Christen Program to Explore How Britain Imagined America Before 1776

University of Virginia history professor S. Max Edelson will discuss the colonial period on Monday, Feb. 4.

Headshot of S. Max EdelsonThe biannual Robert J. Christen Program in Early American History and Culture will take place on Monday, February 4 when University of Virginia professor S. Max Edelson will present “The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence.” The program will begin at 4:30 p.m. in room 5A of the Kelly Commons.

In the generation before the American Revolution, Great Britain attempted to impose new regulations over the settlement of new territories. With ink and paper, British surveyors pictured a new empire, controlled from London, over which American colonists had little influence.  

Illustrated by a dynamic digital presentation that features original maps of Florida, the New England coast, the Mississippi River, the Native American frontier, and new island colonies in the Caribbean, this year’s Christen Program will explain how Americans reacted to this grand scheme of control and rejected the bonds of empire.

Founded in 1986, the Robert J. Christen Program in Early American History and Culture honors the late Robert Christen, a longtime Manhattan College history professor who also served as a member of the New York City Board of Education until his death in 1981 at age 53.

He was one of the founders of the Pacem in Terris Institute of Manhattan College, developed during a time of war to advance the study of peace. Public School 81 in Riverdale has since adopted his name.  

The program is free and open to the general public, including all Manhattan College students, faculty and staff. For more information about the Christen Program, please contact Adam Arenson, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Manhattan College, at or (718) 862-7317.

By Pete McHugh