Communication and Power in Early America

The Institute for Thomas Paine Studies (ITPS) at Iona University will host a hybrid online and in-person symposium on the topic of “Communication and Power in Early America.” This symposium aims to explore how communication shaped, reflected, and challenged power relations in North America from 1750-1850. The organizers have ambitions of extending this conversation through a scholarly anthology and/or a journal special edition. Participants are encouraged to consider this symposium as a potential first step toward publication and will be expected to present their work as well as read and comment on the work of other participants.

The symposium will take place October 6-7, 2023, with both in-person and online opportunities for presentation. The in-person component will take place at the ITPS at Iona University in New Rochelle, New York.

Submissions from scholars of all disciplines include, but are not limited to history, literary studies, communication, media studies, religious studies, ethnic studies, and area studies:

· Communication in shaping imperial power structures

· Communication as a tool of insurgency or conservatism

· New media technologies in early America

· Political rhetoric in the Age of Revolutions

· The role of print culture in shaping public opinion and establishing power structures

· Indigenous practices of knowledge-keeping

· Communication and representative government

· Transformations in communication and performance

· Communication networks within and beyond imperial networks

· Manuscript communication and gossip networks

· Censorship and other forms of repression

· Communicating truth and deception

· Publicity and privacy

· Rumor as a form of communication

Communication and Power Schedule

Friday October 6, 2023, Iona University, LaPenta Business School 209

4:30-6:30pm Communication and State Power

Nora Slonimsky, Iona University, No Title (partisan dimensions of the Wheaton v. Peters first Supreme Court copyright case)

Katlyn Carter, University of Notre Dame, No Title (development of stenography in the early republic)

Amy Sopcak-Joseph, Wilkes University, “The Power of Trade Courtesy for Magazine Publishers in the mid-Nineteenth Century”

Ethan Gonzales, University of Virginia, No Title (the 1790 Contingency Fund)

Comment from: Johann Neem and Ronald Angelo Johnson, Co-Editors, The Journal of the Early Republic

6:30-8:00pm Dinner

Saturday October 7, Iona University, LaPenta Business School 209

8:30-9:00am Coffee and light breakfast

9:00-10:45am Controlling the Narrative

Thomas Augst, New York University, “The Missing Week: Surviving Cancellation in 1840s America”

Tessa Bangs, Columbia University, “How Did Institutions Think? Cultural Brokers, Learned Societies, and the Making of a Nation”

Stuart Anderson-Davis, Columbia University, “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain: The New York Indian Board and the Righteous Case for Removal”

Comment from: Nadine Zimmerli, University of Virginia Press (virtual)

11:00-12:45pm Talking Back

Jonathan Quint, University of Michigan, “‘No news from that quarter”: Information and Empire in the Great Lakes Basin, 1760-1796”

Aston Gonzalez, Salisbury University, “My God! My Child! Will no one help!”: The Adaptable Visual Culture of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Angela Ray, Northwestern University, “Mott versus Dana: Gender and Power on the Lecture Platform”

Comment from: Ivy Wilson, Northwestern University

12:45-2:00pm Lunch (on your own)

2:00-3:45pm Revolutionary Circulations

Helena Yoo Roth, CUNY Graduate Center, The Many Deaths of King George II and Colonial Time-Consciousness

Emily Sneff, The College of William and Mary, “War, Independence, and 75,000 Men: The Declaration of Independence in European Newspapers”

Christopher Lukasik (virtual), Purdue University, “The Politics of the Image and The Limits of Early Anglo-American Abolitionist Media Practice”

Comment from: Julia Gaffield, Interim Editor, The William and Mary Quarterly (virtual), Carolyn Eastman, Book Review Editor, The William and Mary Quarterly, and Nick Popper, Editor of Books, The Omohundro Institute (virtual).

4:30-5:30pm Concluding conversation with the organizers and potential publishers