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Fellow (1 September 1997 - 30 June 1998)
During my stay at NIAS I prepared half a dozen papers for publication, on topics ranging from (a denial of) deference in early American society to the question of American exceptionalism, from (a denial of) the formation of national identity in the first decades after American independence to the topic of early American regionalism. I also gave a dozen lectures, on these subjects and such others as family life in the early American South and recent trends in American historiography, variously in the U.S.A., the Netherlands, England, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Israel.
But more than that, I revelled in the blessing that NIAS affords of unimpeded time for 'extraneous' reading. I enjoyed a month-long busman's holiday, catching up on the literature of the last two decades on early modern English social history. In the end, all that reading eventuated in just a few extra pages in a piece that was otherwise ready for publication, but the paradoxical peace of mind and excitement of that month will stay with me for a long time. I also enjoyed an extended stretch of reading in the recent theoretical literature in postmodern geography for a piece I am preparing on early American regionalism. Fittingly, I was steered toward this literature by a TRIS Fellow from Poland.
Perhaps most important of all, I worked with Willem Koops to organise the international conference of the theme group on "Historical Developmental Psychology", "Are we at the end of the century of the child?", and I offered a paper there, providing the concluding conference summary. I also worked with Willem Koops as co-convenor of the group's session at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, in Bern, Switzerland, and I delivered the concluding comment on that session. Willem and I have also begun editing the book which will be based on the papers presented at the NIAS conference.
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