A member of the St. Olaf faculty since 2000, Professor Hahn’s scholarly and teaching interests are centered in the fields of colonial American, Native American, and Atlantic world history. A native of Flint, Michigan, Hahn attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. After working for two years as a field archaeologist, Hahn developed what has proven to be a life-long interest in North American colonization, and he returned to school to earn a master’s degree in history from the University of Georgia. Hahn then completed his doctoral work at Emory University, specializing in Native Americans of the colonial South. At St. Olaf, Professor Hahn teaches courses on the American Revolution and early U.S. republic, the Trail of Tears, the Native American West, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Professor Hahn also teaches in the American Conversations and Great Conversation programs.
Concerning his scholarly activities, Dr. Hahn’s first book, The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 (University of Nebraska Press, 2004), recounts the internal and external political history of the Muskogee (Creek) Indians in the era prior to the French and Indian War. Hahn’s second book, The Life and Times of Mary Musgrove (University Press of Florida, 2012) unravels the story of Mary Musgrove (ca. 1700-1764), one of the colonial South’s most unique and fascinating characters. Born to a Creek Indian mother and English father, Mary’s bicultural heritage prepared her for an eventful adulthood spent in the rough and tumble world of Georgia Indian affairs – engaging in the realms of trade and diplomacy that were typically dominated by men. In sum, it is a historical biography that not only tells the story of her life, but also reflects upon its atypicality in order to examine the subjects of race and gender as they apply more broadly to the colonial Deep South. Additionally, Hahn has authored several book chapters on Creek Indian history, and regularly reviews books for scholarly journals such as Ethnohistory, The Journal of Southern History, The Journal of American History, American Anthropologist, and the Journal of British Studies.
More recently, Professor Hahn’s research interests have led him into the field of Caribbean history and piracy. One article published in 2017 tells the story of Richard Tookerman, a self-proclaimed “gentleman” from South Carolina who was arrested in Jamaica and taken to London in 1721 to stand trial for piracy. Tookerman’s confounding case, leading to a counter-suit against the royal navy officer who arrested Tookerman, reveals the thin line that existed between legal and illegal maritime activity, thus calling into question the very definition of the word “pirate.” His current book project, Young, Brave, and Resolute Fellows: The Pirates of Providence, 1710-1735, explores the lives of 209 mostly ordinary seamen pardoned for piracy in 1718. In addition to telling their stories, the book explores the theme of socio-economic class in British America, and connects piracy to land-based communities in the Bahamas, Jamaica, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and beyond.
Hahn is most proud, though, of being a dad to his two children, Erin (21) and Luke (18). His wife, Mary, practices law in Northfield. When not working, Professor Hahn enjoys indulging in some of his favorite pastimes, ranging from college football to world travel. Having retired from playing ice hockey, Hahn, a certifiable golf addict, can be seen on the links at odd hours of the day working on his (admittedly mediocre) game. Professor Hahn is also known to wear a Scottish kilt for no particular reason!