May

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Brown Bag Are We Descended from Puritans or Pagans?: New England’s Critique of Manifest Destiny 23 May 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Daniel Burge, University of Alabama This talk examines the religious critique of manifest destiny put forth by New Englanders from 1848 ...

This talk examines the religious critique of manifest destiny put forth by New Englanders from 1848-1871. Although manifest destiny is often portrayed as an ideology rooted in Puritan theology, this talk explores how opponents of expansion in New England used religion to castigate and separate themselves from this ideology.

More
Brown Bag Conjuring Emancipation: Making Freedom in the U.S. Civil War’s Refugee Camps 30 May 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Abigail Cooper, Brandeis University Black Americans did not just pray for emancipation, they conjured it. This project examines the ...

Black Americans did not just pray for emancipation, they conjured it. This project examines the political work of revival in wartime refugee camps and envisions emancipation as a religious event. It reckons with religion as a mediating force between the enslaved and the state, asking "Who belongs and how?" for those negotiating statelessness and peoplehood in the midst of self-emancipation.

More
June
Brown Bag Genres of the Mind: 19th-Century American Literature and the Idea of Intelligence 4 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Ittai Orr, Yale University While the measurement of human intelligence is now fully in the purview of science, antebellum ...

While the measurement of human intelligence is now fully in the purview of science, antebellum novelists and poets engaged in public debate over its meaning. Key to recovering this contentious field are the student essays of Richard Henry Dana, Jr. and Henry David Thoreau for Harvard professor Edward Channing in 1836.

More
Brown Bag Projecting Power in the Dawnland: Empires, Native Americans, & Settlement Schemes in the Gulf of Maine, 1710-1800 6 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Alexandra Montgomery, University of Pennsylvania In the eighteenth century, the far northeastern coast of North America had more in common with the ...

In the eighteenth century, the far northeastern coast of North America had more in common with the trans-Appalachian west than the white settler colonial east. This talk examines British and French efforts to import white settlers in an attempt to change these demographic and political realities. These state projects offer a different view of the role of settlement in 18th-century North American empires.

More
Brown Bag "We have no need for Virginia Trade": New England Tobacco in the Atlantic World 11 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrew Rutledge, University of Michigan This talk examines tobacco’s role in the agriculture, commerce, and political economy of New ...

This talk examines tobacco’s role in the agriculture, commerce, and political economy of New England. By the 18th-century, tobacco figured prominently in the region, and was exported in large quantities to Dutch Suriname and to West African slave traders. Tobacco was a true “Atlantic Commodity;” and, just as in the southern colonies, it drew New England farmers into the world of Atlantic slavery.

More
Brown Bag U.S. Monarchism in the Middle East?: Orientalism, American Travelers, and Arab Rulers 15 June 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Adam Mestyan, Duke University The origins of the United States are often framed as anti-monarchist, yet Americans entertain a ...

The origins of the United States are often framed as anti-monarchist, yet Americans entertain a fascination with monarchs and royalty. Is it possible to create a taxonomy of popular Orientalist images of modern Muslim and Arab rulership in the United States? Next to foreign policy considerations and economic interests, this talk searches for the private views of American travelers about modern Muslim and Arab rulers in the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

More
Brown Bag Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Black Children's Cultural and Political Resistance 18 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Crystal Webster, University of Massachusetts Amherst This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston ...

This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston during the late-18th to early-20th centuries by focusing on Black children's labor, play, and schooling. It argues that northern Black children intersected shifting constructions of race and childhood, as a group upon which society experimented with treatments of the newly recognized social category of the child, and came to terms with the social and economic place of the nascent free Black community.

More
Brown Bag Picturing Modernism in the Work and Archive of Henry Adams 20 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Fernandez, Columbia University This talk examines three interrelated elements of Henry Adams’s literary output: his ...

This talk examines three interrelated elements of Henry Adams’s literary output: his transnational focus, his reconsideration of subject/object relations, and his interest in the visual arts. While travelling during the 1890s, Adams took a break from writing to immerse himself in painting and sketching—after which he produced acclaimed works like Chartres and The Education. His time abroad represents an important transitional moment between the Romanticism of the nineteenth century and the Modernism of the twentieth century.

