“A Colonizing Peace: The Quaker Struggle for Gospel Order in Early America” (book manuscript in progress)
My book project argues that Pennsylvania Quakers became the leading humanitarian reformers in the Atlantic world through their engagement in slavery, colonialism, and imperial warfare. Quakers, like other Anglo-Americans, viewed household governance as a metaphor for the state. As Quakers colonized Pennsylvania, their distinctive method of religious discipline, which they called “gospel order,” became the primary means by which they negotiated their relationship to colonial violence. My research demonstrates how violence shaped Anglo-American humanitarianism in the British Atlantic and advances our understanding of how peace was central to the legitimation of authority and the racial and gendered ordering of the Pennsylvania frontier.
“Specters of Peace in Histories of Violence,” Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah, August 14-15, 2015
I co-organized a national conference on peace and violence with John Smolenski, associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis. The conference featured a dozen scholars who addressed the entangled relationship between peace and violence in the colonial Americas. The conference defined “peace” broadly, framing it as a discourse on governance and as a set of disciplinary practices aimed at shaping, regulating, or limiting violence. Our contention was that scholars underappreciate the importance of peace — both historically and as a category of analysis — to understanding how colonial Americans confronted violence as a moral problem; how ideologies of peace informed popular and political debates about violence, warfare, and colonialism; and how peace was woven through the myriad interactions between and among settlers, Native Americans, and people of African descent. Dr. Wayne Lee, professor of history and chair of the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was the keynote speaker.