Conference at Tufts University: "Fear in the Revolutionary Americas"


Friday, October 31, 2014 (All day)


Tufts University - for parking see

All are welcome, please RSVP: Ms. Khalilah Tyre, administrator of the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT)   |   email:

Directions to Tufts, parking, campus map can be found here:
Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT), the Department of History, the Center for the Study of Race & Democracy, Latin American Studies, and the Department of Romance Languages
Program (all sessions will be held in the Coolidge Room, Ballou Hall)
9:00 Welcome Jonathan Wilson, Director of CHAT
9:15-11:15 Session 1: Disruptions of Power and the Uses of Fear
Chair: Kendra Field, Tufts University
Edward Rugemer, Yale University, “Fear of Slave Violence in Jamaica and South Carolina during the American Revolution”
Nicole Eustace, New York University, “Republics of Saints? Fear and Virtue in the Age of Revolutions”
Karen Racine, University of Guelph, “Wars to the Death: Annihilation and Identity in Spanish America’s Independence Era”
11:45-12:45 Keynote 1: Alan Taylor, University of Virginia, “Fear and Loathing in the American Revolution”
12:45-1:45 Lunch break
2:00-4:00 Session 2: Fearful Rumors and Wars of Resistance
Chair: Nina Gerassi-Navarro, Tufts University
David Nichols, Indiana State University, “Capitalizing on Fear: Violence, Insecurity, and Negotiation in Native North America, 1750-1830”
Marcela Echeverri, Yale University, “Pasto’s Invincible Liberators”
Anne Eller, Yale University, “’Tomorrow you will be slaves’: Spanish Annexation (1861-1865) and Popular Discontent on Hispaniola”
4:15-5:15 Keynote 2: David Geggus, University of Florida, “Fear, Greed, and the Haitian Revolution”
5:15-5:45: Roundtable discusson: Chris Schmidt-Nowara, Tufts University and Ben Carp, Brooklyn College
            As part of the ongoing efforts to commemorate and to reflect upon the bicentennials of Latin American independence and the crisis of the Spanish Empire, this conference will explore the role of fear in shaping anti-colonial and anti-slavery struggles, imperial retrenchment, and early nation building in a hemispheric framework.  The imperial and anti-colonial wars of the era inspired tales of terror about political violence, social inversion, and counter-revolution.  Popular groups grasped for power, seeking to overturn colonial hierarchies that were rooted in extreme forms of inequality.  In turn, colonial and metropolitan elites might unleash their own furies, using fear and coercion to uphold old or emerging forms of privilege, wealth, and status.

            This conference will examine the state of scholarship on fear and political violence in the revolutionary Americas.  Did fear influence decisions to revolt, or to remain loyal?  Did it shape post-revolutionary states and societies (both colonial and independent)?  How was fear expressed, transmitted, and harnessed?

            Taking advantage of the bicentennial of the Spanish counter-revolution in Venezuela and Colombia (the Viceroyalty of New Granada) launched in 1814 and 1815, we will seek to incorporate the broad sweep of revolutionary—and counter-revolutionary—movements in the colonial Americas, seeking out both comparisons and connections.