Architecture & the Making of the Virginia Gentry 3/28

March 15, 2012

Dr. John CoombsOn Wednesday, March 28, Dr. John C. Coombs, Associate Professor of History at Hampden-Sydney College, will discuss "Architecture and the Making of the Virginia Gentry in the 17th Century" in conjunction with the exhibit being shown at Atkinson Museum.

Coombs is researching the early Chesapeake, particularly colonial Virginia, and is currently finishing revisions for his first book, The Rise of Virginia Slavery, 1630-1730, which has been accepted for publication by the University of Virginia Press. The study offers a major reassessment of the timing and character of the colony's conversion from white to black labor and the role it played in the emergence of a dominant class of Gentry planters and the formation of African-American society.

Along with Douglas Bradburn of the State University of New York at Binghamton, Coombs co-authored the article "Smoke and Mirrors: Reinterpreting the Society and Economy of the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake" which appeared in the October 2006 issue of Atlantic Studies, an international journal publishing research and debate on historical, cultural, and literary issues arising within the new field of Atlantic history.  Bradburn and Coombs co-edited a volume for the University of Virginia Press entitled Early Modern Virginia: New Essays on the Old Dominion, which features recent research by junior and mid-career scholars working on 17th Century Virginia.

Coombs also remains actively engaged in historical archaeology. Since 2004 he has been involved with the Comparative Archæological Study of Colonial Chesapeake Culture, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, a project which has made available on the Internet site plans and artifact inventories for eighteen Virginia and Maryland archaeological sites spanning the period circa 1620 through the mid-18th century. Coombs continues to serve as a consultant for the ongoing excavation of George Washington's Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg.

Sponsored by the Hampden-Sydney Fine Arts Department, the History Department, and Atkinson Museum, Coombs presentation will begin at 4:30 PM in Atkinson Museum.  The community is welcome.