The OI holds up to six colloquia per semester to discuss projects (usually a postdoctoral book chapter or article) in progress. The paper is pre-circulated and available by request. Although only postdoctoral work is presented, graduate students at all levels are warmly encouraged to attend the sessions and participate in the discussions. To receive colloquia announcements and copies of the pre-circulated papers please email Beverly Smith (

Sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 7–8:30 during the academic year, in the OI’s seminar room on the ground floor of Swem Library on the campus of William & Mary. Discussion of the paper follows a brief introduction of the presenter and their project.

Scholars interested in sharing their work at a colloquium next year should contact Karin Wulf ( by April 1, 2020 with a short proposal. The OI provides presenters with lodging and modest travel support.

Colloquia presenters for the 2019–2020 academic year

October 1, 2019
David Waldstreicher, The Graduate Center, CUNY
“The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley”

October 29, 2019
Tyson Reeder, University of Virginia
“Intrigues of a Foreign Minister: The Free Press and Foreign Meddling in the Early U.S. Politics”

February 4, 2020
Erika Bsumek, University of Texas, Austin
“Indigenous People, Latter Day Saints, and the Legacy of Indentured Servitude on the Colorado Plateau”

February 11, 2020
David Hsiung, Juniata College
“Military Metabolism and the Environment in the War of Independence”

February 25, 2020
Vineeta Singh, William & Mary
“From Redemption Narratives to Building Abolition Democracy: New Directions for Universities Studying their Histories”

March 17, 2020 -CANCELED
Sarah Jessica Johnson, University of Chicago
“Asserting Pregnancy in a Colonial Prison: Resounding Silences in Cecilia’s Record”

March 24, 2020 -CANCELED
Mark Valeri, Washington University in Saint Louis
“The Eighteenth-century Turn in Descriptions of non-Protestant religions and the Politics of Empire in British America”

April 14, 2020 -CANCELED
Julia Gaffield, Georgia State University
“Colonial and Revolutionary Catholicism in Saint-Domingue”

April 21, 2020 -CANCELED
Melissa Johnson, University of Michigan
“Mistress, Housemaid, Daughter, Spy: Servants and the Management of Household Gossip”