APSA Short Course on Hannah Mather Crocker

WOMEN AND DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, 1630-2018:

CELEBRATING THE BICENTENNIAL OF AMERICA’S FIRST BOOK ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS

The Hannah Mather Crocker Society and The Wollstonecraft Philosophical Society are co-hosting an American Political Science Association Pre-Conference Short Course at the Massachusetts Historical Society on Wednesday August 29, 2018 from noon-4pm, followed by a reception for registered participants at the Colonial Society of Massachusetts from 5pm-7pm.  

This exciting interdisciplinary short course, which will bring together over 20 scholars from political science, political theory, literature, philosophy, and history to examine the enduring significance of Hannah Mather Crocker’s Observations on the Real Rights of Women (Boston, 1818), the first book-length treatise on women’s rights by an American. We will situate this understudied classic in the context of Crocker’s life (1752-1829) as a woman political actor and writer who bridged the colonial, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary eras in Boston. We will also examine the question of why the Observations and other political work by women in the early American republic mattered for later iterations of republican, democratic, and feminist theory and practice in the United States.

This APSA pre-conference short course will be held at the Massachusetts Historical Society (1151 Boylston Street), a short walking distance from the APSA meeting at the Hynes Convention Center. We will have name tags for you on site.

Noon-2pm  Brownbag lunch and roundtable on “Why Hannah Mather Crocker’s Observations on the Real Rights of Women Matters at 200.”

Constance Post (English, Iowa State)

Alea Henle (History, Miami University)

Sarah L. Houser (Political Theory, American University)

Eileen Hunt Botting (Political Theory, Notre Dame)

Sandra Gustafson (English, Notre Dame)

Penny Weiss (Political Theory and Women’s Studies, St. Louis University)


Roundtable panelists will each give 10 minute presentations followed by approximately 45 minutes of discussion with the audience.

Chair: Eileen Hunt Botting (Notre Dame)

Lunch catered by Whole Foods care of The Hannah Mather Crocker Society 


2pm-3pm.  Keynote by Sandra Gustafson (English, Notre Dame), author of Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early Republic (2011), on “Women and Democracy in the 19th Century.”


Response by Lisa Pace Vetter (Political Science, University of Maryland-Baltimore County), author of The Political Thought of America’s Founding Feminists (2017).


30-minute discussion with participants to follow the short keynote lecture (20 minutes) and response (10 minutes).

Chair: Eileen Hunt Botting (Political Theory, Notre Dame)


3pm-4pm.  200th birthday party for Crocker’s Observations on the Real Rights of Women. Cake and refreshments followed by a tour of MHS and its special exhibit on women in the early American republic, in honor of Crocker.

Cake and refreshments catered by Whole Foods care of The Hannah Mather Crocker Society.


4pm-5pm. Break to explore Boston and its historical sites related to Crocker, the American Revolution, and the early republic.


5pm-7pm.   Reception (drinks and hors-d’oeuvres) for registered participants, hosted and sponsored by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 87 Mount Vernon Street.

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