Guest Post: Kate Dupuis on Attending our Conference

Inspired and Impassioned: A Student’s Review of our “17th Century” Conference

As a product of the social media generation, it’s not unusual that I heard about the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center’s 17th Century Warfare, Diplomacy, & Society in the American Northeast Academic Conference through Twitter (#mpwarcon). 

As the first conference I’ve ever attended, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the museum.  I didn’t expect to meet scholars from all across the United States and the world, I didn’t expect to learn as much from conference goers and commentators, as I did from the presentations themselves, and I certainly didn’t expect to be inspired and impassioned by my experience. 

Presentation topics ranged from David Powers’ (Independent Scholar) biographical analysis of William Pynchon to Rebecca Shrum’s (Indiana University-Purdue University) study of the language and use of mirrors, and literally every topic in between.  We learned about masculinity and the ritual of passing power through Wyandanch’s Gun; and I could connect what John Strong and Brian Carroll discussed to what I’ve learned in class about cross-culture contact.  Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Cultural Center and Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah) passionately described her peoples’ relationship with the land; a familial relationship based on reciprocity and responsibility.  Joanne Jahnke Wegner (University of Minnesota) used the narrative of King Philip’s unnamed son to explore the realities of the enslavement of Native Americans.  Evan Haefeli (Columbia University) taught us about gender language and imagery in the Delawares’ diplomatic relationships with other tribes, and Christine DeLucia’s (Mount Holyoke College) journey to the current monuments and memorials of Colonial America opened our eyes to the misconceptions and stereotypes that exist still in New England.

Each presentation opened a world of knowledge and exploration; the obvious passion of the speakers brought history, sociology, philosophy, Native American studies, and anthropology to life.

Two comments from Native American attendees come to mind immediately.  An older man, the second day, made a comment about how he attended the conference to remind us that history is the personal experience of very real people, people who are family of Native Americans today, not just facts to be analyzed.  And a young man, the first day, took the microphone to say four powerful words: “We are still here.” 

A true meeting of minds, this conference encompassed everything I love about academia:  intriguing research, personal narratives, collaboration and discussion, and contemporary application. I must, again, thank the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center and all of the conference organizers for such a unique and exciting experience.



About Kate Dupuis 

Kate Dupuis is an undergraduate student of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and a technical documentation intern at eClinicalWorks.   Originally from Massachusetts, she is a bibliophile who is committed to the pursuit of knowledge, and is eternally grateful to her parents for their seemingly boundless support and patience.  She runs a blog and Twitter account, CT AnthroGirl (@AnthroKAD), where she writes about local history and anthropology.  She lives with two fabulous roommates, without whom, her life would be dull and keyless.