Saturday, May 10, 2014


I'm embarking on a busy week this week, so I don't know that I'll have a lot of time to blog.

I've got a stack of books with me (of course), so if I can, I'm going to try to post about some of them along the way.

Right now, I'm reading The English Patient, by Ondaatje, and very much enjoying it.  (And not just because I keep picturing Ralph Fiennes.)

I also have a book by Jane Kamensky, Governing the Tongue: the Politics of Speech in Early New England (1997), that I'm going to try to delve into as well.

I'm really interested in the trial of Anne Hutchinson.  In 1637, Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Governor John Winthrop for questioning the church's authority over the behavior of community members.

I'm planning to spend a little time later this month researching the trial itself, since I can find time to access various archives a bit more easily when the semester isn't on.

I'm fascinated by the historical phenomenon of outspoken and articulate women--in case you couldn't tell.  So I'm hoping to spend the summer reading and thinking (and maybe writing) a bit about Hutchinson's case.

I think it is really interesting to examine the strategies of power that people deploy when attempting to silence someone with whom they don't agree (for whatever reason).  I find that looking at historical examples of these kinds of incidents offers an entirely new perspective on the conversations and exchanges occurring in the world around us today.

It can give us all kinds of insight into what it means to hold one's tongue--and the implications (social, moral, political, ethical) of choosing to do so, both then and now.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."