Heather Hatton

Thesis title: ‘Bridging the Divide: The Language of Diplomacy in Early America 1701-1774’

My research focuses of the nature of intercultural diplomacy and communication between the British and Iroquois during the eighteenth century. I am particularly interested in how indigenous language, especially symbolic, material and performative forms of communication, shaped diplomatic encounters in early America. Before beginning my research degree at the University of Hull, I studied at the University of Sheffield; I graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in History (2013) and gained a Distinction for my MA in Modern History (2014). My MA thesis, Sustained by Natives: Euro-American and Native American relations in the Pacific Northwest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focused on how encounters between Natives and Euro-Americans were shaped through food exchange and culinary practices. My thesis argued food was not only important in the initial contact period, when the threat of hunger and Euro-American weakness necessitated negotiation with indigenous groups but was instrumental in shaping relations for over a century. After completing a PGCE in history at the University of Bristol (2015), I took a brief break from academia, in which I taught history in a secondary school in Derbyshire.

My doctoral research considers the influence of geo-political circumstances and Native diplomatic custom upon the language of diplomacy used by European diplomats in early America. My thesis aims to redress the interpretive imbalance stemming from written sources being favoured over oral records by considering oral and performative forms of communication as central to diplomatic interactions between Native and non-Native peoples. As part of my research I have been awarded the 2019 BAAS Short-Term Travel Award. I will be using this funding to conduct archival research at the Library and Archives Canada. During the first year of my doctorate I was awarded the 2018 EAAS Transatlantic Travel Grant, which I used to conduct archival research at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I have recently reviewed for the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography and presented a paper on Iroquoian symbolic language at the 2018 EEASA Conference at Kings College London. I will also be presenting at the forthcoming BACS annual conference, in April 2019, on the symbolic language of the Covenant Chain and its implications in the Canadian context.