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Letter from the Chair

Robert Michael Morrissey

Assistant Professor of History

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Areas of Specialization

U. S Colonial


Bob Morrissey specializes in the history of early America and the Atlantic world, American frontier and borderlands history, ethnohistory, and environmental history.  He is completing a first book on the French colonists and Native peoples of the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The book is entitled, "Empire by Collaboration: Communities, Identities, and Power in the Illinois Borderlands, 1600-1785."  It will appear in the Early American Studies Series from University of Pennsylvania Press.  Before arriving at Illinois in 2011, he taught at University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and at Lake Forest College. 

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • U.S. Colonial
  • Atlantic World
  • Environmental History
  • Native American History


  • MA, M.Phil, PhD, Yale University
  • BA Carleton College, Northfield MN


  • History 570a: Problems in U.S. History to 1830
  • History 170/171: U.S. History to 1877
  • History 202: American Environmental History
  • History 370: Colonial America
  • History 371: The American Revolution
  • History 200: Natives and Newcomers in Early America


Book Contributions

  • "The Terms of Encounter: Language and Contested Visions of French Colonization in the Illinois Country, 1673-1702." French and Indians in the Heart of North America, 1630-1815. . Ed. Guillaume Teasdale and Robert Englebert. Michigan State University Press, 2013. 43-75.

  • "Ambitions: French Colonization in the Mississippi Valley." Converging Worlds: Communities and Cultures in Colonial America. . Comp. Louise Breen. Routledge, 2011. 524-552.

Journal Articles

  • "Archives of Connection: "Whole Network" Analysis and Social History." Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History (2015):
  • "Bison Algonquians: Cycles of Violence and Exploitation in the Mississippi Valley Borderlands." Early American Studies 13 (2015):
  • "Kaskaskia Social Network: Kinship and Assimilation in a French-Illinois Borderland." William and Mary Quarterly 70.1 (2013): 103-146.
  • ""I Speak It Well": Language, Cultural Understanding, and the End of a Missionary Middle Ground in Illinois Country, 1673-1712." Early American Studies 9.3 (2011): 617-648.