The World Turned Upside-Down: The State of Eighteenth-Century American Studies at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

The World Turned Upside-Down: The State of Eighteenth-Century American Studies at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

The World Turned Upside-Down: The State of Eighteenth-Century American Studies at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

The World Turned Upside-Down: The State of Eighteenth-Century American Studies at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

This book is based on a series of Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute lectures presented at Lehigh University from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. This collection of essays examines how the study of colonial American history has developed and where studies of American history may be heading in the new century.

Excerpt

The present volume is a product of a larger project of the council of the Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Lehigh University to make available the papers that have been presented at the Institute’s yearly symposia. in the early 1990s, when I was the codirector of the Gipson Institute, we decided to supplement the publication of Virtue, Corruption, and Self-interest: Political Values in the Eighteenth Century, edited by Richard K. Matthews, which was the product of two symposia, with two other books. One of these was designed to bring together the best of the papers that had been presented in the three decades of the Institute’s existence, since they were not easily available to scholars and thus represented some of the unknown work of some of the leading historians and literary scholars of the eighteenth century. While the initial plan was altered in the process of collecting, choosing and publishing this group of essays, Revisioning the British Empire in the Eighteenth Century: Essays from Twenty-five Years of the Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute for Eighteenth-Century Studies eventually appeared in 1998 and included just essays pertaining to the British empire.

At my urging, the council decided to devote three years’ symposia, and several occasional lectures given during these years, to the consideration of the state of the study of early America, with the primary focus being on British North America in the eighteenth century. While the essays in this book do not cover all of the possible subjects in an expanding and vibrant field, they generally fulfill our initial goal, and taken with the other volumes that the Institute and Lehigh University Press have published, give some indication of just how successful the Gipson Institute has become at encouraging the study of the eighteenth century, and achieving the promise that Larry Leder, the first Institute director, envisioned in the early 1970s.

William G. Shade Bethlehem, Pennsylvania . . .

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