OI Author Conversation with Sara E. Johnson and Ada Ferrer

Join OI author Sara E. Johnson in conversation with Ada Ferrer ONLINE as they discuss Johnson’s new book, Encyclopédie Noire: The Making of Moreau de Saint-Méry’s Intellectual World (Omohundro Institute/University of North Carolina Press, 2023). Johnson and Ferrer will discuss experimental writing methods in historiography, the idea of communal biography, and stories about the enslaved and free… Read More

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2026 and Insurance: A Conversation with Hannah Farber

In this installment of interviews with OI Book authors about the Semiquincentennial, Hannah Farber discusses marine insurance—a topic that seems below the surface but that nonetheless had a significant impact on the Revolution and American independence. Her 2021 book, Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding, navigates a cast… Read More

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Must Early America Be Vast?

by Karin Wulf Spoiler:  I think yes. But it’s complicated.  You may have seen this meme about historians, with “it’s complicated” mocked as the weak battle cry of our profession.  I would argue that there is ample demonstration, from contemporary politics to technology, that an appreciation of complexity is newly resurgent.  And so it is with vigor, rather than… Read More

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OI Books: A Transformative View of Race and Gender

Today’s post is part of our series marking the 75th anniversary of the Omohundro Institute by exploring the OI books that have had an impact on a scholar’s life. By Julie Richter I was in the middle of my dissertation research when Mick Nicholls, then a Research Fellow at Colonial Williamsburg, introduced me to Kathy Brown. Mick encouraged us to talk about our research in county court records. Kathy was in Virginia so she could immerse herself in the court records for three Tidewater counties: Lancaster, Norfolk, and York. I also used the York County Court records in my dissertation and we quickly learned that we had a lot to discuss. During these conversations I realized how much I had missed thinking and talking about women as historical actors. While women appeared as minor figures in reading assignments during grad school, only one of the classes that I took as a Ph.D. student at William & Mary included a focus on women and this focus lasted just a week. I found that these readings were a disappointment as they were book chapters and articles published in the 1950s. Read More

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