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Catherine Denial

Bright Distinguished Professor & Chair of American History

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Bright Institute Participants

Catherine Johnson Adams

Catherine earned her M.A. in American Studies from Michigan State University and her Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has been a member of the SUNY Geneseo faculty since 2007. Her research interests and teaching specialties are Early American History, African American History, United States Women's History, Local and Public History, and Material Culture. She is the co-author (with Elizabeth H. Pleck) of Love of Freedom: Black Women in Colonial and Revolutionary New England, Oxford University Press, (2010).

Courtney Pierre Joseph

Courtney is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Lake Forest College. Her specializations are in African American history and culture, Haiti and its diaspora, women and gender studies, and hip hop culture. Joseph earned her PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017. She has spoken at numerous institutions, including the DuSable Museum of African American History, and at various events, including the fall 2020 Chicago Humanities Festival. She is also working with the Haitian Museum of Chicago to create the first oral history archive dedicated to the Haitian diaspora in Chicago. Dr. Joseph is currently working on her first book, tentatively titled DuSable’s Diaspora: Haiti, Blackness, and Belonging in Chicago.

Christian Ayne Crouch

is Associate Professor of Historical Studies and Director of American Studies at Bard College, where she teaches American, Native American, and Atlantic history. She is the author of Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France (Cornell University Press 2014) which received the 2015 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize of the French Colonial Historical Society for the best book in French colonial history, 1600-1815. As a scholar of the Atlantic world, borderlands, and intercultural exchange, she has also written about Native American-African American exchanges and memory and family during and after the Seven Years' War. Her current book project, Queen Victoria's Captives: A Story of Ambition, Empire, and a Stolen Ethiopian Prince, looks at the human consequences of a 19th century Ethiopian-British conflict. This work also brings East African history into dialogue with Atlantic and Native American Studies and explores the impact of early modern North American imperial interactions on the era of "high" colonialism.

Lori J. Daggar

Lori is Assistant Professor of History at Ursinus College near Philadelphia. She is a scholar of early American and Native American history and the author of "The Mission Complex: Economic Development, ‘Civilization,' and Empire in the Early Republic" in the Journal of the Early Republic, 36 (Fall 2016 ). Her book manuscript in progress, Cultivating Empire: Philanthropy, Profit, and the Negotiation of American Imperialism in Indian Country, traces the development of American empire by exploring the ideas, politics, and consequences of mission work, emerging capitalism, and philanthropy in Indian Country during the early nineteenth century. Daggar's work demonstrates that historians should not understand missions and "civilizing" policies simply as tools for assimilation. Rather, it shows that missions were hinges for economic and political development that offered Native peoples an additional discourse and means to negotiate for power.

At Ursinus College, Daggar teaches courses ranging from Early American History to 1877, Native North America, American Indian Activism and Red Power, and a course on the history of Philadelphia. In the classroom, she encourages students to contemplate difficult questions of gender, race, and class by emphasizing interdisciplinary thinking, active learning strategies, and discussion.

Jonathan Hancock

Jonathan is an Associate Professor of History at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. A historian of Early America and Native North America, he is the author of Convulsed States: Earthquakes, Prophecy, and the Remaking of Early America (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), as well as work in the Journal of the Early Republic and the edited volume Warring for America: Cultural Contest in the Era of 1812. His current book project, The Indigenous Lowcountry: A 4000-Year History of Native American Communities near Charleston, takes a deep time perspective on the region’s human history to center Native American communities as they navigated environmental change, colonialism, and evolving racial regimes to maintain their place in an area where they are rarely recognized in historical scholarship and public history efforts. At Hendrix College, he teaches courses in Native North America, colonial North America, the early U.S. republic, environmental history, and race and historical inquiry over time at Hendrix.

Michael Hughes

Michael currently teaches early American history at Augustana College. Recently joining the faculty, he has taught courses on the Revolutionary era and Native American history and surveys on early American history. His research interests include Native American and legal history, as well as histories of race and empire. His current work investigates the process of empire building in the continental interior during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He looks at the formation of indigenous political alliances at a time when British and American traders and government agents sought greater political, legal, and economic control. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016.

Carl Robert Keyes

Carl is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Women's Studies Program at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is in the process of revising Advertising in Early America: Marketing Media and Messages in the Eighteenth Century. His chapter on advertising in America before the Civil War will appear in the forthcoming U.S. Popular Print Culture to 1860, the fifth volume of The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture.

Keyes publishes two digital humanities projects devoted to the history of advertising. The Adverts 250 Project, a daily research blog, examines an advertisement published in an American newspaper 250 years ago that day. The Slavery Adverts 250 Project republishes every advertisement for slaves published in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago that day.

Keyes has received fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. In 2015 he was elected to membership of the American Antiquarian Society. Keyes earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from The American University in Washington, DC, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Angela Keysor

Angela is an Assistant Professor of History at Allegheny College where her teaching and research focus on the histories of race, gender and healthcare in colonial and revolutionary-era New England. Currently, she is working on a manuscript entitled, Community Health Care Before the Rise of the Welfare State: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1730-1820. Her project focuses on the changing healthcare networks and care institutions of eighteenth-century Massachusetts and the roles that needy women, African-Americans and the laboring poor inhabited within care relationships. Angela received a B.A. in History from The Ohio State University, a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the University of Iowa. 

