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The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program

Benjamin H. Irvin

Benjamin H. IrvinA social and cultural historian of British North America and the United States, Benjamin H. Irvin is the executive editor of the Journal of American History and an associate professor of history at Indiana University Bloomington. His primary research interests include national identity, the federal state, gender, disability, and law in the revolutionary era and in the early republic. His first book, Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors (2011), examines the material culture and ceremonies of state—including, for example, the fast days, funeral processions, diplomatic protocols, and presentment swords—by which Congress promoted armed resistance and independence. Central to his study were the many ways that the American people challenged Congress and its vision of the United States. His next book project concerns masculinity, disability, class, and citizenship among veterans of the Revolutionary War. Focusing particularly upon the family relations and occupational pursuits of soldiers and officers who experienced physical impairment during the conflict as well as their efforts to obtain invalid pensions from state and federal governments, Irvin’s investigation illuminates the many ways that political ideologies, social norms, medical technologies, labor practices, bureaucratic infrastructures, and domestic arrangements collectively shaped the lived experiences of veterans as they struggled for subsistence in Jefferson's yeoman republic. In support of this project, Irvin spent the spring of 2014 in residence as the Emilia Galli Struppa Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.