events events




A conference sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, in cooperation with the School of Arts and Sciences of The Catholic University of America, the Columbia University Seminars, and the Office of the Provost, Columbia University.


Antagonism toward the pope and his co-religionists was nearly universal in the Protestant societies of Europe and colonial America. In recent years historians on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to realize that anti-Catholic fears represented more than blind prejudice or ignorance. Instead, antipopery was a powerful language that early modern Europeans used to understand their world and their place in history. This conference will explore the diverse uses of antipopery in the Protestant Atlantic—whether religious, social, legal, economic, or political—from the time of the Reformation to the era of massive Catholic migration to America in the mid-nineteenth century.

Evan Haefeli (Columbia University), Ronald Hoffman (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture), Brendan McConville (Boston University), Daniel K. Richter (University of Pennsylvania), and Owen Stanwood (The Catholic University of America) comprised the program committee for the conference.

The conference co-sponsors are the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, which is housed at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Established as the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies in 1978 and renamed in honor of its benefactor Robert L. McNeil, Jr., in 1998, the McNeil Center facilitates scholarly inquiry into the histories and cultures of America in the Atlantic world before 1850, with a particular but by no means exclusive emphasis on the mid-Atlantic region. The Center offers pre- and postdoctoral fellowships, conducts a seminar series to promote intellectual community among local and visiting faculty and graduate students, and organizes occasional national conferences to foster interdisciplinary research. It publishes Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and sponsors the Early American Studies monograph series published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

The Institute, created by the College of William and Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1943 and still jointly sponsored by those institutions, advances the study of the history and cultures of North America from circa 1450 to 1820, including related developments in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. It publishes the William and Mary Quarterly and books in its field of interest, organizes and supports a variety of conferences, seminars, and colloquia, and annually offers a two-year NEH postdoctoral fellowship and a one-year Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral research fellowship.

The McNeil Center, the Omohundro Institute, and the program committee are grateful to the School of Arts and Sciences of The Catholic University of America (, the Columbia University Seminars (, and the Office of the Provost at Columbia University ( for their contributions in support of the conference.

The sponsors and the program committee also thank Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences ( and Department of History ( for sponsoring the Keynote Address, and St. Joseph’s University ( and the American Catholic Historical Society ( for sponsoring and hosting Friday night’s reception.