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History

Brian D. Carroll

Associate Professor of History

A social and cultural historian or early America, Brian Carroll was born in Boston and grew up in southern New Hampshire. He has worked in museums, as a professional researcher and writer, and has taught history at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels. Upon earning a B.A. in history and theater he was employed as a stage actor before working for a number of museums and historical societies in New England. After teaching history at The Landmark School, in Massachusetts, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2009. He taught at Salem State University, in Salem, Massachusetts, before accepting a position at Central Washington University.

Professor Carroll's articles and book reviews have been published in The William & Mary Quarterly, Early American Studies, Ethnohistory, The New England Quarterly, The Huntington Library Quarterly, and Connecticut History Review, and he has presented papers at conferences sponsored by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Society for Ethnohistory, and the Society of Early Americanists. His scholarship has been supported financially by the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard University's Countway Library of Medicine, the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, the American Antiquarian Society, The Huntington Library, and the John Carter Brown Library. Professor Carroll is also on the faculty of CWU's American Indian Studies program and remains active in public history, serving as vice-president of the board of directors and chief grant-writer for the Thorp Mill Town Historical Preservation Society in Thorp, Washington.

Professor Carroll is currently working on two book projects. The first is revising his manuscript From Warrior to Soldier:  New England Indians in the Colonial Military, a history of the social and cultural factors leading Native men to enlist and fight for the British. It examines the impact of race and gender on the experience of Native men in the military and explores the contributions Indian soldiers made to frontier conflicts of the era, and, in particular, American modes of warfare.  Professor Carroll's most recent article, "The Impact of Military Service on Indian Communities in Colonial Southern New England, 1740-1763,” is based on this work and appears in the fall 2016 issue of Early American Studies.  

Professor Carroll is also working on his second book, Burning the Hearts of the Dead: Medicine, Migration, and Vampire Belief in Early National New England. It chronicles how between 1782 and 1820, New Englanders suspected severe outbreaks of tuberculosis (then called ‘consumption’) were caused by the spirits of the dead siphoning life from their relatives. In order to stop the spread of the deadly disease, the greatest killer of the age, they exhumed the corpses they thought responsible, burned their hearts, and made a medicine from the ashes. Originally a European belief, the practice was brought to the region during the American Revolution by Germany military physicians serving in Hessian regiments. Many became itinerant doctors in the aftermath of the war and taught Americans to believe in the undead. But vampire belief in America was medicalized—turned from a folk belief into a cutting edge medical procedure. The exhumations were conducted like autopsies and doctors used 'science' to identify and destroy supposed vampires. American doctors quickly caught on and began using it as a cure for the deadly wasting disease.

Professor Carroll is also currently engaged in a number of other research projects. These include a biography on intercultural broker and military pioneer Benjamin Church (c. 1639-1718), and an article on race-mixing in colonial New England and the origins of the métis of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia.

Courses:

  • HIST 302 - Historical Methods

  • HIST 314 - Military History of the United States

  • HIST 339 - Colonial British American

  • HIST 341 - The Constitution and the New Republic

  • HIST 344 - American Manhood in Historical Perspective

  • HIST 434 - American Indian History to 1790

  • HIST 440 - The American Revolution

  • HIST 445 - Introduction to Public History

  • HIST 454 - American Environmental History

  • HIST 512 - Graduate Reading Seminar:  Culture & Medicine in America (to 1885)

  • HIST 512 - Graduate Reading Seminar:  The Maritime Atlantic in the Age of Sail

  • HIST 512 - Graduate Reading Seminar:  The Fur Trade & Indigenous Slavery in North America, 1650-1870

Education

University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

  • Ph.D., American History, 2009

  • M.A., American History, 1997

Keene State College, Keene, New Hampshire

  • B.A., History and Theater, 1993

Publications

Articles:

“The Impact of Military Service on Indian Communities in Colonial Southern New England, 1740-1763.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14, no. 3 (Autumn 2016) [forthcoming]

"Wampanoag Martial Custom in the Late 17th & Early 18th Centuries: Benjamin Church’s Indians Reconsidered.” [Online conference proceedings] Battlefields of the Pequot War and Battlefields of King Philip's War. January, 2016. <pequotwar.org> <kpwar.org>

"‘A Mean Business’: Wartime Security, Sovereignty and Southern New England Indians, 1689-1713.” Connecticut History Review 54, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 217-242.

"'Savages' in the Service of Empire:  Native American Soldiers in Gorham's Rangers, 1744-1762," The New England Quarterly 85, no. 3 (September 2012): 383-429.

"'I indulged my desire too freely': Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Sin of Self-Pollution in the Diary of Joseph Moody, 1720-1724," The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 60, no. 1 (January 2003): 155-170.

"'Loaded to the Water Line': Coasters, Coal Schooners, and the Marshall Store in York, 1865-1918," in Clipper Ships to Coal Schooners: Maritime Culture and Economy in York, Maine. Edited by Thomas B. Johnson (York, Maine: Old York Historical Society, 1995), pp. 36-49.

Book Reviews:

Review of The Life of William Apess, Pequot, by Philip F. Gura, and Professional Indian: The American Odyssey of Eleazer Williams, by Michael L. Oberg, Journal of American Ethnic History [forthcoming 2016]

Review of Living with Whales:  Documents and Oral Histories of Native New England Whaling History, edited by Nancy Shoemaker. Ethnohistory 63, no. 2 (January 2016): 175-176.

"Love and the Last Refuge:  Emotion, Patriotism, and War in 1812." Review of 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism, by Nicole Eustace. The Huntington Library Quarterly 76, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 317-323.

Review of The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island: A History, by John A. Strong. Ethnohistory 60, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 142-144.

Review of Making War and Minting Christians: Masculinity, Religion, and Colonialism in Early New England, by R. Todd Romero. Ethnohistory 59, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 418-419.

Review of Tribe, Race, History:  Native Americans in Southern New England, 1780-1880, by Daniel R. Mandell. The New England Quarterly 84, no. 2 (June 2011): 363-365.

Full CV