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Jennifer Motter

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor: Dr. Nicholas Popper
Email: [[jamotter]]
Current Research: Early Modern Dutch Empire, Atlantic World, History of Knowledge

Jennifer received her BA from the University of Pittsburgh where her undergraduate thesis used the papers of Jeremias and Maria van Rensselaer to examine the interplay of authority and gender in Dutch New Netherland on the eve of the English takeover in 1664. Following graduation, she studied the Dutch language at Leiden University and went on to get her Master’s degree in History from William & Mary in 2020. Her research portfolio explored the role of knowledge in the commodification of salt from the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) and questioned the nature of the broader Dutch Atlantic empire.

Jennifer is currently a fourth-year PhD candidate in the History Department at William & Mary. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Knowledge and Commodification in the Early Modern Dutch Atlantic,” examines how individuals working with the West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) used environmental, tacit, and mercantile knowledge in the commodification of natural resources in the Dutch ABC islands and New Netherland. Her research uses a History of Knowledge approach to investigate how WIC directors, councilmen, employees, and enslaved laborers acquired knowledge, put various forms of expertise to use for commercial purposes, and distributed the information required for these practices.