Pennsylvania History Presents” is an online feature of the Pennsylvania Historical Association’s (PHA) website. Begun in 2019, we offer for free public access one article from the current issue of its quarterly award-winning journal, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies.

For the Winter 2024 issue (91.1), Journal Editor Linda Ries has chosen for “Pennsylvania History Presents” an article by Kerr Houston of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

“Negotiating Time: Pennsylvanians, Native Americans, and Temporal Tactics, 1682–1763”

Abstract: The many surviving records documenting negotiations between Native Americans and colonial Pennsylvanians feature numerous references to time. Studied closely, these temporal allusions reveal significant differences between Indigenous and colonial timescapes—but also point to a broad diachronic pattern. After an initial period of intercultural familiarization, both sides learned to appeal to the temporal logic of their diplomatic counterparts. But as Native delegates came to recognize the importance of punctuality and clock time to colonists, they also began to occasionally resist it, in a purposeful process of diplomatic disidentification. Time was thus a material that was both the subject of, and subject to, consequential negotiation during a formative period in the Delaware Valley.