Abstracts

'These interviews are fascinating and force us to become self-reflective. They show how we shouldn't live our lives in a reactionary way as if it's the first time anyone's ever seen the problems we're dealing with today.' --Julien

Independence, Freedom and Religion in the Early Modern World (Monticello, 1- 4 July 2015)  Overview This meeting explored how independence developed as a general way of thinking about freedom from arbitrary interference and domination over the course of the early modern period.  Moving away from a focus on the development of particular constitutional alternatives to monarchy, it challenged linear narratives of freedom...

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Independence, Freedom and Religion in the Early Modern World Monticello, 1- 4 July 2015  Overview This meeting explored how independence developed as a general way of thinking about freedom from arbitrary interference and domination over the course of the early modern period.  Moving away from a focus on the development of particular constitutional alternatives to monarchy, it challenged linear narratives of freedom by highlighting contingencies and internal conflicts in independent ideology.  Could independent freedom be reconciled with monarchy?  How did independents justify the use of force and violence in securing liberty?  How did those committed to independent freedom reconcile this liberty with domination over others through colonization and slavery?  Were equality and social justice implicit in this understanding of freedom? Independence often developed in analogous ways across politics, religion and society.  Our meeting explored how religious freedom was often an essential question in the development of independent ideology over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  It addressed how religious independents reconceptualized society and relocated individual freedom in relation to ecclesiastical and civil society.  It also explored how independent liberty was a flexible concept that could extend across social, political and religious concerns.
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Religious Freedom and Independence in Central Europe Graeme Murdock, Trinity College Dublin Central Europe undoubtedly provides the most vibrant of early modern religious landscapes. From the Baltic to the Adriatic we find Hussites, Bohemian Brethren, Anabaptists, Antitrinitarians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Greek Catholics. The range of religions in pluralist Central Europe often befuddled visitors from the West...

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Graeme Murdock, Trinity College Dublin Central Europe undoubtedly provides the most vibrant of early modern religious landscapes. From the Baltic to the Adriatic we find Hussites, Bohemian Brethren, Anabaptists, Antitrinitarians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Greek Catholics. The range of religions in pluralist Central Europe often befuddled visitors from the West. The spires and domes of the four Christian cathedrals of Lviv; Catholic, Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Armenian, dazzled travellers to this bustling commercial hub. Away to the north in Vilnius, the capital of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, there were six different Christian communities not to mention the city’s Jews and Muslims. Likewise little in the blood-soaked north-western European lands prepared travellers to comprehend the religious culture of Transylvania during the mid-sixteenth century under János Zsigmond Szapolyai. The Transylvanian diet agreed in 1568 (with admirable economy of style) that “ministers should everywhere preach and proclaim the Gospel according to their understanding of it”. This was the most startling of multi-confessional agreements in the region, but hardly the earliest with agreement between Utraquists and Catholics at the Bohemian town of Kutná Hora in 1485. Pluralism between Christians long predated the rise of Hussitism along the fuzzy border between Latin and Orthodox communities. None of this religious diversity and pluralism (or freedom?) relied on noisy intellectuals proclaiming their own virtue in supporting the values of religious liberty. Rather, it is no coincidence that this pluralistic world developed in the supra-national and decentralised polities of the Habsburgs, Jagiellonians, and Ottomans. This region provided the political space that allowed for the social exchange necessary for the development of such a diverse and rich religious culture. This paper will argue that the religious pluralism of this region also related closely to, and was often a direct and unexpected function of, struggles to maintain political autonomy and independence (whether at the level of towns, estates, or states). This paper will consider and contrast different contexts for this combination of politics, law, and religion in Moravia, Slovakia, and Romania (with a particular eye on towns as critical contexts for religious life), and through these case-studies assess the character of this heartland of early modern religious freedom.  
Independence and the English Revolution:  Justice, Legitimacy and the New Model Army Polly Ha, University of East Anglia   The spring and summer of 1647 remain among the most climactic moments in British history, and the most bedeviled by the history of independency.  Having defeated the King in the English Civil War, Parliament’s New Model Army came to believe that it exercised legitimate political authority in its own right.  Seizing control, it proceeded to purge Parliament of those members who threatened to disband the army and compromise its war aims by sympathizing with the king.  This dramatic political intervention marks a revolutionary turning point...

