Early-American History

About the Program


The course of study in Colonial, Revolutionary-era, and Early National American history, c. 1492-1820, is designed to provide a comprehensive foundation for research and teaching. It is also intended to be sufficiently flexible for specialization in one of a variety of ways that best suits a student's needs and interests. In our program, you may pursue the study of Early America as part of a concentration in American history or in the history of Early Modern Europe. Most graduate programs at other universities offer only one or the other, but not both options.

Whichever focus you choose, the core component of your graduate study will be with the faculty in Early American history: Paul G. E. Clemens, James Delbourgo, Jan. E. Lewis, Peter Silver, and Camilla Townsend. You are also encouraged to work with our faculty in Early Modern Europe: Rudy Bell, Alastair Bellany,  and Jennifer Jones; as well as with Early American and Early Modern specialists in other departments, such as Emily Bartels and Christopher Iannini in English, and in History at Rutgers-Camden, Andrew Shankman.

As a student in the Early American history program, you will take the introductory reading course: PDR I: North America from the Era of European Expansion to the United States, 16th-18th Centuries. You will also take at least one writing seminar and three additional courses in either American history, early American literature (in the English department) or Early Modern European history. You will also define a minor field and take two courses in that historical concentration. Some possible minor fields in related areas include, but are not limited to, Comparative and Global History, History of the Atlantic Cultures and African Diaspora,  Colonial Latin American History, and American and/or English literature of the eighteenth century.