POSTPONED: 3/23 – Temple U Early Atlantic Seminar
We have decided to postpone this event due to uncertainty relating to Covid-19. We have not yet made firm plans about a new date, but we hope to find a new date in Fall 2020 and will email all registrants to the original symposium event when we have a new date.
We were surprised by the strength of the response to the conversation this symposium offered, and we are heartened to think that the interest will carry forward as we make new plans. It only remains to thank you for your support and particularly to thank our presenters, Francois Furstenberg, Johann Neem, and Harvey Neptune, for their grace and flexibility through this trying turn of events.
I*** NOTE: As of 3/9/20, this event has been postponed, hopefully to the fall of 2020. ***
The Long Game of U.S. Historiography: A Century of Competing Interpretations
9:00 ~ Introduction
9:15-10:45 ~ François Furstenberg, Johns Hopkins University
“Frederick Jackson Turner and the Physiographic Imagination”
Although Frederick Jackson Turner has long been associated with the field of Western history, his
historical vision went far beyond the U.S. West. This paper explores Turner’s fascination with the
discipline of “physiography,” a late nineteenth century science that combined geography, geology,
forestry, minerology, glaciology, and climate sciences more broadly. Might we even see it as a
precursor of today’s environmental history?
11-12:30 ~ Harvey Neptune, Temple University
“The Lost Work of Daniel J. Boorstin: rethinking anti-racist historiography on the Early Republic”
In the widely accepted story of the anti-racist turn in Founding Fathers’ scholarship, Winthrop Jordan’s
White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro figures conventionally as the “landmark,” the
big book that heroically led to the scholarly “demolition” of the Jeffersonian image. The following essay
offers an alternative account, one that recovers a rarely acknowledged piece of scholarly writing that
critically exposed Jeffersonian white supremacy two decades before White Over Black. Authored by
Daniel J. Boorstin, this “lost” work first appeared in 1948 in a book titled The Lost World of
1:45-3:15 ~ Johann Neem, Western Washington University
“The Fate of Democracy in the Changing Fields of Early American Historiography”
Traditionally, historians took the nation-state for granted. Embracing a global perspective, new scholars
of a vaster early America have moved beyond this perspective. Their new narratives, however,
reinforce neoliberal ideas of society and politics. Emphasizing exchange across borders, many histories
of early America question the benefits of democracy when contrasted against empires’ capacity to
create multicultural global polities.
3:30-5:30pm ~ Roundtable Discussion: The Long Game of U.S. Historiography
François Furstenberg, Harvey Neptune, Johann Neem
Chair: Jessica Choppin Roney, Temple University
** All attendees should register and plan to read the three pre-circulated papers in advance. **
Register at https://long-game-of-us-historiography.eventbrite.com
This event is generously co-sponsored by the Temple History Department and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.