Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War
How did Americans in the generations following the Declaration of Independence translate its lofty ideals into practice? In this broadly synthetic work, distinguished historian Richard Brown shows that despite its founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with every form of social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices and beliefs.Brown illustrates how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.
Richard D. Brown is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, and the Founding Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut. His previous books include Knowledge Is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700–1865;The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in Early America, 1650-1870; and the coauthored microhistory The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America.
Frederick Biggs Professor of English, Co-Director of Medieval Studies, received a CLAS book fund award.
"I have been involved for most of my career in a vast, collaborative project called SASLC, the Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture. As the name suggests, we have set out to survey all of the classical and medieval works that allowed creative minds in England before the Norman Conquest (1066) to compose works such as Beowulf that have endured through the centuries because they continue to teach us. But times do change, as the image opposite from a Bible produced in England under the direction of Bede (d. 735) may remind us: all knowledge no longer fits in a single bookcase. Jumping over that minor invention of 1451, printing, we are now in an age when books based on big data must be supported electronically,
and for the good of scholarship, in open-access form. One part is a wiki that we can run for free (https://saslc.wikispaces.com). But another is the construction of a database robust enough to handle many kinds of information, allowing all to be search in multiple ways. In collaboration with the University of Amsterdam Press and thanks to the support of the CLAS book fund, the volumes on Bede that George Hardin Brown and I have completed as part of the larger project will receive that support."
Bede. Part 1, Faxcles 1-4. George Hardin Brown and Frederick M. Biggs. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017.
Bede. Part 2, Faxcles 1-4. George Hardin Brown and Frederick M. Biggs. Forthcoming. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
From the Introduction:
In any account of the literary culture of Anglo-Saxon England, Bede must loom large. While only one of many distinctive voices for whom we have a written record, Bede stands out as the author who turned a lifetime of study into the widest-ranging corpus of writings, many of which continued to influence later generations. Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, and Hadrian, abbot of St Peter’s Canterbury, may have been better educated and more able teachers. Aldhelm, the Beowulf-poet, and, to choose one more example from among many, Cynewulf may have written better verse. Boniface, archbishop and martyr, may have changed more lives through his mission. Alcuin, abbot of Tours, may have carried English scholarship more effectively to the Continent. Alfred the Great’s support of education may have occurred at a more crucial moment in English history. Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, and Oswald, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York, may have instituted a more significant reform. Ælfric, abbot of Eynsham, and Wulfstan, archbishop of York, may have preached better sermons. Bede, however, left writings that demonstrate his skills and influence in all these areas, ones that those who followed him, as these entries and the ones that will complete this survey in the next volume of SASLC show, would almost certainly have known.
Evaluating Bede’s place in this literary culture is sometimes complicated because, as these works demonstrate, his own reading, which was both wide and deep, appears often in his writing. When in the well-known autobiographical passage at the end of the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (V.xxiv) he spoke of having been sent at the age of seven by his kinsmen to enter the monastery of Monkwearmouth.
Michael Lynch Director of the Humanities Institute.
Humility means seeing your worldview as open to improvement by the evidence & experience of others.
The more we read and watch online, the harder it becomes to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. It’s as if we know more but understand less, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In this talk, he dares us to take active steps to burst our filter bubbles and participate in the common reality that actually underpins everything.
‘The Sale of Parga in the Nationalist Imaginary of 19th Century Italy:1819-1858’
Italian Literature and Cultural Studies
A lecture given by Professor Dorothy Roberts on Wednesday April 26, 2017 at the Student Union Theater that had over 100 people in attendance. It was the final event in an active year for The University of Connecticut Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color. Photos are from the lecture at the Student Union and UCHI was proud to lend support for the research, outreach, and activism from the Women and Girls of Color program.
- Peter Carruthers (Philosophy, Maryland)
- Katherine Cronin (Lincoln Park Zoo)
- Hans-Johann Glock (Philosophy, Zurich)
- Lori Gruen (Philosophy, Wesleyan)
- William Hopkins (Psychology, Emory & Georgia State)
- Kristin Leimgruber (Psychology, Harvard)
- Darcia Narvaez (Psychology, Notre Dame)
- Gary Comstock & William Bauer (Philosophy, NC State)
- Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves (Environmental Studies, NYU)
- Kelsey Gipe (Philosophy, Maryland)
2:00-3:00PM Registration & Welcome
2:15-2:30PM Opening Remarks
2:30-3:45PM Lori Gruen - "Empathy in Mind"
4:00-5:00PM Kelsey Gipe - "Empathy and the Problem of Altruism"
5:15-6:30PM Kristin Leimgruber - "Sensitivity to Social Rewards and the Evolution of Uniquely Human Prosocial Behavior: Evolution from Young Children and Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella)"
9:30-10:00AM Breakfast - Coffee & Bagels
10:00-11:15AM Peter Carruthers - "Basic Questions"
11:30-12:30PM Gary Comstock* - "Psychological Unity in First-Order Accounts of Metacognitive Behavior in Animals"
12:30-1:30PM Lunch! (sandwiches, etc. provided)
1:30-2:45PM Hans-Johann Glock - "Determinacy of Content -- The Hard Problem about Animal Thinking"
3:00-4:00PM Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - "Meaning in the Lives of Humans and Other Animals"
4:15-5:30PM Darcia Narvaez - "Humanity's Evolved Nest and its Co-Construction of Human Nature and Morality"
6:30PM Workshop Dinner at Chang's Garden
Saturday May 13th:
9:30-10:00AM Breakfast - Coffee & Bagels
10:00-11:15AM William Hopkins - "Cognitive Neuroscience Research with Chimpanzees and Other Great Apes: Benefiting Human Health and Improving Animal Welfare"
11:30-12:45PM Katherine A. Cronin - "Advancing Primate Welfare Through Science at a Modern Zoo"
12:45-2:00PM Lunch! (sandwiches, etc. provided)
2:00-3:30PM Panel Discussion
* Joint work with William Bauer.