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Polly Ha, University of East Anglia   The spring and summer of 1647 remain among the most climactic moments in British history, and the most bedeviled by the history of independency.  Having defeated the King in the English Civil War, Parliament’s New Model Army came to believe that it exercised legitimate political authority in its own right.  Seizing control, it proceeded to purge Parliament of those members who threatened to disband the army and compromise its war aims by sympathizing with the king.  This dramatic political intervention marks a revolutionary turning point in most narratives, escalating with the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649. But historians are less agreed in explaining the exact causes behind the army’s radical actions.  And despite the prominence of Independents in the new model, there is even less clarity on the precise role of religious independence in shaping the revolutionary politics of the army.  The general tendency has been to abandon the usefulness of religious independence in explaining the events which took place between the King’s military defeat and execution.  For Mark Kishlansky, the ‘Army’s politicization derived from two interrelated sources: the soldiers’ material grievances and Parliament’s peremptory rejection of their right to petition.’  The army’s material grievances were followed by more generalized claims to political and religious freedom.   This essay offers an alternative to the reigning narrative by putting things in the reverse order.  It reads the army’s material grievances and understanding of justice as expressions of their general concept of independent freedom.  It seeks to explain how independents applied the notion of non-dominating ecclesiastical freedom more generally to the army’s social and political contexts, even as they continued to argue for religious toleration.  This enabled them to unite a broad coalition, including those who were not necessarily committed to congregational polity.  The essay first explores how non-dominating freedom occupied a central place in independent ecclesiology from its inception, and how religious independents later defended the use of force without necessarily contradicting this understanding of non-dominating liberty.  It then turns to how this understanding of freedom informed their views of social justice, shaping the soldiers’ particular grievances and driving their material demands.  Finally, it considers how independent freedom also enabled religious apologists for the army to move beyond previous justifications for revolutionary politics based on natural law and resistance theory.  All this helps explain the longstanding question of how the notion of freedom as non-domination moved outside of the elite canon of republican thinkers traditionally representative of this freedom.  By applying it to their reading of the New Testament, independent divines made the freedom of independence more widely available.  By extending it to the social and political circumstances of the soldiers, they not only made the possibility of revolution conceivable, but also justifiable.
Independence and Religion in the English Colonies Evan Haefeli, Texas A&M University Independence and colonization are difficult terms to reconcile with one another. Yet, somehow, in British America the combination of the two produced the society that became the hallmark of religious freedom around the world. This paper reflects on how that was possible, while also taking into consideration those most negatively affected by the advent of English colonies in the Americas: the indigenous peoples who were dispossessed and the Africans enslaved by Europeans...

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Polly Ha, University of East Anglia   The spring and summer of 1647 remain among the most climactic moments in British history, and the most bedeviled by the history of independency.  Having defeated the King in the English Civil War, Parliament’s New Model Army came to believe that it exercised legitimate political authority in its own right.  Seizing control, it proceeded to purge Parliament of those members who threatened to disband the army and compromise its war aims by sympathizing with the king.  This dramatic political intervention marks a revolutionary turning point in most narratives, escalating with the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649. But historians are less agreed in explaining the exact causes behind the army’s radical actions.  And despite the prominence of Independents in the new model, there is even less clarity on the precise role of religious independence in shaping the revolutionary politics of the army.  The general tendency has been to abandon the usefulness of religious independence in explaining the events which took place between the King’s military defeat and execution.  For Mark Kishlansky, the ‘Army’s politicization derived from two interrelated sources: the soldiers’ material grievances and Parliament’s peremptory rejection of their right to petition.’  The army’s material grievances were followed by more generalized claims to political and religious freedom.   This essay offers an alternative to the reigning narrative by putting things in the reverse order.  It reads the army’s material grievances and understanding of justice as expressions of their general concept of independent freedom.  It seeks to explain how independents applied the notion of non-dominating ecclesiastical freedom more generally to the army’s social and political contexts, even as they continued to argue for religious toleration.  This enabled them to unite a broad coalition, including those who were not necessarily committed to congregational polity.  The essay first explores how non-dominating freedom occupied a central place in independent ecclesiology from its inception, and how religious independents later defended the use of force without necessarily contradicting this understanding of non-dominating liberty.  It then turns to how this understanding of freedom informed their views of social justice, shaping the soldiers’ particular grievances and driving their material demands.  Finally, it considers how independent freedom also enabled religious apologists for the army to move beyond previous justifications for revolutionary politics based on natural law and resistance theory.  All this helps explain the longstanding question of how the notion of freedom as non-domination moved outside of the elite canon of republican thinkers traditionally representative of this freedom.  By applying it to their reading of the New Testament, independent divines made the freedom of independence more widely available.  By extending it to the social and political circumstances of the soldiers, they not only made the possibility of revolution conceivable, but also justifiable.
The Ruin of a State is Freedom of Conscience: Religious Freedom and the Spanish Monarchy Scott Eastman, Creighton University While many seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish priests and officials conveniently decried religious liberty, associated by definition with German states and constitutional England, Enlightenment ideals of tolerance challenged the early modern consensus on a confessional state. Freedom of speech and natural rights also became entangled in wide-ranging debates...

