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 copies of the pre-circulated papers please email Beverly Smith ( Discussion of the paper will follow a brief introduction of the presenter and their project. Participants are asked to refrain from sharing the papers with others. We thank you for your observance of this request.

Call for Proposals for 2021-2022

During the 2021-2022 academic year, all colloquia will be held online. As in previous years, we will meet on Tuesday evenings (6:30 pm to 8:00 pm). In an effort to duplicate the rich scholarly exchange enjoyed by the many attendees of our in-person colloq series during the last decades, we are limiting registration for this event to 40 participants and have endeavored to make places available first and foremost for scholars in the W&M and Williamsburg-adjacent communities. 

Scholars interested in sharing their work at a colloquium next year should contact Karin Wulf ( by April 5, 2021 with a short proposal.

Colloquia presenters for the 2020–2021 academic year

September 1, 2020
Julia Gaffield, Georgia State University
“The Schism: Haitian Independence and the National Church”

September 22, 2020
Tara Bynum, University of Iowa
“‘A Curious List and a Trip to Sierra Leone’: Or, Why Obour Tanner Bought Rev Hopkins’ The System of Doctrines in 1793?”

October 20, 2020
Sarah Jessica Johnson, University of Chicago
“Asserting Pregnancy in a Colonial Prison: Resounding Silences in Cecilia’s Record”

November 17, 2020
Michael Blaakman, Princeton University
“Preemptive Property: Native Power, Unceded Land, and Speculation in the Early Republic”

December 8, 2020
Warren Milteer, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
“The Evolution of Freedom: Free People of Color in the Revolutionary South”

January 26, 2021
Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, University of Southern California
“From New Cultures to a New Regime: Washington and Cuzco in the 1810s”

February 16, 2021
Melissa Johnson, University of Michigan
“Mistress, Housemaid, Daughter, Spy: Servants and the Management of Household Gossip in 17th Century New England”