CFP | Due 8 Jan 2021 | OI Coffeehouse | Childhood and Youth in Early America Table with Crystal Lynn Webster (University of Texas at San Antonio)

OI Coffeehouse Applications

Friday January 8

We are excited to open the OI Coffeehouse in February 2021. Scholars of #Vast Early America can apply for a seat at up to three of the following nine tables. (No one will be assigned a seat at more than one table.) Hosts will choose who sits at their tables. The cost of a seat is $35, payable to the Omohundro Institute. The Coffeehouse will meet for eight weeks starting the week of February 8, 2021.

The deadline for seat applications is January 8, 2021.



Childhood and Youth in Early America
With Crystal Lynn Webster (University of Texas at San Antonio)

This group is designed for scholars researching broadly on the concept of childhood and/or doing history that centers children as historical subjects. Relevant topics include child-labor, race & childhood, children and criminal/carceral studies, and more. The group intends to hold space for writing together, as well as workshop works-in-progress.

Other Tables

Archival Fragments, Experimental Modes
With Sara E. Johnson (University of California, San Diego) and Sarah Knott (Indiana University)

This table will bring together scholars interested in exploring the methods and forms in which we write when confronted by the limits of the archive. As scholars of vast early America, we can draw particular inspiration from women’s, indigenous and enslaved histories. We are also inspired by recent developments in scholarly modes from across the Humanities. These might include critical fabulation; the history of the present; what Maggie Nelson calls “presencing” (in which the writer is present in the text); or other styles, methods, and genres brought by group members. Public Scholarship, Project Management, and Ethics in Digital Slavery Studies
With Daryle Williams (University of Maryland and Co-Principal Investigator, and Kristina Poznan (Editoral Associate,

This table will use Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade as a case study and “sandbox” for exploring the various opportunities and challenges of engaging in data-driven public scholarship, humanistic research, and humanities careers. Each session will consist of an introductory overview on the week’s topic, led by the co-hosts and invited guests, followed by breakouts for discussion and collaboration. We welcome scholars, students, and public humanities professionals actively working in slavery studies, data-driven historical research, and/or digital projects at any stage to join.

Imagining Lost Lives: Archival Silences and the Challenge of Writing Histories of the Enslaved
With Frances Bell (William & Mary) and Simon P. Newman (University of Glasgow, emeritus)

We welcome scholars who are hoping to complete writing focused on enslaved people who have left few archival traces. Generations of historians have struggled with the challenge of doing justice to the enslaved individuals who figure in their scholarly writing, and a slew of recent scholarship has underlined what is at stake in our dependence upon masters’ records imbued with the violence of slavery. We seek as broad a range of participants as possible, including junior, mid-career and senior scholars and others as we confront the challenge of historical writing given that we “have irretrievably lost the thoughts, desires, fears, and perspectives of many whose enslavement shaped every aspect of their lives.”[1]

[1] Brian Connolly and Marisa Fuentes, “Introduction: From Archives of Slavery to Liberated Futures?” History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History, 6, 2 (2016), 105.

Indigenous Mapmaking and Mapmakers
With Jenny Marie Forsythe (Western Washington University)

Indigenous people have always made maps. The work of Lisa Brooks, Margaret Pearce, Annita Hetoevéhotohke’e Lucchesi, and many others powerfully contests the false notion that cartography is exclusively a colonial technology or a Western science. This table will be a mix of coffee date, reading group, and work-in-progress group; a space to learn more about Indigenous histories and practices of mapping Vast Early America.

The Liberal Arts College Table
With Cate Denial (Knox College)

Come and create community with other liberal arts professors, as we navigate the ins and outs of research and writing as scholars with demanding teaching loads. Adjunct faculty are welcome!

New Wine in Old Bottles: De-Dadding Dad History
With Tyson Reeder (University of Virginia)

With Alexis Coe’s memorable description of the “thigh men of dad history” ping-ponging around our brains, those of us who write about well-known figures and events in early America may question whether we are just retracing the lines of old portraits in slightly different hues. We want to present important topics to wide audiences without falling into caricature, or we may struggle with the line between revision and polemics. This table will help us sort through new frameworks and diversify our approaches to prominent subjects, while still reaching broad audiences.

Rethinking Historical Narratives: Slavery and Memory in the Atlantic
With Michael Dickinson (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Dexter Gabriel (University of Connecticut-Storrs)

This table will consider how societies throughout the Atlantic have worked to reconcile and remember the histories of black bondage. In light of contemporary discussions in the United States surrounding the legacies of slavery, we believe that discourses across geographic boundaries have much to contribute as we work to move forward as a society. Therefore, we would like to invite participants to use this opportunity to generatively consider the human project of illuminating past oppression and acknowledging present continuities in order to heal historical injustices.

Six Degrees of Phillis Wheatley
With Tara Bynum (University of Iowa)

This table will gather us together to talk and write about how early African American communities made themselves within a revolutionary era and early Republic context.