Liam Riordan

Liam Riordan

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

I am an early American historian specializing in the Revolutionary era (ca. 1760-1830), and I have been a faculty member at UMaine since 1997.

Non-traditional, and especially non-textual, sources are important to my research and teaching, which draws on interdisciplinary cultural studies and social history methods. My principal undergraduate courses include the U.S. History survey to 1877 (HTY 103), an intermediate course “The Creation of the Atlantic World, 1450-1888” (HTY 240), and upper-level classes on British Colonial America (HTY 461) and the American Revolution (HTY 462). I also teach a trio of graduate courses: an overview of early America to 1865 (HTY 507), a reading course on the American Revolution (HTY 502), and a writing seminar (HTY 601).

My initial research examined the intersection of religious, racial, and ethnic identities in the multicultural Delaware Valley around Philadelphia. Since then I have been studying opposition to the American Revolution and the trans-Atlantic nature of loyalism. My current book project is a comparative biography of five loyalists who lived all across the British Atlantic World. While a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Glasgow in 2012, I began research about what Glasgow merchants did after the Revolution destroyed their dominant role in the lucrative Chesapeake tobacco trade.

Representative publications include:

  • “A Loyalist Who Loved His Country Too Much: Thomas Hutchinson, Historian of Colonial Massachusetts,” The New England Quarterly, 90 no. 3 (September 2017), 344-384
  • Guest editor, humanities-themed issue of Maine Policy Review, 24, no. 1 (June 2015) and author of introductory essay “The Fabulous Promise and Practical Need for the Humanities in the Twenty-First Century,” accessible at
  • The Loyal Atlantic: Remaking the British Atlantic in the Revolutionary Era, co-editor of volume and co-author of first chapter with Jerry Bannister, Dalhousie University (University of Toronto Press, 2012)
  • “Loyalism,” annotated online bibliography, Trevor Burnard, ed., Atlantic History (, Oxford University Press (summer 2011)
  • Many Identities, One Nation: The American Revolution and its Legacy in the Mid-Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007; paperback 2008)

I have done considerable Public History work to commemorate the bicentennial of the state of Maine in 2019-2020 and organized a public scholarly conference on the statehood era and its legacy (May 31-June 1, 2019). For more info and related resources, please visit:

My public humanities work also includes helping to organize the annual Maine National History Day contest for grade 6-12 students, service on the Board of Directors of the Maine Humanities Council (2010-2017), Director of the University of Maine Humanities Center (2014-2016), and I am currently a member of the City of Bangor’s Historic Preservation Commission.