When she is not focused on the lives of others in early American history, Angela's energies are centered on making her own histories with her family—her husband Brian and her daughter Olive.

Will B. Mackintosh

Will is Associate Professor of History at the University of Mary Washington, where he teaches and writes about early American history, cultural and intellectual history, the history of travel and tourism, the history of the book, and the history of capitalism. He is the author of Selling the Sights: The Invention of the Tourist in American Culture (NYU Press, 2018), and is currently working on The Loomises of Central New York: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of a Gang and Their Region. He is also editor of The Panorama. For more information, please visit his website.

Tamika Nunley

Tamika was recently promoted to Associate Professor of American History at Oberlin College and Conservatory.  Her research and teaching interests include slavery, gender, nineteenth-century legal history, digital history, and the American Civil War.  At Oberlin, she created the History Design Lab which allows students to develop scholarly projects that involve methodological approaches such as digital humanities, public history, creative nonfiction, and curatorial practices. Her book, At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. (UNC, 2021) examines African American women’s strategies of self-definition in the contexts of slavery, fugitivity, courts, schools, streets, and the government during the Civil War era. She has published articles and reviews in the Journal of Southern History, The William and Mary Quarterly, the Journal of American Legal History and the Journal of the Civil War Era. In addition to being a lifetime member of the Association of Black Women Historians, she serves on the editorial board of Civil War History, and on committees for the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Southern Historical Association. She is currently completing a second book, The Demands of Justice: Enslaved Women, Capital Crime, and Clemency in Early Virginia, 1705-1865, with the University of North Carolina Press. Her work has been supported by the Andrew Mellon and Woodrow Wilson foundations as well as the American Association of University Women. After this spring, Tamika will join the faculty in the history department of Cornell University.

Monica Rico

Monica is a Professor of History at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she also teaches in the environmental studies program. She is the author of Nature’s Noblemen: Transatlantic Masculinities and the Nineteenth-Century American West (Yale, 2013) and numerous articles. She is the recent recipient of fellowships from the American Philosophical Society and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, in addition to multiple awards for community service and, in 2014, the Lawrence Faculty Prize for Excellence in Research. She is currently working on two projects: the first is a study of the greenhouse in the eighteenth-century Anglo-American world and the second studies the Peale family of inventors and artists in the early republic. She sits on the board of the Outagamie County Historical Society and KidsGive Sierra Leone. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she received her Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley and lives in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Bryan Rindfleisch

Bryan is an Assistant Professor of History at Marquette University, where he teaches courses on Native American and Early American history. He is the author of George Galphin's Intimate Empire: The Creek Indians, Family, and Colonialism in Early America (UAlabama, 2019) and the forthcoming Brothers of Coweta: Kinship, Empire, and Revolution in the Eighteenth-Century Muscogee World (USouth Carolina, 2021). His work has also been featured in the Journal of Southern History, Early American Studies, Ethnohistory, Native South, The American Historian, among others.

In addition to a third project on Creek (Muscogee)-Cherokee relationships in early America, Bryan is currently developing the "Indigenize Milwaukee" project, in collaboration with Indigenous students, alumni, and community members, to visually and digitally reconstruction the Indigenous presence - in the past and present - in and around the greater Milwaukee area.

Douglas C. Sackman

Douglas (B.A. Reed College, Ph.D. UC Irvine) is a Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden, Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America, and the editor of A Companion to American Environmental History. He is currently working on two book projects: American Panorama: Rediscovering the History of the North American West, which aims to paint a new, broad history of the West, at once sweeping and intimate, beginning in the deep past of the region, and Pacific World Passages: Trafficking Nature & Culture across the Waterways of the Pacific Ocean, an exploration of nature, transpacific exchange, and the making of a Pacific World in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, focusing on the trade in otters, whales, and trees. His teaching and research areas include the history of the North American West, environmental history, and Native American history. Recent public lectures include ones on art and the North American West at the Tacoma Art Museum and the California Gold Rush for the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle.

Bridgett Williams-Searle

Bridgett is an Associate Professor of History and Department Chair of the History and Political Science Department at the College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, her M.A. from Youngstown State University, and her B.A. from Hiram College. Her research and teaching interests include colonial and revolutionary U.S. history, constitutional development and state formation in the American interior, indigenous history of the Americas, and race, sexuality, and households in the construction of imperial legalities. Her current research project examines the dynamic, contingent, and reciprocal relationship between individuals, households, and the state in lands north of the Ohio River and east of the Wabash River during an era of sustained imperial flux, 1760-1830. She plans to rethink the ways in which households and the bodies within them negotiated this extraordinarily fluid society at the edge of multiple intersecting imperial legalities (French, British, and American). While it's definitely a history from the bottom up, it is even more so a history from the center out—placing reproductive and coerced labor of households in the North American interior at the center of her interpretation of the rising American state.

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Printed on Wednesday, October 27, 2021