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Matt Cohen
University of Nebraska (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Thinking across Cultures in Early America

A book-length study of the language of early American cross-cultural interactions.

This book's goal is to revitalize the discussion of inter-cultural relations in early American studies. Much of the most influential scholarship in interdisciplinary colonial studies tries not just to illuminate the past but to provide a new imagination of a shared future among all the descendants of the colonial world. Yet an outdated vocabulary of cultural interchange hinders the field, which has struggled to attract Native American and African American scholars in significant numbers. This lexicon has also kept its work from being taken up in other fields. In five short chapters drawing on both major texts and archival sources, this book traces where terms like "reciprocity," "understanding," "piety," and others came from and how they have evolved from the ways they were used in early colonial contexts. It also looks forward, showing how re-assessing such terms can help students of early America speak to broader questions and bring more diverse voices into the field.

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; Native American Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017