J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Conference on Revolutionary Women Coming Up in 2014

Next June, the Sons of the American Revolution will hold its annual conference in Colonial Williamsburg, and its theme will be “Women in the Era of the American Revolution.”

The organization is now inviting papers for presentation at the event. The announcement says that conference
will examine and reconsider our understanding of the lives of women during a time of political and economic upheaval, social change, and armed conflict that we call the “era of the American Revolution.”

Papers may examine any dimension of women’s lives and gender roles at this time. During a period of significant disruptions in daily life and changed expectations of what a woman’s place in a marriage, the household, and the community “ought” to be, they assumed multiple roles. They displayed patriotism by supporting boycotts of British goods and encouraging manufacturing at home; they raised funds to feed and clothe the troops; they supported the family by managing the farm or family business while a husband fought; some followed the armies in supporting roles; and some were soldiers. Others remained loyal to the British crown.
And presumably displayed their own patriotism by doing so.
Over these years, they wrote poetry, essays, plays, and fiction, exchanged letters with family members and friends, and kept journals. These records, public and private, yield countless stories that allow us to construct a fuller, more complex, narrative of the period.

The papers should explore in the broadest sense the war’s impact on women’s lives. They may focus on individuals or women as a group, and they need not be strictly confined to the years between the Stamp Act and the Treaty of Paris. The topics may reach back into the colonial era or up into the early nineteenth century as long as they demonstrate a connection to the events of the Revolution. We anticipate that the conference will provide an opportunity and a congenial forum in which to recognize and build upon the pioneering scholarship of generations of historians and at the same time we hope that it will stimulate new research by junior scholars. The resulting conversations and debates will contribute to the critical ongoing effort to understand women’s lives and experiences during the era of the American Revolution.
The conference is scheduled for 20-22 June 2014. The deadline for delivering proposals to Barbara Oberg of Princeton University is 1 December, and those proposals should include “a 250-word abstract and a short C.V.” If your paper is accepted, the S.A.R. will cover travel and lodging costs and offer a $500 honorarium. Plans call for the papers eventually to appear in an edited volume.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and will be dedicated to the late Pauline Maier, a leading historian of Revolutionary America (who reportedly did not have much interest in women’s history as a separate field).

For guidance on topics and approach, here are links for the last four conference programs.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Revolutionary-era women ? Its hard to beat Bathsheba Newcomb, a fiery, independent tavern owner in Sandwich. She married one of the most hated Loyalists in Mass., Timothy Ruggles, but stayed behind when he departed for N.S. after the war. As far as I know, she was also the mother of Bathsheba Spooner, who perpetrated one of the most heinous crimes in New England history.