"Six men, all artists, find their way to New York City at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and find friendship and love. They are also crushed emotionally and creatively by capitalism."
‘The Origins of Majority Rule’
William Bulman – Associate Professor of History and Global Studies (Lehigh University)
When: 28 April 2017 2:00-3:30
Where: University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, Homer Babbidge Library, 4th floor.
The majority vote is the foundational element of representative assemblies, party politics, and democracy in today’s world. While nearly all academics and the public at large have come to see this way of making decisions as natural to the political realm, it is actually an historical accident. The prevalence of the majority vote today is due to the fact that it suddenly became the practice of the English House of Commons and the North American colonial assemblies when the Britain’s empire first took shape. Yet this process has never been narrated or explained. Professor Bulman’s talk will introduce us to his current project, which aims to do both.
In partnership with the Dodd Center, and E.O. Smith High School, Humility & Conviction in Public Life hosted a National Issues Forum (NIF) Moderator Training designed to introduce participants to the concepts, skills, and issues associated with moderating and recording public deliberations that could facilitate intellectually humble dialogue. This was followed by a forum with students and faculty from E.O. Smith High School. Run by Glenn Mitoma (Dodd Center), and planned in collaboration with Joe Goldman (E.O. Smith) and Brendan Kane (HCPL), the forum considered the issues of food justice and security, making use of the brand new NIF Guide:Land of Plenty: How Should We Ensure that People Have the Food They Need?.pdf
There were over 130 E.O. Smith students, and was facilitated by UConn undergrads, graduate students, staff, and UConn and E.O. Smith faculty.
Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies, received a CLAS book fund award
My book, The Illustrated Slave: Empathy, Graphic Narrative, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800–1852 (University of Georgia Press 2017) centrally concerns the way the enslavement was represented in both pro- and anti-abolitionist visual materials such as illustrated books, cartoons, posters, broadsides, paintings, lithographs, and other print culture artifacts. Due to this content, the book contains over 80 black-and-white illustrations and 16 color ones. The CLAS book fund was instrumental in bringing the book into print in the form in which I envisioned it because the grant was used to offset some of the expense of color illustrations in the text. Because the illustrations—especially the color ones—are integral to the argument I make in the book as a whole about how abolitionism used visual material, some part of my argument would have been lost without the financial support of this fund. I cannot stress enough how helpful this fund was in bringing the manuscript into print in the form in which I envisioned it, and with the argument intact. I strongly urge others who have manuscript support needs to apply through the simple and straightforward process the CLAS Book Fund has established.
The Illustrated Slave:
Empathy, Graphic Narrative, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800–1852
Martha J. Cutter
The University of Connecticut
From the 1787 Wedgwood antislavery medallion featuring the image of an enchained and pleading black body to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave (2013), slavery as a system of torture and bondage has fascinated the optical imagination of the transatlantic world. Scholars have examined various aspects of the visual culture that was slavery, yet an important piece of this visual culture has gone unexamined: the popular and frequently reprinted antislavery illustrated books published prior to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) that were utilized extensively by the antislavery movement in the first half of the nineteenth century.
This book discusses some of the more innovative works in the archive of antislavery illustrated books published from 1800-1850, alongside other visual materials that depict enslavement, such as broadsides, paintings, comics, and abolitionist pamphlets. Martha J. Cutter argues that some illustrated antislavery narratives—such as those by Henry Bibb and Henry Box Brown—contain a radical reading protocol that stresses interrelationship with the enslaved rather than separation between a white and black viewer. By contrasting these works with Stowe’s more famous illustrated book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), she argues for a seditious visual presence in antislavery discourse—one that portrays the enslaved as obtaining a degree of control over narrative and lived experiences, even if these figurations entail a sense that the story of slavery is sometimes beyond representation itself.
Available in August from Amazon:
Or the University of Georgia Press: