Department of History Dept. 3198 1000 E. University Ave Laramie, WY 82071 Phone: 307-766-5101 Fax: 307-766-5192
Professor & Director of Graduate Studies Cognitive History, Colonial Mindscapes, World History Ph.D., University of
California, Los Angeles, 1985 Email: email@example.com • 766-5142 • History Room 256
I have always been interested in the ways that people construct and interpret the world around them. That explains, in part, the fact that my initial undergraduate and graduate work was done in the field of psychology. But, it also explains the character of the courses I teach and the research and writing I do.
I teach the World History survey at the lower division level as well as upper division and graduate courses in comparative colonization and cross-cultural interchange in the first global age (roughly 1200-1800). Whether it took place in Africa, Atlantic America, Qing China, or the vast forests of Siberia, early modern colonization brought outsiders and indigenous people together in volatile and uncertain circumstances. Misunderstanding, violence, and simple incomprehension marked many of these early interchanges, but so too did trade, cultural exchange, and intermarriage. My American and world history courses explore this central relationship between indigenous people and colonizers and show how this developing relationship decisively shaped not only colonial societies, but the settler societies that developed from them. We may live in a post-colonial world, but those formative relationships continue to influence the majority of the world's people today.
I have explored the transatlantic nature of early American popular thought in a book about Philadelphia artisans (The Republic of Labor, 1993) and in articles about artisan thought and the importance of religion in the lives and thoughts of American craftsmen (Past and Present, 1990; Religion in a Revolutionary Age, 1996). My current work is in the new field of cognitive history, which uses the findings of social cognition and cognitive science to enhance our understanding of the myriad ways that people and groups thought about and interacted with each other in past times. My most recent project, Colonial Mindscapes, explores the cognitive side of colonization in the first global age. The forced and sustained encounters that accompanied colonization in this era challenged both colonizers' and indigenous peoples' ways of parsing experience, leading some to conserve their established cognitive maps and actions and others to create new ways of viewing and dealing with their newly commingled world. These cognitive rehearsals and restructurings, or mestizo logics, were an integral part of the colonial process and provided the crucial cognitive foundations of colonial social and cultural life. Without these old and new schemas, colonial life would have been impossible.
I'm always happy to discuss my courses or my work with interested students, parents, or the public at large. If you have any questions or would simply like to open a conversation, please use the email link above to contact me. You can find more information about cognition and history at my discussion site: https://sites.google.com/site/cognitionandhistory/