Saturday, June 20, 2015

“Season of Misery” for Colonial Americans and True Yankees

Recently, the online journal Common-place published a roundtable on Kathleen Donegan’s Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America, a book that has garnered a good deal of attention among early Americanists. The collection of brief essays expands upon a session held at the American Studies Association conference in 2014 and features thoughts from Dennis Moore, Abram Van Engen, Kathleen Wilson, Sari Altschuler, Karen Stolley, and Birgit Brander Rasmussen, as well as a lovely reflection on writing Seasons of Misery from Donegan herself. They present us with one of those wonderful moments of intellectual engagement that challenge historians to reconsider their field in fundamental ways; that leave us not only with an impression of “oh, I didn’t know that,” but, more broadly, “oh, I never thought about it this way before.” The online conversation was particularly interesting to me because my own book, True YankeesThe South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity (JHUP, 2104), tries to do something similar, extending the argument into a later period and across the globe.

You can read the rest of this piece at the Johns Hopkins University Press blog site:

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