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Hendrix History Professor Selected for Bright Institute Cohort

CONWAY, Ark. (May 9, 2018) – Dr. Jonathan Hancock, assistant professor of history at Hendrix College, has been selected as one of 14 scholars in the first cohort of the new Bright Institute at Knox College, a program for professors who teach early American history at liberal arts colleges.

For three years, participating scholars will attend a two-week, in-residence summer seminar on the Knox campus. Each year’s seminar will be co-hosted by an eminent professor of American history before 1848 and a pedagogical consultant who will help participants turn their research into incisive classroom opportunities. Lodging and expenses will be covered; in addition, each participant will receive $3,000 in research support during each year of the seminar.

Hancock is currently completing a book manuscript that considers how people sought to explain the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812 at a time when prophets and civil authorities offered competing visions of nationhood in the United States and among Native American nations. He will use the three years of research support to begin a new project on the history of American Indian communities in and around Charleston, South Carolina, from the eve of contact with Europeans through the 19th century. Drawing from archival material in South Carolina and Washington D.C., colonial newspapers, and anthropological studies, the project will focus on their historical experiences.

“Charleston was an important colonial capital in British North America, and while its centrality to the slave trade, plantation slavery, and the U.S. Civil War is well-known, the tribal communities that have remained in the South Carolina Low Country to this day have been less recognized in historical scholarship,” he said.

Hancock looks forward to the seminar’s field-specific focus.

“It’s not often that I get to discuss research and teaching with Early Americanists at other liberal arts colleges, and I am eager to exchange classroom strategies for the kinds of early American history courses that we all teach,” he says. The seminar also will emphasize ways that scholars can incorporate their own research into the undergraduate classroom.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit