I am a historian of early America, with specific interest in intercultural diplomatic relations between European and Indigenous People in the Northeast Woodlands region during the eighteenth century. I completed my PhD thesis entitled ‘The Languages and Spaces of Diplomacy in Early America’ in 2021 and was examined by Professor Timothy Shannon of Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania. My thesis examined the nature of diplomacy, diplomats and interpolity relations between the British and Haudenosaunee during the period 1701 and 1774. Through the juxtaposition and analysis of Conrad Weiser and Sir William Johnson’s diplomatic practice and Haudenosaunee expressions of sovereignty made during treaty councils the dissertation explored the aspects of language, protocol and ritual that structured intercultural diplomatic interaction and what this revealed more broadly about British-Haudenosaunee power dynamics in this period. The archival research for this project was carried out in Philadelphia (2018) and Ottawa (2019) with the support of the European Association of American Studies and the British Association of American Studies.
Through close analysis of British-Haudenosaunee treaty council records my thesis demonstrated that throughout the period concerned intercultural diplomacy was structured through a series of shared norms, predominantly drawn from Haudenosaunee diplomatic culture. It offered a new understanding of Covenant Chain diplomacy, provided a significant reassessment of the power European diplomats possessed in this period and revealed diplomacy as the basis of Haudenosaunee power between 1701 and 1774.
‘Narrating Sovereignty: The Covenant Chain in Intercultural Diplomacy’, Journal of Early American History, Vol. 9: Issue 2-3, (December 2019), 118 – 144.
Review of The Western Delaware Indian Nation, 1730–1795: Warriors and Diplomats, by Richard S. Grimes, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.143, (January 2019), 103 – 4.
Blog posts and webinars
Co-panellist on ‘Black Lives Matter: Facing the Future’ webinar hosted by Cumberland Lodge as part of their Dialogue and Debate series.
Heather is a Cumberland Lodge Scholar (2019 -2021) and works with The Brilliant Club as a PhD tutor – a role in which she delivers university-style tutorials to Key Stage 3 and 4 students in local schools.
Heather is responsible for the PGCE history course at the University of Hull, teaching on the ‘Methods of Teaching History’ module.