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Through a Glass Darkly


During the past decade, scholars have become increasingly interested in the way people defined themselves in early America, the meaning of those measures of self defiition, and what the process and the categories it employs can tell us about the character of that society and how it changed over time. Some historians have approached these questions from a biographical perspective, seeking to discern through the lives of individuals or families the broader contours of the social and cultural landscape. Others have used insights drawn from literary analysis, anthropology, psychology, and material culture to inform their inverstigations. On November 2–4, 1993, the Institute of Early American History and Culture, in keeping with its traditional role as a provider of forums for the presentation and discussion of seminal work in early American studies, will host a major conference featuring this richly creative and intriguing scholarship. Through a Glass Darkly: Defining Self in Early America will offer opportunities for assessing current explorations of this important theme and for identifying promising directions for future research. The meeting has been organized to engage both participants and audience in meaningful dialogue.

The Institute of Early American History and Culture, sponsored jointly by the College of William and Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, was founded by those institutions in 1943 to further “study, research, and publications bearing on American History apporximately to the year 1815.” The Institute publishes the William and Mary Quarterly, books in its field of interest, and a e-newsletter, organizes and supports a variety of conferences, seminars, and colloquia, and annually offers a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. Persons who share these interests and wish to contribute to the ongoing work of the Institute are cordially invited to become Institute Associates.