Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt, Yale University
Andrew W. Mellon Early American Literature and Material Texts Dissertation Fellow andMCEAS Consortium Fellow
My dissertation examines eighteenth-century imperial competition for the American Interior, and maps the development of communications infrastructure over the long Seven Years’ War. My research traces four major powers at the heart of the eastern continent: the French, British, and Iroquois Empires, and the Cherokee Confederacy. I argue that conflict for this region was a contest incited by, fought over, and waged through communication—and the “victor” was that empire best able to obtain, create, circulate, mold, and negotiate not only information and opinion, but also the physical transportation channels through which information was carried. From Kaskaskia and Keowee, to New York and New Orleans, to London and La Rochelle, my work reconstructs how state-centered and extra-governmental networks together knit North America into a larger web of circulation and exchange.