Liberty’s Daughers and Sons: Celebrating the Legacy of Mary Beth Norton

The conference planned in honor of Mary Beth Norton’s career now has a program posted online, as well as new information about accomodations for the big weekend, September 28 and 29, 2012.

This could be your chance to meet Tenured Radical, who’s chairing the first panel on Friday morning the 28th! Alas, I will not be able to be there myself, much as I had hoped.

One last comment: did we really need to include “liberty’s sons” in the conference title? I know Norton has had some distinguished men students, but couldn’t we for one weekend have assumed that the female was the universal default? Few traditional historians of the American Revolution pause to reflect on the exclusivity of the “Sons of Liberty,” so why do should feminists be so scrupulous?

6 thoughts on “Liberty’s Daughers and Sons: Celebrating the Legacy of Mary Beth Norton

  1. Agreed. I guess maybe the demo/lution of the menzfolks to the party of the second part in the title was viewed as a suitable sort of suspended sentence. But yes on the u. default part. (I just came from a “Suds of Liberty” event in a colonial eastern seaport that could also furnish the text for a reflection on the gendering of frothy-bubblemaking in the early modern world).

    I can never look upon the name *Cengage* Learning– whether in an e-mail inviting me to “design my own survey text” or as the sponsor of an academic sideboard eating/drinking event–without cringing at the notion of cutesy, corporate, computer-generated neologism as a practice that has a legitimate place at the table of linguistic play. It’s like the proverbial “nails-on-blackboard” (or I guess they would say e-cursor on whiteboard) experience, and I never buy their stuff.


  2. Actually, Historiann, I was the one who insisted that my male students had to be recognized as a part of this event. Tom Foster, Fritz Umbach, Gavin Campbell, Michael Winship, J.M. Opal, and other men were just as much my students as were Lisa Norling, Celia Naylor, Marylynn Salmon, Molly Warsh, Kate Haulman, Vivian Conger, Susanah Shaw Romney, and other women, including your own colleague Ruth Alexander. I refuse to omit them from this event, or to subsume them under ‘daughters’–I don’t believe in this case that ‘turnabout is fair play’–ie, that just because women were once seen as a part of ‘mankind,’ men now have to be seen as a part of ‘womankind.’


  3. Mary Beth–thanks for your comment.

    If the organizers wanted to riff on one of your book titles and they had asked me, they could have called your conference just “Founding Mother,” and have left the children out of it entirely!


  4. As a gay son of liberty, not sure where this overly-engendered discussion would leave me on the invitation list; and I know a few of MB’s former male students who would volunteer to take the title ‘daughter’. Hmmmmm . . . . this will be a great couple of days. Guns of September, or was that August.


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