SUNY New Paltz

L. H. ROPER

PROFESSOR OF HISTORY

CO-GENERAL EDITOR, THE JOURNAL OF EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY
AND
THE AMERICAN COLONIES, 1500-1830 (BOOK SERIES)
(PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION)

Department of History

JFT 620
600 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, New York 12561-2440
Phone: (1845) 257 3542
Fax: (1845) 257 2735
E-Mail Address: roperl@newpaltz.edu



‘In action’ conducting research in the Medieval and Early Modern Reading Room at the National Archives of Great Britain (formerly, the Public Record Office) in Kew, Richmond (photo courtesy of Joyce Hoad)

OFFICE HOURS SPRING 2014 (EFFECTIVE 21 JANUARY  THROUGH 6 MAY)

            T   2.00 pm - 4.00 pm

            R   12.00 pm - 2.00 pm (and by appointment)

PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS

            I have taught full time at New Paltz since the Fall term of 1994 I am interested primarily in the creation and development of early American societies and the expansion of early modern European trading and colonization interests, as well as the history of the Americas and the British Isles between circa 1450 and 1815 in general.  Thus, I customarily teach United States History to 1865 (HIS221) and I will do so again in the Spring term of 2014.  This Spring will offer ‘Age of Discovery’—a 'Writing Intensive' course on interaction between European and non-European peoples between c.1415 and c.1780, HIS470) along with US History to 1865 and my first-year preceptorial, American Heroes, for General Education (NOT for History majors). For further information on my courses, please contact me via e-mail. 

            

            All of my upper-division courses incorporate, with appropriate degrees of emphasis, material that deals with interaction between peoples, as well as political and social history and the consequences of those interactions, such as slavery as it existed in the Atlantic World between 1492 (Columbus’ arrival in the ‘New World’) and 1888 (emancipation of slaves in Brasil). I received my Ph.D. (History) from the University of Rochester (NY) in 1992 and am qualified to teach the entirety of United States History, American Indian history, plantation societies in the  Americas, and the history of early modern Britain and Ireland (1485-1837).
 
            My research, which naturally dovetails with my teaching, investigates the formation of the English Empire (British after the Union of England and  Scotland in 1707)
. I try to comprehend this subject in a transatlantic sense rather than from an ‘American’ or ‘imperial’ perspective. I am also very much interested in the character of colonial American societies and their connections with the wider world, in early modern Europe and in the expansion of European interests after 1400 and the effects thereof, and in historiography (especially of the United States).


            I have published two books and co-edited a third.  My first book, Conceiving Carolina:  Proprietors, Planters, and Plots, 1662-1729 (New York and Houndmills, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), offers the first systematic treatment of the early history of South Carolina in over a century. Based on extensive archival work in Great Britain and in South Carolina, as well as on the printed primary sources from the period, my investigation determined, inter alia, that the degree of West Indian socio-political influence on Carolina, has been exaggerated and, correspondingly, a Caribbean-style society did not develop naturally or inevitably on this part of the North American mainland.  Rather, colonial South Carolina experienced relatively typical political behavior for its time and place.

            My interest in early South Carolina led me to a closer study of the history of slavery in the Atlantic World.  While conducting research at the Bodleain Library (University of Oxford) during my sabbatical in the Spring of 2004, I found the text of one of the province's early statutes on slavery that had been missing for some three centuries.  My transcription of this document, accompanied by my analysis of its significance, 'The 1701 "Act for the Better Ordering of Slaves":  Reconsidering the History of Slavery in Proprietary South Carolina',  appeared in the April 2007 number of the William and Mary Quarterly.  http://www.wm.edu/oieahc/wmq/index.htm .


