Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Practical matters How to find us M.L. (Mark) Thompson

M.L. (Mark) Thompson

Senior Lecturer of American Studies
Profile picture of M.L. (Mark) Thompson

  • The Contest for the Delaware Valley: Allegiance, Identity, and Empire in the Seventeenth Century (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

My new book is about the ways that ethnicity, national identity, and cosmopolitanism intersected in the Delaware Valley during the seventeenth century.  It's also about people: Henry Hudson, John Smith, Peter Minuit, Johan Printz, Peter Stuyvesant, William Penn, among many others.  It touches on New Sweden, New Netherland, New Haven, Maryland, Brazil, settler revolts, invasions, and Penn's debt to English imperialism.

You can read more about it at: and

It was recently reviewed in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History

  • "Land, Liberty, & Property: Surveyors and the Production of Empire in British North America."

My new research project is a cultural history of land surveyors that aims to show how surveyors constituted Britain's empire in North America through practices of measuring and representing the landscape. Drawing from historical, geographical, and literary approaches, it presents surveyors as key players in a settler-driven process that attached landowners first to their lands, markets, and local institutions, and only secondarily to the imperial authorities that oversaw them. "Creole" surveying practices adapted from European models ultimately gave settlers more, not less, control of their own properties and communities. But these practices also tied them closely to an empire that promised to protect their rights to land, liberty, and property. 

I received a Peterson Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society to work on this project during the summer of 2012, and I presented a paper on some of this research at the American Historical Association's annual meeting in January 2013.  I recently received a fellowship from the Massachusetts Historical Society to support archival research for the project during the summer of 2014.  I've posted some of my thoughts about the project at

Last modified:25 June 2022 10.50 a.m.