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Jacob Lee

Jacob Lee
313 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-0184

Biography:

I am a historian of early America and the American West, focusing on colonialism and borderlands.  My current book project, tentatively-titled Rivers of Power: Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of America (under contract with Harvard University Press), combines social and environmental history to present a new view of colonialism in early America.  Rivers of Power embeds intertwined Native and imperial histories in the physical landscape of Middle America, a vast region encompassing much of the central Mississippi River valley.  In the centuries between the collapse of the ancient metropolis of Cahokia around A.D. 1300 and the rise of the U.S. empire in the early 1800s, power flowed through the kinship-based alliances and social networks that controlled travel and communication along the many rivers of the midcontinent.  Drawing on a range of English-, French-, Spanish-, and Illinois-language sources, as well as archaeology, oral history, and environmental science, this book reveals the power of personal relationships and the environment to shape the course of empires and nations.

Selected Awards and Fellowships:

Richard H. Collins Award, Kentucky Historical Society
John Carter Brown Library Associates Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Huntington Library
Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Illinois Fellowship, Newberry Library
Jacob M. Price Visiting Research Fellowship, William B. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Publication Highlights:

“Some Say He’s Dead, Some Say He Never Will Be: Mountain Men and the Frontier Hero Myth in Jeremiah Johnson and The Revenant,” in Writing History with Lightning: Representations of Nineteenth Century America on Film, ed. John C. Inscoe and Matthew C. Hulbert (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, forthcoming)

“Unionism, Emancipation, and the Origins of Kentucky’s Confederate Identity,” The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 111 (Spring 2013): 199-233.

“‘Whether It Really Be Truth or Fiction’: Colonel Reuben T. Durrett, the Filson Club, and Historical Memory in Postbellum Kentucky,” Ohio Valley History 9 (Winter 2009): 27-47.

“‘Between Two Fires’: Cassius M. Clay, Slavery, and Antislavery in the Kentucky Borderlands,” Ohio Valley History 6 (Fall 2006): 50-70.

Research Interests:

Early America, American West, Borderlands, Colonialism, Environmental History
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