            The Carolina project also led to a more wide-ranging project entailing a collection of essays which I co-edited, with Professor Bertrand Van Ruymbeke of  Université de Paris VIII-St Denis—Constructing Early Modern Empires:  Proprietary Ventures in the Atlantic World, 1500-1750—which was published in March 2007 with  Brill Academic Publishers.  This volume reassesses the phenomenon of proprietorships—and, by extension, the transplantation of ‘Old World’ values and practices to the ‘New World’—in the Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish Empires. It takes a comparative approach and provide analyses of colonial development from Quebec/New France to Brasil and from the English West Indies to the Illinois country. The contributors come from England and the Netherlands, as well as from this country and from France.


            While finishing my book on South Carolina, I started a second book project that investigates the history of the English Empire between the resumption of English exploration of the North American coast in 1602 and the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658.  I  moved backward chronologically about a half-century from my Carolina work to begin an examination into the organization, motives, and activities of the Virginia Companies of London and Plymouth (both chartered by King James I in 1606) and the world in which these concerns and their contemporary entities were conceived and developed: The English Empire in America, 1602-1658: Beyond Jamestown (London: Pickerning & Chatto, 2009), http://www.pickeringchatto.com.    

            Of course, scholars have spilled a lot of ink on this subject already, but almost all of it has gone either towards explaining the settlement of the Chesapeake region (with an eye, consciously or otherwise, on the origins of the United States--in 1783) or, to a lesser degree, on charting the expansion of England. I plan to carefully reconsider the context in which Jamestown, Massachusetts Bay, and other colonies were founded (in the period from 1605-41), just as I tried to do for South Carolina; to see who was involved (and who was not) and to determine what English people thought about reality, including colonization and overseas trade, at the turn of the seventeenth century. When we understand the views and behavior of this time, as well as the record permits us, then we can better understand the consequences it generated, including American settlements and an English Empire (British after the Union with Scotland in 1707).  I presented a further consideration of these issues at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in March 2010 and at the Atlantic History Workshop at New York University last October which became an article that came out in August of 2011 in The Journal of Early American History.

            My newest project considers the English takeover of New Netherland and the renaming of that Dutch colony as New York (1664-1674) from imperial and colonial perspectives.  The first fruits of this project, drawn from research I undertook at The National Archives, Kew, and at the British Library has just been accepted for publication in The New England Quarterly.

STUDY ABROAD IN SCOTLAND

                      I serve as liaison for the Study Abroad program for  New Paltz (and other SUNY) students to study in Scotland at the University of Dundee.  Our students who have studied there have had wonderful experiences invariably.  The campus is adjacent to the city center and its neighborhood reflects its predominantly student population.  The university's  staff are highly professional and very keen to make overseas students feel welcome.  Dundee, Scotland's fourth largest city with a population of some 100,000 people, is about ninety minutes by train from Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, and is located close to the foothills of the Highlands and midway (about             75 minutes) between Edinburgh, the nation's capital and cultural center, and Aberdeen, Scotland's third largest city with its own attractions.  It has regular transport                 connections to London, Ireland,and to the the continent.  For further information, please e-mail me and/or visit the University of Dundee site,  http://www.dundee.ac.uk/


QUICK AND DIRTY GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE PROSE FOR ALL STUDENTS


QUICK AND DIRTY GUIDE TO RESEARCHING AND WRITING HISTORY




JOURNAL OF EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY AND THE AMERICAN COLONIES, 1500-1830 (BOOK SERIES)

    I also serve as one of the co-general editors, with Dr Jaap Jacobs and Dr Bertrand Van Ruymbeke of The Journal of Early American History, and a related book series, The American Colonies, 1500-1830, which are published by Brill Academic Publishers of Leiden, the Netherlands.  I would like to invite authors with appropriate manuscripts (both book and article-length) to submit their work to these venues.  For articles, please use our electronic 'Editorial Manager' site, http://www.editorialmanager.com/jeah/.  For further information, please visit http://www.brill.nl/jeah.  Prospective authors should feel free to ask me any questions that they may have.  The first issue of the journal appeared in April 2011.

OTHER WEBSITES OF INTEREST