More
Brown Bag Cut from the Same Cloth: Salem, Zanzibar, and the Consolidation of the Indo-Atlantic World, 1820-1870 22 June 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Joshua Morrison, University of Virginia This talk explores the economic and cultural exchange between New England and Zanzibar, the premier ...

This talk explores the economic and cultural exchange between New England and Zanzibar, the premier entrepôt of the Western Indian Ocean. This trade network linked the cotton magnates of Massachusetts with the Omani elite, Indian merchants, and Swahili slaves of Zanzibar. As the trade expanded, each close-knit community found themselves increasingly dependent on an incredibly foreign counterpart for survival. This project maps the many compromises, adaptations, and concessions made in the name of profit.

More
Brown Bag Dis-Union: Disability and the U.S. Civil War 25 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jean Franzino, Beloit College This talk will examine the emerging legal category of the “disabled” American at ...

This talk will examine the emerging legal category of the “disabled” American at the end of the nineteenth century in relation to the construction of disability in Civil War literature, broadly conceived. In texts ranging from hospital newspaper poetry to mendicant narratives sold for veterans’ financial support, representations of Civil War injury engaged shifting understandings of disability: from individual condition to evolving social class.

More
Brown Bag The Gendering of Diaspora: Irish American Women Teachers and the Rise of the Irish American Elite, 1880‒1920 27 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Judith Harford, University College Dublin Focusing on the period 1880‒1920, the peak of Irish emigration to the United States, this talk ...

Focusing on the period 1880‒1920, the peak of Irish emigration to the United States, this talk examines the education, professional training and wider public activism of first-generation Irish American women teachers.

More
July
Brown Bag Disestablishing Virtue: Federalism, Religion, and New England Women Writers 11 July 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gretchen Murphy, University of Texas at Austin This talk examines the religious expressions of 18th- and 19th-century female Federalist writers, ...

This talk examines the religious expressions of 18th- and 19th-century female Federalist writers, specifically Catharine Sedgwick, in the context of the Federalist commitment to public religion. Sedgwick’s 1824 novel Redwood looks to the French Revolution as a site of U.S. debate about role of religion in a republic, signaling her interest in her father’s earlier Federalism while staking her position in the Unitarian controversy of the early 1800s.

More
Brown Bag Notes on Phillis Wheatley: Prodigy, Poetics, and the Science of the Human, 1761-1800 13 July 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Camille Owens, Yale University This talk studies Phillis Wheatley’s significance to the history of black prodigy, focusing ...

This talk studies Phillis Wheatley’s significance to the history of black prodigy, focusing on Wheatley’s education as an enslaved child. It reconstructs Wheatley’s education in relation to early American philosophy and pedagogy of childhood, looking to primers, tract literature, and the influence of Locke. From there, it examines the often-cited (and likely fictionalized) “trials” of Phillis Wheatley—and to Jefferson’s Notes on Wheatley—to show the performance of authenticating and/or discrediting black intellect as a cultural tradition which Wheatley’s literary career inaugurated.

More
Brown Bag Maroon Ecologies: Albery Allson Whitman and the Place of Poetry 27 July 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katherine McIntyre, Columbia University This talk follows the intertwining of race and ecology in Albery Allson Whitman’s 1884 The ...

This talk follows the intertwining of race and ecology in Albery Allson Whitman’s 1884 The Rape of Florida through an analysis of colonial cartographic practices. Using maps to examine the cartographic representation of swamps and other wetlands that permeate the boundary between land and water, this talk opens questions about the porous ecologies of maroon communities and the poetics that follow from such ecologies.

More
August
Brown Bag “The Sons of Britain”: Partisanship & the Origins of the American Revolution in New York City 1 August 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Christopher Minty, Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society In 1775, New York City merchant Frederick Rhinelander told a friend, “if this province ever ...

In 1775, New York City merchant Frederick Rhinelander told a friend, “if this province ever fights, it will be for the King.” Yet Rhinelander’s reasons were not based on New Yorkers’ blind loyalty to George III or Great Britain. Instead, for him and many of his friends, loyalism was a tool to challenge political opponents.

More
Brown Bag The World Becomes Round: Cultural and Commercial Connections between Bombay Parsis and Yankees, 1771-1861 8 August 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jennifer Rose, Claremont Graduate University This talk focuses on the commercial and cultural connections between New Englanders and Parsis in ...

