MHS Calendar of Events
This panel will consider two papers exploring the world of early American religious culture through the lens of carceral conversions. Daniel Bottino’s essay will explore the 38 page conversion narrative of Patience Boston, a Native American woman hanged for murder in York, Maine, in 1735. The document offers an extraordinary opportunity for an exploration of religious culture in New England on the verge of the Whitefieldian awakenings of the 1740s. When examined in its proper historical context, the narrative reveals the spiritual power capable of being wielded even by the most socially marginal people in the intensely religious atmosphere of early eighteenth-century New England. Justin Clark’s essay will show that as Congregationalist New England’s eighteenth-century revivalists offered a brief window of spiritual hope for thousands of sinners, civil authorities began to extend additional periods of time to the region’s condemned convicts. This paper examines the emergence of these extended capital reprieves and their relationship to the accelerated spiritual conversions outside gaol walls. What role did the revivals play in encouraging New Englanders before the penitentiary to re-conceive of carceral time as transformative in itself?
The Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.
Please note, this is a virtual event hosted on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive a confirmation message with attendance information.