Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Omohundro Institute Conference Recap at The Junto

Tom Cutterham
If people are gathered to discuss early American history, someone from The Junto will be there! 

Tom Cutterham was at the annual meeting of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture at Johns Hopkins University last week and he offers a nice recap of the event.

Here is a taste:

This year’s annual meeting of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture was hosted with panache by Philip Morgan at Johns Hopkins University. It was apt that it took place in Baltimore, the birthplace of Ron Hoffman, whom the conference honoured as he steps down from a long tenure presiding over the institute. At the closing roundtable, a number of senior scholars movingly—and in some cases hilariously—recounted their experiences as Ron’s colleagues and friends, and paid tribute to his work as editor of the Carroll papers and historian of the Revolutionary war and its dissenters. Tongue firmly in cheek, Ron responded to the tribute manfully, by quoting Charles Carroll’s response to a biography of himself: what you have said, he told the biographer, makes me seem a much greater man than I ever believed, yet you have said nothing that is not absolutely true. 

I can’t, of course, give a thorough overview of the conference, because with simultaneous panels I could only attend less than half of it; so I’ll stick to my personal highlights, which of course begin with the opening plenary on Charles Beard. Indeed, what was gratifying to me about the panel—apart from the amazing opportunity to sit at the same table as Max Edling, Woody Holton, Eric Slauter, and David Waldstreicher—was the seeming consensus in the audience that Beard really is still worth talking about and remembering fondly, in spite of all his failures (not least over slavery). That we should be writing history that deals critically and publicly with matters of class and power, which is precisely the point I wanted to make, was left undisputed: leaving some of us to wonder, perhaps all the conflict has generated something of a Beardian consensus.

Read the rest here