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Scott Eastman, Creighton University While many seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish priests and officials conveniently decried religious liberty, associated by definition with German states and constitutional England, Enlightenment ideals of tolerance challenged the early modern consensus on a confessional state. Freedom of speech and natural rights also became entangled in these wide-ranging debates. According to the Baron of Bielfeld, whose multi-volume work was translated into Spanish as Instituciones políticas (1767), “The liberty of a nation also consists in each Citizen knowing precisely what is legal to do, and what each is allowed to practice.” For Bielfeld, as for many enlightened Catholics, freedom as could be found under the law coexisted with the political maxim: “a State cannot subsist without Religion.” To admit multiple faith traditions within one state would be to grant far too much independence to a sovereign’s subjects. While maverick Hispanic intellectuals began to embrace conscientiae libertas in theory, even the most ardent nineteenth-century liberals, passionate defenders of the revolutionary Constitution of 1812 in Spain, insisted that while representative government was just and prudent, religious pluralism simply was not adaptable to the conditions of modern Spain. Emblematic of this early Hispanic liberalism, then, the Cádiz Constitution and later charters like the 1824 Mexican Constitution defined citizenship in terms of religious exclusivity, and Spain would not officially adopt a state policy of tolerance until 1869. Eighteenth-century fears of tolerance providing greater independence to the individual subject faded as nation-states consecrated political independence in the nineteenth century; ironically, liberal Hispanic constitutions continued to maintain legalized religious intolerance.
John Locke, Religious Freedom & Independence Tim Stanton, University of York This essay explores changes in the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which prepared the way for what Pocock has called the ‘all-important change’ in which religious freedom becomes freedom of religion and the freedom of opinion...

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John Locke, Religious Freedom & Independence Tim Stanton, University of York This essay explores changes in the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which prepared the way for what Pocock has called the ‘all-important change’ in which religious freedom becomes freedom of religion and the freedom of opinion.  Intellectual climate is a vague term. It is used here to refer to those predispositions and assumptions which form a more or less settled background to the thinking of a given age.  This background, like oxygen, is everywhere and is noticed only in its absence, which is why the essay begins with Hume, who rejected it. The background is a Christian understanding of history.  One potential consequence of thinking in these terms, realized in much seventeenth century thought, is that religious freedom is understood, explicitly or implicitly, through and in relation to ecclesiastical history: a frame of existence in which it is assumed that there is an original Christian doctrine entrusted to one true church whose mission is to diffuse it.  Questions of freedom and independence, in this frame of existence, are questions about the internal and external relations of this church, embracing both the character of the faith that forms its bonds of union and the nature of the church’s relationship to other corporate bodies, including (especially since the Reformation) rival claimants to its mission and the state.  The essay shows why Locke is a decisive but paradoxical figure in the story: a Christian who thought about ecclesiastical history in non-Christian terms and for whom, accordingly, the notion of a true church had a different sense and reference and religious freedom and independence took on a difference complexion.
The Three Revolutions of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Buckley S.J., Loyola Marymount University This paper will explore the intellectual origins and the varied contexts of the political, religious, and educational revolutions that Thomas Jefferson helped initiate in eighteen century America.  On his tombstone at Monticello he ordered to be inscribed: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the Declaration of American Independence [and] of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”  Each of these signal achievements...

