Consent in Early America, 1600 – 1900
Conference, March 10, 2015
Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
Amy Stanley (University of Chicago)
Holly Brewer (University of Maryland)
The notion of consent plays an important role in our understanding of power in human society. It gives us a way to think about not only when choices are freely made, and when they aren’t, but a whole spectrum that lies in-between.
Questions about consent are questions about people and social relations, about power and the state, and about freedom and its lack. These questions span micro and macro scales, from politeness at a Boston dinner table, to gangs of slaves cutting sugar in Louisiana, to establishing a national government in Philadelphia. The ability to give and to withhold consent helps to determine categories and dynamics of struggle, including gender, race, and class. Consent concerns the problems of coordinated action and coordinated ideas that, we suggest, determine social life and historical change—it’s about who gets to decide, and how. Panellists will share their ideas about these complex issues as they played out in the lives of early Americans, from the first colonisation to the end of the nineteenth century.
9am – Opening Keynote: Holly Brewer
10:30 Panel 1: Marriage, Family and Law (Comment: Carol Sanger (Columbia))
1:00 Panel 2: Government, State Power, and Consent (Comment: Katherine Mooney (FSU))
3:15 Panel 3: Slavery, Labour, and Rape (Comment: Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard))
5:30 Keynote: Amy Stanley
£10. To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, affiliation, and any dietary or accessibility needs.