Dr. Ronald P. Dufour

Ronald Dufour
Department, Office, or School
Department of History
  • Professor

I teach various graduate and undergraduate lecture courses and seminars in Early American History, Atlantic History, Comparative History, Historiography, and Jazz History. Even in lecture courses, I encourage and expect extensive student participation and discussion, and readings center around primary sources and interpretive essays that encourage students to think beyond factual narrative. In addition, I maintain a commitment to involvement in the world beyond academia, particularly through public libraries. To that end, I’ve led dozens of multi-part discussion programs in libraries throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island, and was a consultant and grant writer for the NEH award winning program, American Lives.


Ph.D., College of William and Mary, 1982

M.A., College of William and Mary, 1970
B.A. Merrimack College, 1969, summa cum laude

Selected Publications

"Becoming American: Public and Private Identities in the Early Republic," RIC FAS Newsletter, Fall 2007

Colonial America (West/Wadsworth, 1994)

Modernization in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630-1763 (Garland, 1987)

Colonial America (West, 1994)

Associate Editor for Jazz and Blues, American National Biography (Oxford, 1998)

Numerous biographical essays of jazz and early American figures for the ANB

A dozen biographical essays of jazz artists for the African-American National Biography (Oxford, 2008)

Numerous other essays and reviews for various publications.​


American Colonial History; The American Revolution; The Early Republic; Music and Culture in Recent American History; The Birth of Bebop; Jazz and Civil Rights: Freedom Sounds

Graduate M.A. Seminars in Historiography; Comparative History (The Atlantic World; Market, Capitalism and Culture in the Atlantic World, 75-1850; Nationalism and Revolutions in the Atlantic World)

Undergraduate Seminars, The Contest and Cultures in Europe and America, 1450-1650; Political and Personal Identity in Ante-Bellum America; Women and American Music

Freshman Honors Interdisciplinary and Western Civ seminars; Western Civ and American History surveys

Numerous independent reading courses - e.g. "The Formation Racial Identity in the Early Republic"

I've also directed several department undergraduate Honors theses and M.A. theses.

Additional Information

Ongoing Research

I’m currently involved in several research projects:

The creation of national identity in early Connecticut

Changing attitudes towards and experiences of work in early national Connecticut (with a particular focus on the 1833 Thompsonville strike)

The relationship between jazz, personal identity and civil rights, in a global context

In general, I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past, and in teaching about and researching the lives of ordinary people.

Other Interests

I spend much of my non-class time listening to music, particularly jazz and classical, in conjunction with my research, reading, and class preparation.

I am an avid kayaker and canoeist, often pursued during an evening of bass fishing. I run daily, and I’m an enthusiastic hiker—from the trails and mountains of Acadia National Park, to the national and state parks and Indian Canyons in and around Palm Springs. This year I became an official Appalachian Mountain Club volunteer hike leader.​​​

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