America in the Age of Discovery: 1492–1625, June 23–29, 2019


Peter Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Southern California

Robert C. Ritchie, Former Director of Research at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens


“America” cannot be understood only as a physical place. Instead, we need to recognize it as the location for countless encounters, which together led to far-reaching changes in the lives of indigenous Americans as well as European and African travelers. We will explore the initial creation of “America,” with a particular focus on the period from European contact through the establishment of permanent colonies in English North America, drawing on Native American and European understandings of the early colonial period in territory stretching from Arctic Canada to Brazil, which will necessitate wrestling with oral and written sources and visual and material evidence.

Travel & Accommodations

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements; the Institute will reimburse up to $400 in travel expenses. Read the policy here.

The University of Southern California is located in Los Angeles, California. The nearest airport is Los Angeles International Airport. For more information on the campus, please click here.

Participants will stay in on-campus dormitories in single rooms, but may share bathrooms and common space. Participants should bring laptops, as computer access on campus will be limited.


Meals will be served in a college cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


Please be sure to review the Institute’s policies on independent school teacher participation and travel reimbursement before applying.

Course Reviews from Past Participants

“This seminar was organized perfectly. The group of teachers selected to participate were diverse and well balanced. The professors were exceptionally knowledgeable and accessible.”

“This was an amazing experience! Beyond my wildest dreams. The hands-on field trips made everything come to life. The quality of the content, the passion and enthusiasm infused in the delivery, and mastery of the scholars presenting to us was simply inspiring. The coordinator’s friendliness, support, and facilitation skills made everything seem just effortless. Finally, the overall content was totally engaging, on topic task, and to the point. Not a moment wasted. Masterful teaching! Many thanks. I have begun to lay out materials for the upcoming year and feel confident I can bring back this fire to all my grade-level team districtwide.”

“The seminar was the best educational conference I have ever attended. Everything was great. The professors were truly amazing with their depth of knowledge and obvious love of the subject matter. The master teacher was wonderful and helpful with everything. It was so refreshing to be with educational professionals that were so eager to learn and improve their own teaching. I was really interested in everyone’s experiences thus far with the Common Core. The lesson I created will start the core of my social studies unit and I am borrowing so many of the ideas my colleagues shared. This was truly an all around wonderful educational experience for me and energized me so that I can’t wait to start with my students this fall!”

“Peter Mancall and Roy Ritchie were fabulous, they were both interesting, informative, approachable. They brought to life early American history through the use of visuals and documents in a way I had never seen before. I learned so much from this seminar, I can’t wait to go back and tell my colleagues all about it. I appreciate the opportunity to grow as an educator and I feel fortunate to have participated in this seminar.”


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

Seminar Year: 2018-2019