Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Colonial History

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Time: 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Location: Nygreen Hall, Room 3
Description: History is not always a simple fact, rather it is a nuanced set of events and subtle interpretations that make it fascinating! Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of primary sources from the Colonial Period in America. All are welcome!

« Go back to the Schedule of Events




Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Leanna Garcia

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michaela Reaves
Colonial Media: The Road to the American "Gossip" Column

At what point did the American colonists of the 18th century become disenchanted with their mother country, England? Using the "Pennsylvania Gazette," founded in 1728, it is possible to quantify the connection of the colonial citizenry to England by monitoring the stories carried in the paper. The press served as a barometer of the views of its readers during the period of salutary neglect (1737) and at the crisis points of colonial development: the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1754, the end of the war in 1763, and the year the Revolution began in 1775. This presentation argues that foreign media coverage slowly decreased and colonial coverage increased by the beginning of the French and Indian War up through the beginning of the Revolutionary War.




Student(s):
Victoria Kodai

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michaela Reaves
The Decline of Indentured Servitude as a Labor Model in Seventeenth Century Chesapeake

For the better part of the seventeenth century indentured servitude was a major source of labor for the Chesapeake region in the British colonies, but late in the seventeenth century African slaves replaced servants as the main source of labor. This paper explores the underlying social and economic causes for the labor shift by analyzing data from port records, letters, news articles, economic data, and census data. A significant portion of servants imported to the colonies in the first half of the seventeenth century did not go willingly, but were “spirited” away. Slowly however, economic conditions in England improved and a social shift occurred in making the practice of "spiriting" socially unacceptable and/or illegal. The ensuing labor shortage served as an unwitting stimulus for the slave trade and encouraged the importation of new workers from Africa.




Student(s):
Elmira Tadayon

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michaela Reaves
Intentional Propaganda of Colonial Captivity Narratives

This paper examines the social impact of pre-revolutionary colonial captivity narratives in North America, asserting that the main function of this literary “movement” was to spread religious, political, and social propaganda throughout the colonies. Four primary texts are dissected and compared: "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" by Mary Rowlandson, "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion" by Reverend John Williams, "Captivity of Father Peter Milet, S.J. Among the Oneida Indians" by Father Peter Milet, and "Captivity of Richard Bard, esq. and His Wife, Catherine Poe Bard" by Archibald Bard. This analysis suggests that the wildly popular captivity narratives of the late 17th and early 18th centuries functioned not only as entertainment for the colonists, but as strategically motivated social, religious, and political propaganda.




Student(s):
Robert Triol

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michaela Reaves
Virginia's Colonial Witches

When the subject of colonial American witchcraft is brought up, one's mind tends to automatically recall the 176 trials that occurred during the Salem witch hunt hysteria of 1692, during which twenty people were formally executed. What many do not know is that 114 trials occurred prior to 1692, during which as many as seventeen were put to death. Significantly, none of these executions occurred in Virginia, a colony responsible for a mere six percent of the total. This research project draws partially from seventeenth century court records, nineteenth century scholarly journals, and carefully estimated population figures to highlight unique differences in the nature of the southern cases from their New England counterparts. These differences, a result of religious, demographic, and social distinctions between the two regions, serve to explain why witchcraft trials in Virginia were so rare.




Feedback Form