Keely studies the intersection between Native American and colonial European folkways in the 17th and 18th centuries. She is interested in how cultural traditions define identity and how the interaction between early American cultures influenced perceptions on belonging in one’s community. She hopes to uncover the traditions and social norms of shared spaces on the colonial American landscape.
Keely graduated summa cum laude from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, with a B.A. in history, Spanish, and global studies. She was a Gilder Lehrman History Scholar and received a Phi Kappa Phi graduate fellowship in the summer of 2018. Her senior thesis involved an undergraduate research fellowship that funded archival research in Boston to examine sources demonstrating the interaction between praying Indians and English colonists in the 1650s Massachusetts Bay Colony. The project focused on a land distribution controversy between the Indians in the missionary John Eliot’s praying town of Natick and the neighboring colonial town of Dedham to argue that the dispute was a catalyst for the development of property rights in a multiethnic population.
Keely hopes to continue investigating the clash and cohesion of colonial cultures, possibly in a southern context.