February 16, 2017

Prestigious academic journal publishes research by two history professors

Dr. Adrian C. Weimer teaching a Liberal Arts Honors Program seminar in the Ruane Center for the Humanities.

BY VICKI-ANN DOWNING

The William and Mary Quarterly, the leading academic journal of early American history and culture, includes in its January issue articles from two Providence College history professors, Dr. Edward E. Andrews ’01 and Dr. Adrian C. Weimer.

“Faculty from Providence College publish in prestigious journals all the time, but it’s unusual to have two professors published in the same journal at the same time,” said Andrews. “It’s great for the Department of History and Classics, and it shows the College’s dedication to scholarship.”

The William & Mary Quarterly is considered the most selective journal of early American history. It accepts only 8-10 percent of articles submitted for publication, and articles are subject to five double-blind peer reviews — meaning the reviewer does not know the identity of the author, and the author does not know the identity of the reviewer.

Andrews and Weimer, both associate professors, were hired to teach at PC in 2011, and their offices are side by side in the Ruane Center for the Humanities. They are among 150 new, full-time, tenure-track faculty, dedicated to research and scholarship, hired by the College since 2005.

Andrews wrote about Tranquebar, a Danish colonial outpost on the Bay of Bengal in India, which was supported by Protestant missionaries from America and England in the 1700s and became an example of the missionaries’ vision for global evangelization.

He discovered Tranquebar while doing research for his doctoral dissertation, which he later published as a book, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013).

“People have known about Tranquebar, but people studying early American history generally don’t know about it,” said Andrews. “One of the main characters in the story was Henry Newman from Rehoboth, Mass., just a short distance from Providence. Small villages in Massachusetts were tied to a global phenomenon.”

Dr. Edward E. Andrews ’01, shown with students in his office, examines an antique newspaper reporting on the slave trade.

Andrews decided the subject was worthy of further research. With help from Dr. Kris A. Monahan, the College’s director of sponsored research, Andrews received a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to spend two months at the University of Cambridge in England in summer 2013. The result was his article, “Tranquebar: Charting the Protestant International in the British Atlantic and Beyond.”

Weimer wrote about Elizabeth Hooton, an outspoken Quaker preacher who traveled extensively in the mid-17th century in England and the American colonies engaging in “savvy political activity as well as zealous prophecy.” Hooton’s experiences highlight the tension between religious fervor and political stability in colonies with competing visions of the common good, Weimer said.

Weimer learned about Hooton while doing research for the book she is writing about early New England political culture under King Charles II. She received grants for her research from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Summer Scholars program of PC’s School of Arts & Sciences.

“I was fascinated by this Quaker woman who travels all over the colonies and gets involved in local politics, and whose story is not well known,” said Weimer. Her article is titled “Elizabeth Hooton and the Lived Politics of Toleration in Massachusetts Bay.”

Andrews and Weimer both teach in the Development of Western Civilization Program, PC’s signature academic program. Weimer also partners with Dr. Holly Taylor Coolman, associate professor of theology, in a DWC colloquium for second-semester sophomores, Religious Freedom and its Limits: Historical Roots and Contemporary Questions.

“The best part of teaching at Providence College is that we have a such a supportive faculty,” said Weimer. “There are terrific conversation partners in my field, such as Ted Andrews. We have several early American history experts in our department, and people working in the early modern era in theology and English, too.”

Weimer, who grew up in Tampa, Fla., received a doctorate in American religious history from Harvard University in 2008, a master’s degree in church history from Gordon-Cornwall Theological Seminary in 2002, and a bachelor’s degree in English and religion from Wake Forest University in 1999.

Undergraduate history students also engage in research. Weimer is mentoring two students in independent research projects. Elizabeth Petretti ’17 (Wyckoff, N.J.) is researching how women who served in military roles in the American Revolution were viewed in the 19th and 20th centuries, while Mackenzie Tor ’17 (Franklin, Mass.) is researching the American temperance movement.

Andrews is mentoring Riley Maloney ’17 (Ashby, Mass.), who is researching Loyalists who left the colonies during the American Revolution to form their own settlements in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The students will present the results in March at the department’s Rev. Cornelius P. Forster, O.P.​​​ Making History Conference.

Andrews, who is from Laconia, N.H., studied history as an undergraduate at PC, where he was in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. His uncle, Dr. Stephen W. Schultz ’62, was a mathematics professor at the College. Andrews received a master’s degree from The American University in 2003 and a doctorate in early American history from the University of New Hampshire in 2009.

“In graduate school, I always said I wanted to teach at a place like PC, but I never thought I would actually be a professor at PC,” Andrews said.

His research now is focused on the history of slavery and religion in Newport, R.I.

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