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Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt

In 1754, conflict erupted in the heart of eastern North America—conflict that within the next two years would become a global war. From a seemingly minor borderland, the greater Ohio Valley was transformed into the epicenter of French, British, and Iroquois imperial rivalry, as each power sought to gain and cement control of the region. By 1763, the French state would abandon its claims to the Ohio, as well as the Illinois country, Louisiana, and Canada. And by 1768, the Iroquois Empire, joined by the Cherokee and other indigenous polities, too would cede most of its formal rights to the eastern interior.

My dissertation examines the contest for the American interior between 1737 and 1774 and maps the development of continental and transatlantic communications infrastructure over the long Seven Years’ War. From European newspapers and maps, to interpreters and interior roads, I analyze the diverse and coordinated efforts of French, British, and indigenous states to create a relay of information and opinion that promoted territorial interests; mobilized local and transatlantic publics; appealed to an international theater for approval; improved the quality, quantity, and speed of news and transport; and—most directly—won a war.

More broadly, I study French, British, and indigenous empires in North America and the Atlantic World.  My interests revolve around print culture and communication, space and geography, and their mediating roles in the collisions of states, cultures, and institutions.