-walk)

Specialties: Upscale, sustainable local menu in charming brownstone setting

Table service, reservation recommended



20 South 33rd Street (corner of 33rd and Chestnut) (3-minute walk)

Specialties: Upscale mid-Atlantic cuisine with seasonal, local ingredients

Table service, reservation recommended


United by Blue Coffee Shop

3421 Walnut Street (3-minute walk)

Specialties: Coffee shop with sandwiches and salads

Counter service with large seating area


Shake Shack

3200 Chestnut Street (4-minute walk)

Specialties: Burgers, fries, and shakes

Counter service with large seating area


Sangkee Noodle House

3549 Chestnut Street (4-minute walk)

Specialties: Noodles and dim sum

Table service



140 South 36th Street (between Walnut and Chestnut) (5-minute walk)

Specialties: Grain and greens bowls/design your own

Counter service; limited seating, so plan to take-out


Axis Pizza

20 South 36th Street (5-minute walk)

Specialties: Pizzas, cheesesteaks, salads, hoagies (subs)

Counter service with large seating area



3608 Chestnut Street (5-minute walk)

Specialties: Japanese cuisine, hand-drawn noodles, bubble tea

Table service


Landmark Americana

3333 Market Street (5-minute walk)

Specialties: Tap & Grill

Table service


Louie Louie

3611 Walnut Street (6-minute walk)

Specialties: Upscale French-inspired American bistro

Table service, reservation recommended


Lemon Grass Thai

3131 Walnut Street (7-minute walk)

Specialties: Curries, salads, lunch specials

Table service



3636 Sansom Street (7-minute walk)

Specialties: Upscale Korean handrolls, ramyuns, soju

Table service, reservation recommended



3731 Walnut Street (8-minute walk)

Specialties: Salads and stir-fries

Counter service;  limited seating, so plan to take-out


Bombay Dhabba Philly

3601 Market Street (8-minute walk)

Specialties: Indian street food & traditional fare

Table service


Han Dynasty

3711 Market Street (11 minute walk)

Specialties: Sichuan-style spice/Chinese (most dishes are spicy)

Table service


Nam Vietnamese Kitchen

3816 Chestnut Street (11-minute walk)

Specialties: Modern Vietnamese, street bites, pho

Table service


BonChon Chicken

3836 Chestnut (12 minute walk)

Specialties: Korean chicken wings, bulgogi, bibimbap, tacos

Table service


Hummus Grille

3931 Walnut (13 minute walk)

Specialties: Hummus, falafel, shawarma

Counter service with seating area


To Philadelphia eateries we may have missed – At lunchtime, our conference attendees often need somewhere they can walk to, grab a quick lunch, and return within an hour. If you want to be included on this list, just reach out to us at mceas@sas.upenn.edu and we can add you if you are a quick walk from us.