Jessica Yurish Stern, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Jessica grew up in Northern California. She received her BA from Reed College, in Portland, OR and her MA and PhD for The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Since her days as an undergraduate she has been interested in anthropology, and her first book, The Lives in Objects, applies anthropological theories of economic and gift exchange to the colonial southeast to better understand trade between British colonists and Southeastern Indians (primarily Cherokee and Creek groups).
In her future work, Jessica will continue to examine the interactions between Native Americans and Euro-Americans. She is writing an intellectual biography of Roger Williams, best known for founding the colony of Rhode Island and for being an early proponent of religious toleration. Williams, often considered a voice in the wilderness, was, in fact, deeply involved in a range of early modern debates, which Jessica is able to piece together by translating his shorthand notes. Jessica will analyze how his experiences in the English colonies, and particularly his interactions with New England Native groups, influenced his religious, political, ethnographic, historical, economic, and scientific beliefs. She is also pursuing a project that would allow her to work with individuals in various disciplines to determine the long-term impact of the boarding school system on Native American individuals and communities.
2001, Bachelor of Arts, History, Reed College
2004, Master of Arts, History, The Johns Hopkins University
2007, Ph.D in History, The Johns Hopkins University