Virginia 1789Massachusetts wharfThomas Jefferson

About the EAS


The Early American Seminar, convened jointly by the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, brings together Charlottesville-area scholars studying the broadly defined early American period to share new research and workshop academic papers, articles, and dissertation chapters. The core function of the Early American Seminar is to facilitate regular seminars where both members and visiting scholars present scholarly work in a comfortable and collegial yet rigorous setting. These meetings center around a precirculated paper about which seminar members discuss key themes and provide feedback to the authors. The Early American Seminar also aims to link its members to visiting scholars and upcoming events in early American history in central Virginia.

We welcome contributions from a wide variety of academic interests and disciplines; although the majority of our presentations come from historians, we count among our numbers scholars of architectural history and English and French literature, among others. The cooperation between the University of Virginia and the International Center for Jefferson Studies, moreover, fosters an environment to bring together faculty and graduate students from the university with scholars and staff from Monticello.

We also define "early America" in the most capacious way possible, to incorporate the historiographical field of the Atlantic World and to bring into conversation scholars studying the early modern period in the Atlantic, the early colonization of the Americas, the age of Atlantic Revolutions, and the history of the United States to 1877. Our group includes scholars of early modern Britain, Latin America, and the American Civil War, as well as scholars focusing on Thomas Jefferson or the American revolutionary period. Past presenters have offered papers on topics as diverse as traders in the French Great Lakes in the eighteenth century, the background in Scotland of colonial American law professors, and the ambitions of the Confederate States of America to annex Caribbean territories during the 1860s.

The Early American Seminar is convened by the following faculty and senior scholars from the University of Virginia and Monticello (in alphabetical order):

S. Max Edelson

Associate Professor of History, University of Virginia


Peter S. Onuf

Senior Research Fellow, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Virginia


Andrew O'Shaughnessy

Saunders Director, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Professor of History, University of Virginia


Alan Taylor

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History, University of Virginia