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Peter Jakob Olsen-Harbich

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor: Joshua Piker
Current Research: Indigenous Political Economy; Early American Exploration & Contact; Philology


Peter Jakob Olsen-Harbich graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a B.A. in Economics. He is interested in the material and intellectual landscape of politics and economics in Native America generally. His particular intervention stresses the historical import of coercive indigenous politics on contact, diplomacy, and trade in colonial North America. In the Spring of 2016, Peter completed his masters thesis, titled "Usufruct in the Land of Tribute: Property, Coercion, and Sovereignty on Early Colonial Long Island," under the guidance of Brett Rushforth, and is currently at work on a dissertation tentatively titled "A Meaningful Subjection: Coercive Inequality and Indigenous Political Economy in the Colonial Eastern Woodlands," under the guidance of Joshua Piker. As an undergraduate, Peter wrote a senior thesis under the guidance of Michael Leroy Oberg on Iroquois participation in exchanges of information during the Seven Years War. Peter's research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, the John Carter Brown Library, The Huntington Library, the New-England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Georgian Papers Programme, The New-York Historical Society, and the Virginia Historical Society. In 2019-2021, Peter is an Advisory Council Dissertation Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and a Graduate-Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library. He currently lives in Chicago.