This talk focuses on the commercial and cultural connections between New Englanders and Parsis in Bombay from the 1770s to the 1850s. Commercially, the Parsis began to act as agent-brokers for Massachusetts merchants in the late 1780s. But Parsi Zoroastrian religious ideas and rituals were already known to at least a few readers in New England by spring of 1772, when the first European translations of Zoroastrian texts were sent, at Benjamin Franklin’s recommendation, to the Redwood Athenaeum’s librarian.

More
More events
Brown Bag Are We Descended from Puritans or Pagans?: New England’s Critique of Manifest Destiny this event is free 23 May 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Daniel Burge, University of Alabama

This talk examines the religious critique of manifest destiny put forth by New Englanders from 1848-1871. Although manifest destiny is often portrayed as an ideology rooted in Puritan theology, this talk explores how opponents of expansion in New England used religion to castigate and separate themselves from this ideology.

close
Brown Bag Conjuring Emancipation: Making Freedom in the U.S. Civil War’s Refugee Camps this event is free 30 May 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Abigail Cooper, Brandeis University

Black Americans did not just pray for emancipation, they conjured it. This project examines the political work of revival in wartime refugee camps and envisions emancipation as a religious event. It reckons with religion as a mediating force between the enslaved and the state, asking "Who belongs and how?" for those negotiating statelessness and peoplehood in the midst of self-emancipation.

close
Brown Bag Genres of the Mind: 19th-Century American Literature and the Idea of Intelligence this event is free 4 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Ittai Orr, Yale University

While the measurement of human intelligence is now fully in the purview of science, antebellum novelists and poets engaged in public debate over its meaning. Key to recovering this contentious field are the student essays of Richard Henry Dana, Jr. and Henry David Thoreau for Harvard professor Edward Channing in 1836.

close
Brown Bag Projecting Power in the Dawnland: Empires, Native Americans, & Settlement Schemes in the Gulf of Maine, 1710-1800 this event is free 6 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Alexandra Montgomery, University of Pennsylvania

In the eighteenth century, the far northeastern coast of North America had more in common with the trans-Appalachian west than the white settler colonial east. This talk examines British and French efforts to import white settlers in an attempt to change these demographic and political realities. These state projects offer a different view of the role of settlement in 18th-century North American empires.

close
Brown Bag "We have no need for Virginia Trade": New England Tobacco in the Atlantic World this event is free 11 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrew Rutledge, University of Michigan

This talk examines tobacco’s role in the agriculture, commerce, and political economy of New England. By the 18th-century, tobacco figured prominently in the region, and was exported in large quantities to Dutch Suriname and to West African slave traders. Tobacco was a true “Atlantic Commodity;” and, just as in the southern colonies, it drew New England farmers into the world of Atlantic slavery.

close
Brown Bag U.S. Monarchism in the Middle East?: Orientalism, American Travelers, and Arab Rulers this event is free 15 June 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Adam Mestyan, Duke University

The origins of the United States are often framed as anti-monarchist, yet Americans entertain a fascination with monarchs and royalty. Is it possible to create a taxonomy of popular Orientalist images of modern Muslim and Arab rulership in the United States? Next to foreign policy considerations and economic interests, this talk searches for the private views of American travelers about modern Muslim and Arab rulers in the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

close
Brown Bag Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Black Children's Cultural and Political Resistance this event is free 18 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Crystal Webster, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston during the late-18th to early-20th centuries by focusing on Black children's labor, play, and schooling. It argues that northern Black children intersected shifting constructions of race and childhood, as a group upon which society experimented with treatments of the newly recognized social category of the child, and came to terms with the social and economic place of the nascent free Black community.

close
Brown Bag Picturing Modernism in the Work and Archive of Henry Adams this event is free 20 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Fernandez, Columbia University

This talk examines three interrelated elements of Henry Adams’s literary output: his transnational focus, his reconsideration of subject/object relations, and his interest in the visual arts. While travelling during the 1890s, Adams took a break from writing to immerse himself in painting and sketching—after which he produced acclaimed works like Chartres and The Education. His time abroad represents an important transitional moment between the Romanticism of the nineteenth century and the Modernism of the twentieth century.

close
Brown Bag Cut from the Same Cloth: Salem, Zanzibar, and the Consolidation of the Indo-Atlantic World, 1820-1870 this event is free 22 June 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Joshua Morrison, University of Virginia

This talk explores the economic and cultural exchange between New England and Zanzibar, the premier entrepôt of the Western Indian Ocean. This trade network linked the cotton magnates of Massachusetts with the Omani elite, Indian merchants, and Swahili slaves of Zanzibar. As the trade expanded, each close-knit community found themselves increasingly dependent on an incredibly foreign counterpart for survival. This project maps the many compromises, adaptations, and concessions made in the name of profit.

close
Brown Bag Dis-Union: Disability and the U.S. Civil War this event is free 25 June 2018.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jean Franzino, Beloit College

This talk will examine the emerging legal category of the “disabled” American at the end of the nineteenth century in relation to the construction of disability in Civil War literature, broadly conceived. In texts ranging from hospital newspaper poetry to mendicant narratives sold for veterans’ financial support, representations of Civil War injury engaged shifting understandings of disability: from individual condition to evolving social class.

close
Brown Bag The Gendering of Diaspora: Irish American Women Teachers and the Rise of the Irish American Elite, 1880‒1920 this event is free 27 June 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Judith Harford, University College Dublin

Focusing on the period 1880‒1920, the peak of Irish emigration to the United States, this talk examines the education, professional training and wider public activism of first-generation Irish American women teachers.

close
Brown Bag Disestablishing Virtue: Federalism, Religion, and New England Women Writers this event is free 11 July 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gretchen Murphy, University of Texas at Austin

This talk examines the religious expressions of 18th- and 19th-century female Federalist writers, specifically Catharine Sedgwick, in the context of the Federalist commitment to public religion. Sedgwick’s 1824 novel Redwood looks to the French Revolution as a site of U.S. debate about role of religion in a republic, signaling her interest in her father’s earlier Federalism while staking her position in the Unitarian controversy of the early 1800s.

close
Brown Bag Notes on Phillis Wheatley: Prodigy, Poetics, and the Science of the Human, 1761-1800 this event is free 13 July 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Camille Owens, Yale University

This talk studies Phillis Wheatley’s significance to the history of black prodigy, focusing on Wheatley’s education as an enslaved child. It reconstructs Wheatley’s education in relation to early American philosophy and pedagogy of childhood, looking to primers, tract literature, and the influence of Locke. From there, it examines the often-cited (and likely fictionalized) “trials” of Phillis Wheatley—and to Jefferson’s Notes on Wheatley—to show the performance of authenticating and/or discrediting black intellect as a cultural tradition which Wheatley’s literary career inaugurated.

close
Brown Bag Maroon Ecologies: Albery Allson Whitman and the Place of Poetry this event is free 27 July 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katherine McIntyre, Columbia University

This talk follows the intertwining of race and ecology in Albery Allson Whitman’s 1884 The Rape of Florida through an analysis of colonial cartographic practices. Using maps to examine the cartographic representation of swamps and other wetlands that permeate the boundary between land and water, this talk opens questions about the porous ecologies of maroon communities and the poetics that follow from such ecologies.

close
Brown Bag “The Sons of Britain”: Partisanship & the Origins of the American Revolution in New York City this event is free 1 August 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Christopher Minty, Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society

In 1775, New York City merchant Frederick Rhinelander told a friend, “if this province ever fights, it will be for the King.” Yet Rhinelander’s reasons were not based on New Yorkers’ blind loyalty to George III or Great Britain. Instead, for him and many of his friends, loyalism was a tool to challenge political opponents.

close
Brown Bag The World Becomes Round: Cultural and Commercial Connections between Bombay Parsis and Yankees, 1771-1861 this event is free 8 August 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jennifer Rose, Claremont Graduate University

This talk focuses on the commercial and cultural connections between New Englanders and Parsis in Bombay from the 1770s to the 1850s. Commercially, the Parsis began to act as agent-brokers for Massachusetts merchants in the late 1780s. But Parsi Zoroastrian religious ideas and rituals were already known to at least a few readers in New England by spring of 1772, when the first European translations of Zoroastrian texts were sent, at Benjamin Franklin’s recommendation, to the Redwood Athenaeum’s librarian.

close

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