In the 1880s, the field of sexology declared masculine women to be inverts—true homosexuals. Prior to this period, representations of gender crossings were more varied and common. Such representations shine a spotlight on some of the most obvious anxieties concerning women’s place in society as well as the constitutive relationships between sex, gender, and sexuality.
19th-Century Narratives of Transgender Experience & the History of Possibility12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Island Masters: Gender, Race, and Power in the Eighteenth-Century British Caribbean12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
"The Spirit of Enterprise excited by the Acquisition of Louisiana": New Englanders and the Orleans Territory, 1803-181212:00 PM - 1:00 PM
In 1803 and 1804 New Englanders warily eyed their country's vast new acquisition. Some worried that Louisiana was a “savage,” uncivilized land that would corrupt the new nation; others that it would reduce the already-declining political importance of New England; others that it would become a new addition to the “empire of slavery.” Still others, however, especially Jeffersonian republicans, dismissed these and other concerns and celebrated the Purchase and the economic opportunities it would bring. A few went so far as to move south in search of fortunes in the Orleans Territory.
The Book Madness: Charles Deane and the Boston Antiquarians12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
A discussion of research into a hub of bibliomaniacs associated with the early years of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Among the circle of learned historians, friends of dusty research and poetry, were George Livermore, Charles Deane, Alexander Young, and Edward Crowninshield. Livermore was fond of bibles and illustrated and large paper copies, and Deane kept minutes of his painstaking bibliographic and historical research on fly-leaves, margins, memoranda, and scraps of paper scattered between the pages of his 13,000 books. Together, these amateur men of letters provide a unique outlook on the culture of book collecting and the formation of private and public libraries in mid-19th-century America.
Speculation Nation: Land Speculators and Land Mania in Post-Revolutionary America12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
This project reconstructs the business and political methods of post-revolutionary land speculators, aiming to trace the causes and consequences of the early republic's first wave of large-scale land speculation, from 1776 to 1812. In routing their capital through the new nation’s most important resource, land speculators situated themselves at the center of contentious debates about property, equality, and political economy in a democratic republic. Speculators sought to profit off the extension of the United States' revolutionary republican society; in the process, their methods shaped and changed the Revolution's outcome.
Working to Become: Women, Work, and Literary Legacy in American Women’s Postbellum Literature12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
This project is interdisciplinary in nature and has foundations in both 19th-century American women’s history and literature. It focuses on literary representations of career women by late 19th-century American women writers. By reimagining the intertwinings and interconnections of society and women’s paid labor, the project shows that work, and women’s work in particular, was no longer a fixed entity that showed up in the lives of those living during the 19th-century but rather was a shaping force.