Making Property on Seventeenth-Century Long Island: Robert Williams, Lusum, and the Problem of the Commons
Michael LaCombe, PhD, associate professor of history, will sketch this process by focusing on seventeenth-century Long Island, and in particular, a man named Robert Williams and Lusum, the peculiar place he made and called home.
We are all familiar with America’s origin myth and its imagery: an overdressed white man sticks a flag in a beach, a small group huddles in prayer, a Native village lies emptied by disease and murder. But these very different images suppose that the history that followed unfolded from this single act, which contained its germ or essence. Instead, as is true of so many things about early America, property formation—literally, the foundation of European colonialism—turns out to be far more complex, nonlinear, and multivalent than anyone thought.