Dr. Simon Middleton
Senior Lecturer in History
Colonial American social and cultural history
Office Hours: Spring 2013-14 - Tues 2pm-3pm; Weds 11am-12pm
+44 (0)114 22 22596
Jessop West 3.02
- Full list of publications
- Student course assignments and dissertations in early American history
Simon Middleton joined the History Department in 2005. He was educated at Kingston Polytechnic, Harvard University, and the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he completed a Ph.D. From 1997-2005 he taught in the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. His research interests lie in the area of early American social and cultural history. Simon has won several awards for his work including a 2001 PEASE. Prize for the best journal article in early American economic history, and the Hendricks Manuscript Award and 2007 BAAS Book Prize for, From Privileges to Rights: Work and Labor in Colonial New York.
His course offerings include a second-year seminar in early American history from the European expansion to the New World to the American Revolution (HST279), a second-year document option examining the Salem Witchcraft Trials (HST2004), and a third-year Special Subject (HST3087/88) investigating European and Indian relations in seventeenth-century north-eastern America. Simon has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, British Academy, New York State Archives, Gilder Lehrman Foundation, Library Company of Philadelphia, Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and American Philosophical Society in support of his work.
Membership of Professional Bodies
I am extending my previous research on law and economic culture in early New York to Philadelphia and the middle colonies backcountry. The project investigates how interpersonal relations founded on credit and paper money were culturally interpreted and how economic change affected these interpretations. Some early findings have appeared as “Private credit in eighteenth-century New York City: The Mayor’s Court Papers, 1681-1776,” Journal of Early American History, (August, 2012), 150-177, and “Legal change, economic culture, and imperial authority in New Amsterdam and colonial New York City,” American Journal of Legal History (January, 2013). Most recently I have been working on a chapter examining the introduction of paper money to New York, 1690-1720. Other recent research and writing projects have included investigation of political culture in New Netherland in the 1640s written up in "Order and Authority in New Netherland: The 1653 Remonstrance and Early Settlement Politics," The William and Mary Quarterly, (January, 2010). I also participated in the Leverhulme Funded project, "You, the People: National location and the writing of American history” which considered European perspectives on American history in a series of workshops and is written up, with Nicholas Barreyre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) and Manfred Berg (Heidelberg) in ‘Outsiders’ Still? Location, Audience, and the Writing of American History,” in You the People. The Internationalization of American History (University of California Press, 2014). Finally, with three others, I am writing a survey of American history under contract with Routledge.
My research to date has focused on issues raised by the intersection of daily life, political theory, and law in an urban setting in early America. To this end I published several articles and book chapters considering artisanal commerce, municipal regulation, and civic culture. My first book, From Privileges to Rights: Work and Politics in Colonial New York City(Philadelphia, 2006) examined the linkages between perceptions and representations of artisanal work and the shift in political discourse from a concentration on objective privileges to subjective rights in colonial New York City.
While completing Privileges to Rights, and in part because of the questions raised towards the end of the book concerning class formation, I collaborated with Professor Billy G. Smith of Montana State University in the organization of a conference focusing on the different meanings of class and class struggle in the early modern Atlantic World. This conference led to a second, one-day meeting, at the University of Pennsylvania (under the auspices of the McNeil Centre for Early American History), three special issues of US journals (Early American Studies, Labor, and The William and Mary Quarterly), and a collection of essays drawn from the conference, Class Matters. Early North America and the Atlantic World (Philadelphia, 2008).
Research Supervision and Teaching
I am happy to supervise research students in early American history, particularly those interested in coastal communities, religious history, political theory, the law and, in general, topics in social, political, and cultural history.
MA dissertations have included, Benjamin Franklin and the Albany Conference, 1754; Dominick LaCapra, Alexis de Tocqueville, and intellectual history; slavery and civic humanism in seventeenth-century America; women and trade in eighteenth-century New York; King William’s War, 1689-97; emotion and sensibility in eighteenth-century Philadelphia.
Current PhD Students
Kristine Tomlinson - 'Clerk, Physician, Scribe: A Biography of the Reverend Isaiah Parker MD, 1752-1848.'
Administrative Roles and Responsibilities
Simon has served as a member of many of the department's committees and has been involved in the planning of teaching and administration at all levels. As Senior Tutor for Undergraduate Admission (2006-08) he oversaw the centralization of History admissions. More recently he has served on Undergraduate Affairs Committee, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, and convened the department´s research seminar. Currently he is working in careers liaison, alumnae relations, and widen participation.
- Class Matters. Early North America and the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) edited and introduced with Billy G. Smith
- From Privileges to Rights: Work and Politics in Colonial New York City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). Winner of 2004 Hendricks Manuscript Award. Winner British Association of American Studies Annual Book Award, 2007.
Articles and Essays
- with Nicholas Barreyre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) and Manfred Berg (Heidelberg) in “‘Outsiders’ Still? Location, Audience, and the Writing of American History,” in You the People. The Internationalization of American History (University of California Press, 2014).
-“Legal change, economic culture, and imperial authority in New Amsterdam and colonial New York City,” American Journal of Legal History (January, 2013), 89-120.
-“Private credit in eighteenth-century New York City: The Mayor’s Court Papers, 1681-1776,” Journal of Early American History, (August, 2012), 150-177.
- “Rights and Liberties,” in John Demos, ed., American Centuries: The Ideas, Issues, and Trends That Made US. History (New York, 2011). Volume Two: The Seventeenth Century.
- "Order and Authority in New Netherland: The 1653 Remonstrance and Early Settlement Politics," The William and Mary Quarterly, (January, 2010), 31-68
- "The Waning of Dutch New York, 1664-1763," in Hans Krabbendam, Cornelis A. van Minnen, and Giles Scott-Smith, eds., Four Centuries of Dutch-American Relations (Amsterdam/Albany: Boom Uitgevers/State University of New York Press, 2009), 108-120.
- "'Artisans' and the 'middling sort' in Gary Nash's eighteenth-century urban America?" Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (2009), 416-423.
- "Introduction," to "Forum: Class," William and Mary Quarterly , (April, 2006), 347-372.
- 'The Idea of "Amsterdam" in New Amsterdam,' in Hans Krabbendam et al. eds., Parallel Cities: Amsterdam and New York, 1652-2002 (Amsterdam: Roosevelt Study Center, 2005).
- 'Joris Dopzen's Hog and Other Stories: Artisans and Trade Regulation in New Amsterdam,' in Joyce Goodfriend ed., Revisiting New Netherland. Perspectives on Early Dutch America (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005), 129-147.
- 'Deference and Class: A Comment on Michael Zuckerman, Gregory Nobles, and John Smolenski,' Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Fall, 2005). University of Pennsylvania Press.
- 'How it came that the bakers bake no bread: a struggle for trade privileges in seventeenth-century New Amsterdam,' The William and Mary Quarterly, (April, 2001), pp. 347-372. Winner of Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) Prize for best journal article in early American economic history, 2001.
- 'The World Beyond the Workshop: Trading in New York's Artisan Economy, 1680-1740,' New York History, (October, 2000), pp. 381-416.
- 'The Transformation of Eighteenth-Century America,' The Historical Journal, 42, 4 (1999), pp. 1147-1153.