Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

Vast Early America Lecture

Please join the Omohundro Institute in conjunction with the departments of History, Anthropology, and English at W&M as well as the American Studies program, on Monday, October 2, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in Tucker Hall, room 127, for a lecture by Professor Robert Morrissey (University of Illinois) entitled “Hiding in the Tallgrass: Art and Identity at the Center of Early America.”

In the collections of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris is a group of Native American hide paintings dating from the 17th century. Regarded as some of the most beautiful examples of indigenous bison hide art ever collected in the contact period, these objects have been appreciated by art historians, but often ignored by historians. This talk is a cross-disciplinary detective story as well as an argument. By exploring several mysteries about these fascinating robes, Robert Morrissey reveals the story that these objects tell about a crucial but overlooked center of power in early America.

A reception in the Wren Great Hall will follow Professor Morrissey’s talk.

The Vast Early America Lecture series features an OI author whose work has strong cross-disciplinary appeal to scholars of history, literature, gender and sexuality, race and identity, and cultural studies. While created with the William & Mary student and faculty community in mind, the lecture is open to all.

Previous Lectures


The first Vast Early America Lecture took place on September 19, 2016. Miles P. Grier, Assistant Professor of English, Queens College, City University of New York, gave a talk titled “Inkface: or, Learning to Read Racial Character in the English Atlantic.” Professor Grier’s talk blended aspects of the history of slavery, tattooing, stage cosmetics, and the properties of inks and dyes—as they bear on day-to-day life in England’s Atlantic empire.