Conference: Fighting Words: Polemical Literature in the Age of Democratic Revolutions
This conference seeks to bring together perspectives from political history, the history of the book and political philosophy to illuminate the role of printed polemical literature – everything from treatises to pamphlets to broadsheets to newspapers – in driving political change during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What was the importance of these different printed media in seizing the attention of the literate publics of the day, pushing them towards collective action, and mobilizing them to achieve particular political goals? The conference will also consider the questions of how the role of polemical literature varied in different geographical settings (North America, France, Britain, the Caribbean), and how the flow of news and opinion from country to country influenced events. The conference will have four consecutive panels, each of which will be centered both around a set of questions, and around a representative text from the period. There will also be a keynote address by Robert Darnton.
The conference is sponsored by the History Department, and its Eighteenth-Century Seminar (directed by David Bell, Linda Colley and Yair Mintzker), with additional support from Princeton’s Council of the Humanities, and its Center for Human Values.
Conference Schedule and Participants:
Friday, April 15
Location: 300 Wallace Hall
- Barbara Oberg, Princeton University
- Alec Dun, Princeton University
- Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins University
Saturday, April 16
Location: 300 Wallace Hall
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Panel Discussion: “Words of Conscience.” Centerpiece: Thomas Clarkson, An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, particularly the African.
- Emma Rothschild, Harvard University
- Sankar Muthu, University of Chicago
- Susan Juster, University of Michigan
The panel will consider the way publications sought to prick the conscience of their readers, to transform particular issues into issues of conscience, and to prompt action on them. Particular issues will include slavery, imperialism, and religious intolerance.
11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.: Break
Linda Colley, Princeton University
Jay M. Smith, University of North Carolina
Robert A. Gross, University of Connecticut
Sophia Rosenfeld, Yale University
Carla Hesse, University of California, Berkeley
Jack Rakove, Stanford University
Travel and Lodging Information:
Princeton University is equidistant from both the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Newark International Airport (EWR). The university is also conveniently located near the New Jersey Transit northeast corridor train line, and close to I-95, Route 1, and the New Jersey Turnpike. There are public and private parking lots available in the town of Princeton, metered street parking surrounding the campus, and a large visitor parking lot (Lot 21) at the end of campus.
While there is no hotel room block reserved for this conference, there are a number of lovely hotels conveniently located near campus. We recommend Hyatt Place, Marriot Residence Inn Princeton at Carnegie Center, and Hyatt Regency.