Listening To Lucretia Mott: New Directions In Religion, Rights, And Activism

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The Seventeenth Berkshire Conference On The History Of Women, Genders, And Sexualities


This roundtable considers the significance of the sixty-year public career of Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) to the history of nineteenth-century transatlantic activism. After a brief moment of scholarly attention marking the 100th anniversary of her death, historians have neglected Mott, arguably the most influential American female activist of her time. Beginning with the publication of the Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott (2002), a biography titled Lucretia Mott’s Heresy (2011), and now Lucretia Mott Speaks: The Essential Speeches and Sermons (forthcoming 2017), there has been renewed attention to Mott as a Quaker minister, abolitionist, woman’s rights advocate, pacifist, freethinker, correspondent, and speaker. The panelists will consider how Mott’s vocal, confrontational, and networked activism, as well as her newly accessible letters and speeches, offer opportunities for research on the complex relationship between religion and reform. The scholars on this roundtable assess Mott’s importance from the perspective of three fields: history, religion, and documentary editing. Two distinguished historians, Anne Boylan and Nancy Hewitt, will discuss her role in the intertwined histories of antislavery, women’s rights, and nineteenth-century movements for equality. As a foremost scholar of Quakerism and related Christian traditions, Ellen Ross will address the intersection of religion and activism in Mott’s life. Finally, Beverly Wilson Palmer, an accomplished documentary editor, will discuss the connection between Mott’s letters and her speeches and sermons. Carol Faulkner, author of the most recent biography, will moderate.


The Seventeenth Berkshire Conference On The History Of Women, Genders, And Sexualities

Conference Dates

June 1-4, 2017

Conference Location

Hempstead, NY