Political Personhood in the Early Modern British World before 1800 (symposium)

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Sponsored by the Folger Institute Center for the History of British Political Thought

Scheduled for Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday, September 19 – 21, 2019

How does the complex history of how a person is defined shed light on contemporary conceptions of subjectivity, individuality, and citizenship? This symposium gathers invited speakers to open conversations on test cases involving the political philosophy and lived reality of personhood in early modern Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic World. Sessions will consider political personhood in relation to subjecthood and identity; legal rights and responsibilities; dual allegiances; enslaved people; commonwealths and commerce; petitions and protests; and the relationship between human and non-human beings. Scholars from history, legal studies, literature, philosophy, and art history whose work considers these issues are encouraged to apply.

Organizers: The Steering Committee of the Center for the History of British Political Thought: Sharon Achinstein (Johns Hopkins University), David Armitage (Harvard University), Julia Rudolph (North Carolina State University), and Nigel Smith (Princeton University).

Program: A plenary presentation with Lauren Benton (Vanderbilt University) and Paul Halliday (University of Virginia) on Thursday evening will be followed by two days of sessions. Invited speakers include Amanda Bailey (University of Maryland), Kathy Brown (University of Pennsylvania), Urvashi Chakravarty (University of Toronto), Alison Games (Georgetown University), Kinch Hoekstra (University of California at Berkeley), Daniel Hulsebosch (New York University), Hannah Weiss Muller (Brandeis University), Noémie Ndiaye (University of Chicago), Mary Nyquist (University of Toronto), Geoff Plank (University of East Anglia), Philip Stern (Duke University), Robert Travers (Cornell University), Phil Withington (University of Sheffield), and Sue Wiseman (Birkbeck College, University of London)


Provisional Schedule

Unless otherwise specified, all sessions take place in the Foulke Conference Room (located at 301 East Capitol Street, SE)


Thursday evening, 19 September 2019

5:00 pm
Welcome
Owen Williams (Folger Institute)

A Short History of Early Modern Political Personhood
Chair: David Armitage (Harvard University)

Lauren Benton (Vanderbilt University)
Paul Halliday (University of Virginia)

6:30-7:30
Opening Reception (Founders Room)


Friday, 20 September 2019

9:00 am
Coffee and pastries (Foulke Conference Room Lobby)

9:25
Call to Order
Owen Williams (Folger Institute)

9:30
Legal Personhood
Chair: Julia Rudolph (North Carolina State University)

Daniel Hulsebosch (New York University)
Mary Nyquist (University of Toronto)

11:00
Coffee Break

11:30
Non-Human Rights and Personhood
Chair: Sharon Achinstein (Johns Hopkins University)

Amanda Bailey (University of Maryland)
Geoff Plank (University of East Anglia)

1:00 pm
Lunch on your own (suggestions provided in folders)

2:30
Petitions and Protest
Chair: Julia Rudolph (North Carolina State University)

Robert Travers (Cornell University)
Sue Wiseman (Birkbeck College, University of London)

4:00
Break

4:15-5:45
Cosmopolitan and Inter-Imperial Personhood
Chair: Nigel Smith (Princeton University)

Alison Games (Georgetown University)
Noémie Ndiaye (University of Chicago)


Saturday, 21 September 2019

9:00 am
Coffee and Pastries

9:30
Subjecthood
Chair: David Armitage (Harvard University)

Kinch Hoekstra (University of California at Berkeley)
Hannah Weiss Muller (Brandeis University)

11:00
Coffee Break

11:30
Slavery/Enslaved People/Servitude
Chair: Sharon Achinstein (Johns Hopkins University)

Kathy Brown (University of Pennsylvania)
Urvashi Chakravarty (University of Toronto)

1:00 pm
Lunch on your own (suggestions provided in folders)

2:30
Commonwealths & Commerce
Chair: Nigel Smith (Princeton University)

Phil Stern (Duke University)
Phil Withington (University of Sheffield)

4:00
Break

4:15
Reflections

5:30-7:00
Closing Reception (Founders Room)