Why the Pilgrims and Puritans?

Why the Pilgrims and Puritans?

Why the Pilgrims and Puritans?

Now that I’m explaining this project to friends and colleagues, I find they’re often a little puzzled.  Many think that I’m researching the actual Pilgrims and Puritans, but I’m mostly interested in what happened to their story after they were long gone. But I still get some questions, mostly about why this project is relevant in 2017. Originally, I was fascinated by all the ways that literature got the facts wrong. Then I was intrigued by the ways history borrowed from literature. Then I started to see all of those texts as very closely related, as a process of representation

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Ethics and issues

“How to revive Massachusetts’ first language,” an article about the Wampanoag Nation’s efforts to “resurrect” their native language,  appeared in the Boston Globe a few days ago. It’s a fascinating look at their dedicated efforts over the last few decades. One line in particular stood out to me: “What happened to Wampanoag was an act of violence, a cruel chapter of Massachusetts history that is rarely discussed.” That violence included genocide. When I teach Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, many of my students have never heard of King Philip’s War, which raged from 1675-8. We don’t know the true death toll,

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How I discovered Jane Goodwin Austin and the Pilgrims

How I discovered Jane Goodwin Austin and the Pilgrims

People often ask me how I came across Jane Goodwin Austin and why a Southern-ish Atlantan reads novels about the Pilgrims and Puritans. This post gives the background on this seven-year process. In the summer of 2010, I was lucky enough to participate in a week-long workshop for college faculty in Plymouth, Massachusetts, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Community College Humanities Association. We spent a week listening to scholars discuss various topics, such as the relationship between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims and the intricacies of Calvinist theology, and we toured sites such as

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