The First Frontier: Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania in Early America

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeastern Modern Language Association

Since the 1939 publication of Perry Miller’s classic The New England Mind early Americanists have acknowledged the fundamental role New English Puritanism played in the subsequent development of American culture. Scholars like Edmund Morgan, Sacvan Bercovitch, Andrew Delbanco and many others have placed New England at the center of the development of American identity. Yet in the past generation, other scholars have broadened an understanding of regionalism in the construction of American nationhood, with many focusing on the polyglot, multiethnic and religiously non-conformist colonies of New York, New Jersey, and especially Pennsylvania. This panel asks for papers that help to recontextualize the central role that the middle colonies, and in particular Pennsylvania's far western frontier, held in the future development of American culture. How did the Mid-Atlantic contribute to later understandings of religious pluralism and multiculturalism? Potential topics could include Mid-Atlantic religious literature, including discussions of the Society of Friends, Moravians, German pietism, Dutch Reformed churches, Anabaptists including the Brethren as well as the Amish and Mennonites, as well as smaller sects including the Ephrata colonists and the Society of the Women in the Wilderness, and general religious culture from the first to the second Great Awakenings. Other papers could examine the culture and literature of European colonialism in the Mid-Atlantic from the English, Dutch, and Swedish, as well as interactions with native populations including the Lenape and the Iroquois, racial conflicts such as those involving the Paxton Boys or Pontiac’s siege on Fort Pitt, German Pennsylvanians, Huguenot immigration to Pennsylvania and Delaware, Presbyterian immigration on the western frontier, linguistic diversity in the Mid-Atlantic, military history including the Seven Years War and the Revolutionary War, as well as Mid-Atlantic writers including Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Benjamin Banneker, and Francis Daniel Pastorius among others.

Please simulaneously submit abstracts to both Ed Simon, associate editor of The Marginalia Review of Books (ed.simon@themarginaliareview.com), as well as through the Northeastern Modern Language Association's online submission form.