October 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Emotion and Violence in American Politics during the Antebellum Period, Oct. 16

Dr. Joanne Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, will deliver the 37th Costa Lecture in History.

Freeman’s talk, “The Field of Blood: Congressional Violence in Antebellum America,” is Thursday, Oct. 16, at 7:30, in the Baker University Center Ballroom B. All members of the University and Athens community are invited. A reception follows the talk.

Dr. Joanne Freeman

Dr. Joanne Freeman

Freeman is a specialist in the politics and political culture of the revolutionary and national periods of American history. She is the author of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic (Yale University Press), among other publications, and editor of Alexander Hamilton: Writings (Library of America). Her work has explored the political meaning and repercussions of patterns of behavior in the late-18th and early-19th century Americans—behaviors as varied as participation in elections, dueling, and slandering.

More recently, Freeman has turned her attention to emotions, arguing that “if masses of people in a given place and time were amused, disgusted, or frightened in similar ways on similar occasions, this suggests larger, shared assumptions that require exploration.”

In her current book project, and in the lecture she will deliver at Ohio University, Freeman explores emotion expressed through physical violence in that most central of all American political institutions: Congress. Focusing on the three decades leading to the Civil War, she promises to enrich the audience’s understanding of the ways Americans, through their institutions, and sometimes guided by their passions, faced the challenges of a developing democracy in an era of growing sectionalism.

The Costa Lecture Series, hosted annually by the Department of History, is made possible thanks to a generous donation from the late Mrs. Helen Coast Hayes, who had a passion for history and hoped that through this endowed lecture series others would have the opportunity to hear and learn from top experts in the field.


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