Toby L. Ditz is an historian of early America and the British Atlantic world. Her teaching and research interests include cultural history, the history of commerce and markets, and the history of women, and gender, and masculinity. She received her PhD from Columbia University and is now a professor of history and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University.
She currently directs the Senior Honors Thesis Seminar in History. She also teaches undergraduate seminars on family history and women’s history, and an introductory lecture course on the history of British America and the early United States to 1789.
She offers graduate field examinations and related reading and research seminars in two areas. The first is the history of women, gender, and sexuality: she teaches, often in collaboration with other interested faculty, Topics in Women’s History, and is a regular participant in the department’s research workshop on the history of women, gender, and sexuality (aka "the Geminar"), a forum for sharing graduate and faculty work in progress. The second is the cultural history of British America and the early United States, with special emphasis on recent interpretive and methodological innovations as they have emerged in the literature on colonial encounters, print culture and communications, the culture of commerce and consumption, and the construction of imperial identities.
Graduate students working under her direction have recently completed or are currently working on such dissertation topics as: counterfeiting and commerce in the British Atlantic world; patriotic music and nationalism in the early United States; urban youth culture and sexuality in the late 18th century; masculinity and sexuality in colonial New England; the early history of advertising; and printers, print culture, and the American Revolution.
Toby Ditz is the author of Property and Kinship: Inheritance in Early Connecticut, 1750-1820, a social history of inheritance practices, household authority relations, and the commercialization of agriculture. She is currently working on a second book tentatively entitled, "Shipwrecked: Manly Identity and the Culture of Risk among Philadelphia Merchants, 1730-1815," on the culture of commerce and the history of masculinity in the 18th-century British Atlantic world.
Related articles on commercial letters, imperial communications, and gendered subjectivity include: "Shipwrecked," JAH, (1994) (article available to Jstor subscribers); "Formative Ventures," in Epistolary Selves, ed. Rebecca Earle (London, 1999); and "Secret Selves Credible Personas," in Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America, ed. Robert Blair St. George (Ithaca, 2000).
She has also published critical appraisals of the new scholarship on men’s history/the history of masculinity, including "What's Love got to Do with It," Reviews in Am. Hist. 28 (2000) (available to Project MUSE subscribers), and “The New Men’s History and the Peculiar Absence of Gendered Power,” Gender & History (April 2004), 1-35 (available to Project MUSE subscribers), co-winner of the Article Prize for 2005 awarded by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.
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