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Liberty! or Liberty? // Revolution! or Revolution?

We concluded our Age of Revolution seminar by walking Boston’s landmark Freedom Trail with historians and guides from the Boston National Historical Park Service and the Bostonian Society. Nat Sheildly, a historian from the Bostonian Society, discussed the challenges he … Continue reading

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Bringing the Age of Revolution Out of the Classrom

This past semester, the question of how to bring knowledge of the Revolutions out of the classrooms has been a major thread in our seminar’s conversations. When touring the revolutionary collections at the MFA, we discussed the challenges of inserting … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Fries Ellet’s The Women of the American Revolution and the Politics of Historical Appropriation

Our final symposium of the semester featured Jill Lepore, Laurent Dubois, and Howard Brown, with each scholar addressing the broad theme of the “ends of revolution.”  In her talk, Lepore interrogated the ways in which the American Revolution has been … Continue reading

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The Robespierre “Type” in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Our excerpt of Julia Douthwaite’s The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France closed with a persuasive argument that representations of Robespierre post-Terror birthed a new kind of villain: the Enlightenment-bred individual whose good intentions, we might … Continue reading

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Rethinking the Limits of Revolution: Family and the French Revolution

In our symposium and seminar on the topic of the “limits of revolutions”, we talked about the limits of revolution at length- especially in relationship to race and gender. While it is important to recognize the limitations of the Atlantic … Continue reading

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“To Toussaint L’Ouverture” as an Elegy

William Wordsworth’s “To Toussaint L’Ouverture” is one of the frequently discussed literary works in the historical writings on the Age of Revolution. One can easily see why: ostensibly making a hero of Toussaint Louverture, the most prominent revolutionary during the … Continue reading

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Who Counts?: Women and the Title of “Traitor”

While researching primary documents for my bibliography, I stumbled upon a “Black List” of Tories printed in Pennsylvania in 1802. Though I doubted there would be any women among them, there was still that small seed of hope—and simple curiosity … Continue reading

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People, Sources, and Counterrevolution: Or, What to Do with Molly Brant

One of our seminar meetings last semester featured Kathleen DuVal, Amy Freund, and Emma Rothschild, who all shared work dealing with different aspects of “people and revolution.” In introducing her work, Kathleen DuVal spoke of the intrinsic appeal of biography … Continue reading

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Counterrevolutions, Empires, and Canada

“Encampment of the Loyalists in Johnstown,” National Archives of Canada When we think about the relationship between revolution and counterrevolution in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, perhaps we should be thinking about Canada. Modern Canada’s constitutional foundations have their origins in … Continue reading

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Impressions from the MFA: How to (Re)Present the Americas

Last Thursday’s visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was a precious experience. It was one of our ‘laboratory’ sessions of the Sawyer seminar, and we spent most of our time seeing the “Art of Americas” wing, which displayed … Continue reading

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