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Jason Sellers - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Jason Sellers

Associate Professor | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Jason R. Sellers is a cultural and environmental historian of 17th-and 18th-century North America interested in landscapes and bodies.





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An Environmental History of the Hudson Valley | Dr. Jason Sellers




Jason R. Sellers holds graduate degrees from the University of California, Irvine, and an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a cultural and environmental historian of 17th-and 18th-century North America interested in landscapes and bodies, and is currently working on a project that explores the interactions of Munsee Indians and European colonists in the 17th-century Hudson Valley. He offers courses on colonial North America, Native American history, and environmental history.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Environmental History

Native American History

Colonial North America

Accomplishments (1)

2018 Volunteer of the Year (professional)


Friends of the Rappahannock

Education (3)

University of California, Irvine: Ph.D., History 2010

University of California, Irvine: M.A., History 2007

University of California, Berkeley: B.A., History and English 2003

Affiliations (8)

  • New Netherland Institute
  • American Society for Environmental History
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Association
  • American Society for Ethnohistory
  • American Historical Association
  • McNeil Center for Early American Studies
  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
  • Organization of American Historians

Media Appearances (5)

Sellers Attends Virginia Tribal Nations Inaugural Sovereignty Conference

Eagle Eye - UMW  


Associate Professor of History Jason Sellers was mentioned in The Free Lance-Star article entitled, “Virginia’s federally recognized tribes begin drafting a sovereignty accord.” Dr. Sellers was present at the inaugural Sovereignty Conference for federally recognized tribal nations in Virginia, along with scholars from Virginia Tech and the University of Richmond, who were there to make presentations confirming centuries of broken treaties and erasure by Virginia and the federal government.

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New Netherland Institute holds annual conference

Times Union  online


Speakers were Jason Sellers from the University of Mary Washington, Shaun Sayres from Clark University, Amy Ransford from Indiana University, Danny Noorlander from SUNY Oneonta, Timo McGregor from New York University, Artyom Anikin from the University of Amsterdam, and Wim Klooster from Clark University. Topics ranged from Dutch-native interactions to the gunpowder trade and the role of banishment in New Netherland.

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Hedelt column: Friends of Rappahannock rolling out connections to river via new oral history program

The Free Lance-Star  online


Jason Sellers, an assistant professor of history and American studies who has worked with the program, called it “a great opportunity for students to put a lot of different skills to work, and get real experience doing public history.”

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Guest speaker to examine politics, religion and health among Colonial Native Americans at library

The Free Lance-Star  online


Jason Sellers, assistant professor of history at the University of Mary Washington, will present “Priests, Politics, and Health Among Indians in Colonial Virginia” at Headquarters Library on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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Sellers Presents at MCEAS Conference

Eagle Eye  online


Jason Sellers, assistant professor of History and American Studies, presented a paper at “From Conquest to Identity: New Jersey and the Middle Colonies in the Seventeenth Century,” a conference held in Trenton, N.J. March 27-28, sponsored by the New Jersey Council on the Humanities and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Sellers’s paper, “Creating Histories and Recovering Autonomy in the Hudson Valley,” was part of a panel considering the memories and legacies of England’s 1664 conquest of New Netherlands.

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Event Appearances (4)

Energy and the ecological self in the 17 th -century Hudson Valley

American Society for Environmental History annual meeting  Columbus, OH


Colonization and the disruption of the Hudson Valley’s Native landscape

New Netherland Institute 41 st Annual Conference  Albany, NY


The 17th-century Hudson Valley as a Native Place

International Association for the Study of Environment, Space, and Place Annual Meeting  University of Mary Washington


Human Bodies and the Natural World in the Hudson Valley’s Colonized Landscapes

American Society for Ethnohistory Annual Meeting  Nashville, TN


Articles (5)

An “Indyan Called Nangenutch or Will”: Indian Identity and Identification in a 1668 Long Island Rape Trial

Native American and Indigenous Studies

ON MARCH 19, 1667/68, in the town of East Hampton on the southeastern tip of Long Island, Nangenutch, a Montauk Indian also known to the English as Will, met Mary and John Miller as he approached their home. A bound laborer delivering a bag of corn for grinding, Nangenutch accompanied Mary back to the house while John continued onward to visit a neighbor.

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Mindful of their Bellies and gullets: Anatomical imagery in English Colonization


This essay examines the anatomical language that appears in 16th- and 17th-century English travel narratives, which authors used to portray efforts to colonize North America as a series of encounters between an American continental body and the English nation. Imagery related to the digestive tract marked struggling or failed efforts, while reproductive and marital imagery described successful ventures or encouraged new ones.

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“Lands fit for use”

New York History

The French Jesuit Isaac Jogues visited New Netherland in 1643, later writing of the Dutch colony's history,“The first comers found lands fit for use, deserted by the savages, who formerly had fields here. Those who came later have cleared the woods.” Even the visiting missionary quickly recognized the colonists' good fortune in finding lands cleared by previous Native inhabitants.

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History, Memory, and the Indian Struggle for Autonomy in the Seventeenth-Century Hudson Valley

Early American Studies

This essay uses treaty records, council minutes, personal correspondence, and travel narratives to argue that Hudson Valley Indians seized on the 1664 English conquest of New Netherland to try to position Natives and newcomers as independent members of an extended community sharing a common past and landscape.

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The Memory of All Ancient Customs: Native American Diplomacy in the Colonial Hudson Valley


United States energy policy has long been the source of contentious debate. It has received new attention in the current era of rising oil prices, concerns over climate change, and interest in renewable energy. Native Americans have found themselves uniquely positioned to have a voice in these discussions, with tribal lands holding more than 10 percent of the country’s coal, natural gas, oil, and uranium reserves in addition to the potential for wind and solar energy development.

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