CALL FOR PAPERS: Making a Republic Imperial

Philadelphia, 28-30 March 2019

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Program in Early American Economy andSociety at the Library Company of Philadelphia invite proposals for Making a Republic Imperial,a conference on empire, imperialism, and colonialism in the early American republic (1780s-1850s) to be held in Philadelphia on March 28-30, 2019. Scholars have turned to empire as a framework for thinking and writing about the early republic. This work has provided new insights into the political, economic, cultural, and intellectualhistory of the era, but it has also provided divergent and at times competing definitions ofempire, imperialism, and colonialism. The imperialism of the early American republic can lookquite different, we find, when described from the perspective of politicians, white settlers, theenslaved, Native Americans, merchants, or missionaries. This conference, accordingly, has a dualgoal: to explore how and why the early republic became an empire, and to bring togetherscholars working on and with empire in the early republic across divides of approach anddiscipline.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Kathleen DuVal and panels of pre-circulatedpapers that will address the experience, meaning, and utility of empire as a category of analysisfor the study of the early republic. What and where was early American empire? How does usingempire affect questions of periodization, geography, narrative synthesis or scholarlyspecialization in an era when the boundaries of “American history” are ever-expanding? In whatways can empire help us to connect the history of the early republic to that of the larger world?We seek individual paper proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers and in a variety ofdisciplines. If you wish to propose a paper, please submit an abstract (300 words) and a shortcurriculum vitae to:

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2018.Applicants can expect to hear back from the conference committee by the end of February 2018.Papers, which will be pre-circulated in early February 2019, should be approximately 7500words in length. Some funding is available to offset the costs of travel and lodging for conferenceparticipants. Details about this support will be available after submissions are reviewed.

Program Committee: Michael Blaakman (co-organizer), University of St. Thomas; Emily Conroy-Krutz (co-organizer), Michigan State University; Elizabeth N. Ellis, New York University; Rashauna Johnson, Dartmouth College; Honor Sachs, Western Carolina University