Digital Humanities: Fellowships Open Book Program

Period of Performance

4/1/2022 - 3/31/2023

Funding Totals

$5,500.00 (approved)
$5,500.00 (awarded)

Open access edition of "The Silence of the Miskito Prince: Imagining across Cultures in Early America" by Matt Cohen

FAIN: DR-286803-22

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN 55455-2009)
Douglas M. Armato (Project Director: November 2021 to July 2023)

This project will publish the book "The Silence of the Miskito Prince: Imagining across Cultures in Early America", written by NEH Fellow Matt Cohen (NEH grant number FA-251900-17), in an electronic open access format under a Creative Commons license, making it available for free download and distribution. The author will be paid a royalty of at least $500 upon release of the open access ebook.

Associated Products

Single Publication (Open Access eBook or Collection)
Publication Type: Single Publication
Title: The Silence of the Miskito Prince: How Cultural Dialogue Was Colonized
Year: 2022
ISBN: 9781517913953
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Author: Matt Cohen
Editor: Douglas Armato
Abstract: Matt Cohen’s book is inspired by a disquieting moment in the freed African Olaudah Equiano’s 1792 ”Narrative” when on a voyage to secure labor for an English plantation he seeks to convert an Amerindian shipmate, Prince George of the Misquito, to Christanity. Finding no common ground, and in particular disputing the existence of a Christian Hell, the Prince falls silent and withdraws from the conversation -- the opportunity for cross-cultural understanding a victim of the African Equiano’s zealous European piety. "The Silence of the Miskito Prince" argues that misunderstandings and slippery definitions of cultural reciprocity and patience along with violent forms of cosmopolitanism and piety shaped cross-cultural relations in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Closely interrogating five concepts -- cosmopolitanism, piety, patience, reciprocity, and understanding -- Cohen argues that these terms haunt the very conceptual apparatus that scholars, in the last forty years of cultural historical work, have hoped would promote intercultural dialogue. Confronting the disturbing dimensions of the common conceptual vocabulary for North American colonial studies through a series of archival explorations, "The Silence of the Miskito Prince" argues for new ways of framing scholarly conversations that take the past as a site for thinking about intercultural relations today. By investigating the colonial histories of these terms, and their use today in scholarship that wants to bring us a world beyond colonialism, Cohen offers both a reflection on how we got here and a model of scholarly humility for rethinking many other words, just as crucial as these, that hold us to our better or worse pasts.
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: University of Minnesota Press
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: JSTOR
Type: Single author monograph