OI Books: Our Changing Expectations of Scholarship

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 Natalie Zacek When I arrived at Johns Hopkins University in September 1992 to begin my graduate studies in history, my first meeting with my supervisor, Jack Greene, concluded with his recommendation that I head for the campus bookstore and purchase a copy of Richard S. Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves. As other members of the “Big Greene Team” will recall, Jack’s reading lists for his seminar and for comprehensive exams in colonial British American history were immensely long, and included both the most recent works of scholarship and those which had been classics when he had started his doctoral studies. But for me, coming into grad school with a strong interest in but remarkably little knowledge of the history and historiography of the English West Indies, it was Dunn’s monograph which he believed would be the ideal starting point. Read More

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OI Books: Shifting the Conversation on Slavery

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 Abigail Swingen The pages of my copy of Richard S. Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies are dog-eared thirty-one times. I referred to it repeatedly while I wrote my dissertation and my book. I first encountered the book in a class on colonial America in graduate school, but I did not really delve into it until I started to research my dissertation on unfree labor in the early English empire. I remember taking it with me practically everywhere I went on my first trip to the UK archives in the summer of 2002, reading it while on the Tube down to Kew, in coffee shops around London, and in the garden behind the dorm where I stayed at the University of Bristol. I’m sure many of the dog-ears date from that summer. In many ways the book remains indispensable to our understanding of the early English Caribbean colonies and how and why slavery played such an important role in their social and economic evolution. Read More

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