Assistant Professor of History:
Phone: +1 401 863 6208
Professor Fisher's fields of research are colonial America, the Atlantic World, American Indians (especially the contact period through the end of the eighteenth century), material culture, the history of slavery, and the history of religion in America. His current research centers on the various kinds of servitude and enslavement of Indians and Africans in New England and the Atlantic world.
Professor Fisher grew up in the rolling hills of southeastern Pennsylvania. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in 2008. In 2008-2009 he was an Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University--South Bend. He joined the Department of History at Brown in the summer of 2009. Professor Fisher's research and teaching relate primarily to the cultural and religious history of colonial America and the Atlantic world, including Native Americans, religion, material culture, and Indian and African slavery and servitude.
Professor Fisher's first book, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America, was published by Oxford University Press in May 2012. It looks at Native American communities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and Long Island (NY), over the long course of the 18th century, particularly with regard to their involvement in the so-called "Great Awakening" of the 1740s. Using a variety of court documents, land deeds, letters, material culture, and church records, he traces the selective adoption of Christian ideas and practices by Native individuals prior to and during the Great Awakening, and the subsequent emergence, post-awakening, of a distinct Indian separatism and partial rejection of Anglo-American religious institutions in response to a growing proto-racism.
He is currently working on his next book-length project, which is a broad-ranging history of slavery and the shades of servitude in colonial New England and the Atlantic world among Africans and Native Americans. He is also working on an article about North American Natives who were shipped to the Caribbean as slaves in the colonial period.
Professor Fisher is also working with some Brown undergraduates on the Roger Williams code, a modified shorthand utilized by Williams to write a brand new essay late in his life. He is at work on several collaborative publications related to this new essay's contents.
American Historical Association
Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
American Society for Ethnohistory
American Academy of Religion
American Society of Church History
Professor Fisher teaches courses in the field of early American history, focusing especially on the religious history of the colonial period, material culture, the broader early modern Atlantic world, and the history of American Indians. His courses at Brown include:
History 0970A: Object Histories: The Material Culture of Early America
History 1975T: Colonial Encounters: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of Early America
History 1800: History of Religion in America, 1600-1865
History 1801: Religion, Politics, and Culture in American, 1865 - Present
History 1805: First Nations: The Peoples and Cultures of North America through 1800
History 2970w: Graduate Readings in Early American History
History 2980y: Religion in the Early Modern Atlantic World
Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (collaborative research, Summer 2012)
American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant (2011-2012)
Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University (2011-2012)
Humanities Research Grant, Brown University (2011-2012)
Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (collaborative research, Summer 2010)
Massachusetts Historical Society NEH Long-Term Fellowship (2010-2011)
American Philosophical Society, Phillips Fund for Native American Research (2007-2008)
American Antiquarian Society, Peterson Fellowship (2007-2008)
William R. Hutchison Doctoral Fellowship, Harvard University (2006-2007)
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Research Fellowship (2006-2007)