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Kentucky Early American Seminar

The Kentucky Early American Seminar is a group of historians from various universities in Kentucky and Indiana who meet informally during Spring and Fall semesters to discuss pre-circulated papers on any topic concerning the colonial through the early national period in North America.


All meetings are held at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Ky., on Fridays, 5 - 6.30pm.  See here fore a map of the campus and driving directions from the west (Louisville) and east (Lexington). Following the discussions, participants usually gather for a social hour/dinner at a local restaurant. Papers are made available for download on this website two weeks in advance (click on the paper title below). Do not cite without the author's permission.


Next Meeting: May 9, 2014!

Dr. Kelly Ryan, Indiana University Southeast

“I would not yield”:  African Americans, Violence, and Power in Massachusetts and New York, 1770-1830

After the American Revolution, immediate and gradual emancipation legislation, as well as and the increasing number of African Americans who took their own freedom, altered the landscape of the northeast.  As scholars have shown, the new racial order was highly contested with whites and African Americans brokering new power relationships and customs. Violence was integral to these negotiations for power as it was a critical tool of whites seeking to maintain the racial hierarchy. Masters beat their slaves to achieve supremacy in increasingly uncertain times as their grasp on their slaves loosened.  Free people were also subject to violence in their daily activities in what seemed to be an echo of the slave past. Yet, the violence that occurred in the early republic took place in a new context with a mixture of slaves and free people. African Americans in the north had more options to redress their grievances. In the north, the government was willing to hear some protestations of abuse, and white friends and neighbors occasionally helped enslaved and free blacks pursue justice. African Americans demanded their right to personal safety and security and revealed their conceptions of their rights as free people and slaves.  Their activities show that the ways that the demise of slavery revised some legal codes and daily practices.



Dr. Brad Wood (Eastern Kentucky University)

Dr. Darrell Meadows (Kentucky Historical Society)

Dr. Jane Calvert (University of Kentucky)

Dr. Kelly Ryan (Indiana University Southeast)

Dr. Daniel Krebs (University of Louisville)

Dr. Glenn Crothers (University of Louisville)


Next Meetings and Papers

To submit a paper for discussion, please contact Brad Wood or Kelly Ryan. Papers should not exceed fifty pages, including notes, and should include a brief abstract.


Past Papers

February 21, 2014: Dr. Randy M. Browne, Xavier University: Property Rights, Slavery, and Survival in the Nineteenth-Century British Caribbean

January 24, 2014: Dr. Edward C. McInnis, University of Louisville: Remaking the Present by Retelling the Past - A History of the History of the Roman Land Reform and the Gracchus Brothers

November 15, 2013: Dr. Christina Snyder, Indiana University: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Civilizations: Indian Intellectual History at an Antebellum School

September 27, 2013: Jeremy Popkin, University of Kentucky: Losing One’s Head Over the Colonies:  The Mission of Governor Blanchelande in Saint-Domingue

March 29, 2013: Jacob Lee, University of California - Davis: In Cahokia's Wake: Middle America from Mississipians to Marquette and Jolliet

February 22, 2013: Dr. Brad Wood, Eastern Kentucky University: Colonial North Carolina and the Limits of the Atlantic World

February 8, 2013: Dr. Kelly Ryan, Indiana University - Southeast: Mediating Spousal Abuse in New England, 1760 - 1830

October 19, 2012: Dr. Kristalyn M. Shefveland, University of Southern Indiana: Reversing Their Removal from the Narrative: Native Labor in Virginia

April 20, 2012: Dr. Jane Calvert, University of Kentucky: Thomas Paine, Quakerism, and the Limits of Religious Liberty During the American Revolution

March 30, 2012: Dr. Kris Ray, Austin Peay State University and Senior Editor, Tennessee Historical Quarterly: Cherokees and Franco-British Confrontation in the Tennessee Corridor, 1748-1758

February 21, 2012: Dr. Brad Wood, Eastern Kentucky University: Creating and Contesting Carolina

October 14, 2011: Samantha M. Steele, University of Kentucky: The Captivity of Hannah Duston - Using Literature to Map the Changing Perceptions of Native Americans in New England Society

April 8, 2011: Dr. Brad Wood, Eastern Kentucky University: Thomas Pollock and the Making of an Albemarle Plantation World

March 11, 2011: Dr. Christopher Magra, University of Tennessee: Anti-Impressment Riots and the "Radicalism" of the American Revolution

February 4, 2011: Dr. Daniel Krebs, University of Louisville: Useful Enemies - German Prisoners of War During the American Revolution

September 9, 2011: Dr. Kristopher Ray, Austin Peay State University and Senior Editor, Tennessee Historical Quarterly: Cherokee-British Alliance along the Tennessee River, 1650-1750

November 4, 2011: Dr. Kristalyn M. Sheveland, University of Southern Indiana: "Wholy Subjected?" Anglo-Indian Interaction in Colonial Virginia, 1646-1718

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