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John Smolenski

John Smolenski

Associate Professor

History Department
One Shields Ave
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

Davis , Ca 95616
Office Phone: (530) 302-5385


  • PhD, History, University of Pennsylvania 2001
  • MS, Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania 1999
  • MA, History,Yale University 1995
  • BA, History Yale University 1995


Curriculum Vitae

Associate Professor of History, University of California, Davis, 2010-present
Member, Graduate Group for the Study of Religion, University of California, Davis, 2011-present
Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Davis, 2001-2010


Raised and educated on the east coast, I have been a committed Californian since I started at UC Davis in 2001. My first book, based on my 2001 Ph.D. dissertation from the University of Pennsylvania, traced the creation of a creole culture among Quakers during Pennsylvania's first five decades. My current book project explores similar questions of cultural transformation and power, on a different scale. My current book project, tentatively titled "Rethinking Creolization: Culture and Power in the Atlantic World," traces the historiography of creolization as an analytical tool among twentieth-century scholars and the history of creolization as a cultural process during the early modern colonial period. I have also written previously on gender, politics and the public sphere, and comparative colonization in the Americas.


Research Interests

Early American history (to 1820), with particular interests in religion, culture, and the history of slavery; History of the Atlantic world (to 1820).

Selected Publications


F&S Book Cover

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Embodied Politics: The Paxton Uprising and the Gendering of Civic Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania,” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14 (2016): 377-407

“Murder on the Margins: The Paxton Massacre and the Remaking of Sovereignty in Colonial Pennsylvania,” Journal of Early Modern History 19 (2015): 513-38

“Violence,” in The Atlantic World, ed. D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonrd, andWilliam O’Reilly (Routledge: 2014), 245-63

"Quakers," in Trevor Burnard, ed., Oxford Bibliographies Online:  Atlantic History (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2012)

"Cities, Towns, and Settlements," in John Demos, ed., American Centuries: The Ideas, Issues, and Values That Shaped U.S. History, Volume 2: The Seventeenth Century (Facts on File, 2011), 35-42.

"Becoming Americans: Revisiting Identity and Assimilation in the Colonial Period," Reviews in American History 33 (2005), 29-40 

"From Men of Property to Just Men: Deference, Masculinity, and the Evolution of Political Discourse in Early America," Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 3 (2005), 37-81 

“The Death of Sawantaeny and the Problem of Justice on the Frontier,” in Daniel K. Richter and William Pencak, eds., Friends and Enemies in Penn’s Woods: Indians, Colonists, and the Racial Construction of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), 104-35 

“Incorporated…Into a Body Politic”: Clubs, Print, and the Gendering of the Civic Subject in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania,” in Sharon Harris and Mark Kamrath, eds., Periodical Literature in Eighteenth-Century America (University of Tennessee, 2004), 47-73

"Hearing Voices: Microhistory, Dialogicality and the Recovery of Popular Culture on an Eighteenth-Century Virginia Plantation," Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies 24 (2003):1-23

Course History

Undergraduate Lectures: History 17A: History of the United States to 1877 History 170A: Colonial America History 170B: Revolutionary America History 181: History of Religion in the United States to 1890 Undergraduate Seminars: 102K: Religion and Culture in Early America 102K: Law, Culture, and Society in Early America 102K: Biography and Early American History Graduate Seminars: History 201J: Colonial America History 202H: The Americas in Atlantic Context

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