My work focuses on the origins, the cultures, and the legacies of colonialism in Early North America. Central to colonization has been the encounter between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in a specific American landscape. Thus, a primary question for my work is: how has the embedded colonial encounter informed understandings of home and political belonging for the diverse residents of North America? At the same time colonial systems are centrally concerned with exerting dominion and governance. What was the relationship between individual expressions of belonging — whether women and men, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, African, mestizaje, créole, or métis — and metropolitan claims of dominion? In projects that span the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries I seek to answer these and other questions as a collaborator in the crafting of the Codex of United States colonialism.
I am currently revising my book manuscript (forthcoming from the University Press of Virginia) called The Endless Commons: The Borderland of North American Empires and the Origins of American Expansion, 1783-1848. In this project I identify a unique space I call Cataraqui – “fort in the water” – a borderland that stretched from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River across Wabanaki, Haudenosaunee, and Anishnaabe homelands to the Great Lakes. This borderland opened up after the American Revolution when the Treaty of Paris cut a line across these Indigenous spaces and divided democracy from monarchy. Bringing together U.S., British and French Canadian, and Indigenous sources I tease out the larger significance of a series of rebellions, revolts, and one successful revolution that took place on either side of this border between 1837 and 1848 and which have never been fully explored nor understood as one borderland event. I show how Indigenous and non-Indigenous Cataraquians made their contribution to the broader global “Age of Revolution.”
A second book project chronicles the never-before-told story of the “Jewish Agrarian Diaspora,” migrant Jews who settled in contested colonial spaces of so-called “pioneer states” – Australia, Argentina, Israel, Canada and the United States – in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In 2014 I will be the McColl Fellow at the American Geographical Society. I have been a Fulbright Fellow (1995), a Lauréat of the Association Internationale des Etudes Québécoises (2011), and a Filson Fellow (2013), and currently hold a Lecturership in American History at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
You can follow me at Twitter (taylortheartist), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/taylor.spence.391) academia.edu (http://monuni.academia.edu/taylorspence), and see my art work at www.taylorwyoming.com.