Possible Pasts: Critical Encounters in Early America

JUNE 3–5, 1994 • UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

 

INTRODUCTION

A Conference Co-Sponsored by the Institute of Early American History and Culture and the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies

In recent years the intellectual footings of early American studies have been shifting as scholars integrate critical apporoaches across diverse disciplinary and theorectical boundaries. To examine the ongoing impact that various trajectories within cultural studies are having on our critical encounters with early American societies and cultures, historians, anthropologists, folklorists, and literary critics are addressing old questions from new perspectives: Precisely when and where is “early America”? In light of recent work on postcolonial social formations, what does it mean to study “colonial” America? What cultural practices, in particular, merit renewed attention from scholars interested in the articulation of a pulbic sphere? In order to chart the intellectual landscape emerging from this exciting new work, the Institute of Early American History and Culture and the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies are jointly sponsoring Possible Pasts: Critical Encounters in Early America.

The Institute of Early American History and Culture was established by The College of William and Mary and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1943 to suppoort “study, research, and publications bearing on American History approximately 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. The Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies was established by the University in 1978 to foster scholarship on the history and culture of the mid-Atlantic region, particularly of the Delaware Valley. In addition to its very active seminar series during the academic year, the Center sponsors research conferences and annually awards several dissertation fellowships.

JUNE 3–5, 1994 • UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

 

INTRODUCTION

A Conference Co-Sponsored by the Institute of Early American History and Culture and the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies

In recent years the intellectual footings of early American studies have been shifting as scholars integrate critical apporoaches across diverse disciplinary and theorectical boundaries. To examine the ongoing impact that various trajectories within cultural studies are having on our critical encounters with early American societies and cultures, historians, anthropologists, folklorists, and literary critics are addressing old questions from new perspectives: Precisely when and where is “early America”? In light of recent work on postcolonial social formations, what does it mean to study “colonial” America? What cultural practices, in particular, merit renewed attention from scholars interested in the articulation of a pulbic sphere? In order to chart the intellectual landscape emerging from this exciting new work, the Institute of Early American History and Culture and the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies are jointly sponsoring Possible Pasts: Critical Encounters in Early America.

The Institute of Early American History and Culture was established by The College of William and Mary and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1943 to suppoort “study, research, and publications bearing on American History approximately 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. The Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies was established by the University in 1978 to foster scholarship on the history and culture of the mid-Atlantic region, particularly of the Delaware Valley. In addition to its very active seminar series during the academic year, the Center sponsors research conferences and annually awards several dissertation fellowships.