Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Connections, Convergences and Disjuncture - Reintegrating British and American History in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 1660-1750



The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick in combination with the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago is pleased to announce a two week residential summer workshop between 10 and 23 July 2011 on ‘Reintegrating British and American History in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 1660-1750'. The workshop is part of the Warwick-Newberry collaborative programme on 'Renaissance and Early Modern Communities', and benefits from generous funding by The Andrew W. Mellon foundation.

The workshop will be organised by Professors Mark Knights and Trevor Burnard of the University of Warwick. Featured speakers will include: Kevin Sharpe (Queen Mary, London University); David Hancock (University of Michigan); Evan Haefeli (University of Columbia); Phil Withington (University of Cambridge); John Garrigus (University of Texas, Arlington); Lisa Cody (Claremont McKenna College) and is the third of a series. The first, held on 5 November 2010, sought to place the events of 1688 in their British and colonial context, examine why the historiographies of the British and American revolutions have become largely divorced from each other and suggest some ways in which they might be reunited. The second workshop, which was held at Warwick on 25 March, examined the neglected period 1700-1750 and the third workshop in the summer will consider the century 1650-1750 as a whole.


Until the early 1980s, the links between the historiographies of colonial British America and seventeenth century English history were close, especially on the colonial British American side. It was assumed that the origins of American society and culture lay in the society and culture of seventeenth century England and that to understand how America originated and developed it was necessary to pay close attention to transformations in England and Scotland in the seventeenth century. But what has become very noticeable in recent years is that the seemingly close links between seventeenth century English/British history and colonial English/British American history have been eroded. Ironically they have declined at the same time as, and perhaps because of, the geographical expansion of the attention of both historiographies. Seventeenth century English historians increasingly view their subject within the context of “Greater” British history and within a European context while early American historians, enamoured of Atlantic history and borderlands approaches, treat early America as one of several European empires, with as much attention given to Spain and France as to England/Britain. The workshop considers the causes and consequences of these shifts, asks whether they are problematic or productive, and reflects on possible future lines of enquiry. Themes to be covered include: British and American historiographies; trade and political economy; space and time; toleration, witchcraft and religious diversity; citizenship and communities; political culture; visual culture; race, native Americans and slavery; French and Spanish America; gender. Participants will also have an opportunity to present a paper based on their own research.

Workshop timetable:

11 July: AM Introduction: the historiographical problem – connecting or disconnecting American and British historiographies. Presenters: MK and TB Readings are here

PM: assignment of student presentations and introduction of pgs/postdocs; display of items from the Newberry Library collection and introduction to resources at the Newberry Library

12 July: AM the Historiography of Britain, 1650-1750 Presenter: MK Readings are here

PM The Historiography of British America 1650-1750 Presenter: TB Readings are here 

13 July AM Points of Connection: Gender and science. Lisa Cody (Claremonet McKenna College) here [added 27 June]

PM: The European Dimension Paul Cheney (Chicago) Late afternoon: Newberry Library seminar here [added 24 June]

14 July AM: Framing Devices: Space and Time Presenter TB Readings are here

PM Points of Contact: David Hancock (Michigan) on trade and political economy Readings are here

15 July AM: Points of Contact – Political Culture. Presenter: MK Readings are here

PM Points of Contact - Belief. Presenter: Evan Haefeli on toleration, witchcraft, religious diversity here [Added 13 June]

18 July AM Points of Contact AM Visual Culture and Literature. Presenter: Kevin Sharpe (London) Readings are here

PM Points of Contact: Gender and the Family. Presenter: Sarah Pearsall (Oxford Brookes) Readings are here

19 July AM Points of Contact – ‘society, community and citizens’? Presenter: Phil Withington (Cambridge). Readings are here

PM Display of items from the Newberry Library Collection; Individual Research

20 July AM Points of Divergence – Race, Native Americans and Slavery Presenter : TB and John Garrigus (Texas, Arlington) Selected readings are here

PM Student Presentations (1)

21 July AM and PM Student Presentations: (2)

22 July AM PM Student Presentations (3)

PM: The Idea of a British Empire in the Americas and conclusion – Presenters: MK and TB



 four indian kings

The true Effigies of the Four Indian Kings taken from the original paintings

after Simon Verelst, 20 April 1710
engraving, 342 x 26mm

© The British Museum

Photos from Newberry summer workshop 2011

Report - Summer workshop 2011