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Thomas Buckley S.J., Loyola Marymount University This paper will explore the intellectual origins and the varied contexts of the political, religious, and educational revolutions that Thomas Jefferson helped initiate in eighteenth century America.  On his tombstone at Monticello he ordered to be inscribed: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the Declaration of American Independence [and] of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”  Each of these signal achievements can be traced in Jefferson’s life to his intellectual and moral formation that began in his adolescent years in the home and under the tutelage of the Rev. James Maury.  There he was first exposed to convictions that would define his life: a belief in God-given human equality, the sacred rights of conscience, and the importance of using one’s reason in the search for truth.  This paper traces those values as they unfolded in Jefferson’s life and the politics of the revolutionary era and the early republic in America.
Declaring Independence in the Black Atlantic: Writers of the African Diaspora in the Age of Jefferson, 1760-1800 John Coffey, University of Leicester The decades around the American Revolution saw the emergence in print of the first generation of black Atlantic writers. Announcing themselves in memoirs, poems, letters, sermons and pamphlets, these pioneers of the African diaspora attracted a wide readership and made notable contributions to political, religious and literary culture...

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John Coffey, University of Leicester The decades around the American Revolution saw the emergence in print of the first generation of black Atlantic writers. Announcing themselves in memoirs, poems, letters, sermons and pamphlets, these pioneers of the African diaspora attracted a wide readership and made notable contributions to political, religious and literary culture. Since the 1980s, their writings have attracted ever increasing commentary, especially from literary scholars. Some have emphasized their deference and dependence: they were introduced to the world by white patrons, amanuenses, editors, and publishers; they depicted Africa as a land of heathen darkness and praised Providence for bringing them into enlightened Christendom; they eulogized great white men; they declared their devotion to Anglophone literary, religious and political traditions; at times, they acquiesced in slavery by insisting on the priority of spiritual over earthly freedom. Nevertheless, their texts could function as declarations of independence. The Boston poet, Phillis Wheatley, asserted independent authorship of her poems and acquired fame and then freedom; Olaudah Equiano retained the copyright of his autobiography, embarking on a book tour that brought him celebrity and prosperity. Moreover, from the 1770s onwards, black writers mobilized the intellectual resources at their disposal to make the case against racial slavery.   This paper examines a series of extracts from early black texts to illustrate how they deployed the language of liberty. White colonists had used a neo-classical concept of freedom to bewail their own enslavement to the British Parliament, their dependence on the arbitrary will of their political masters. Black authors noted the irony and proceeded to turn this neo-Roman rhetoric against the abject dependence of racial slavery. They mobilized natural rights discourse, asserting that their own claim to freedom was equal to that of whites. Like the American Patriots, they reinforced the classical with the biblical. Almost every one of this first wave of black writers had embraced evangelical Protestantism, and they were as fluent in the language of religion as in the language of politics. In the Bible, they found a narrative of liberation (the Exodus story) and a concept of spiritual freedom (Christian liberty) that could have spillover effects in realm of politics. It was by mastering the language of liberty that former slaves became effective critics of black slavery and advocates of black freedom.
Early Modern (Southeast) Asian Understandings of Political Freedom and Autonomy Anthony Reid, Australia National University - Canberra Asia is the natural home of religious pluralism. The religions of India were profoundly plural and lacking in exclusive boundaries.  The religious autonomy of ascetic saints and hermits was well attested, associated with escape to the wild forest away from the rice-growing plains. But the histories of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and congregational independence were all profoundly European and inseparable from Christian history...

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Anthony Reid, Australia National University - Canberra Asia is the natural home of religious pluralism. The religions of India were profoundly plural and lacking in exclusive boundaries.  The religious autonomy of ascetic saints and hermits was well attested, associated with escape to the wild forest away from the rice-growing plains. But the histories of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and congregational independence were all profoundly European and inseparable from Christian history. This paper will focus on the early modern states of Southeast Asia in an attempt to clarify analogous ideas of political freedom, equality, and autonomy within acknowledged hierarchies of power.  Freedom was valued as the opposite of slavery, but also associated with the wildness of the forest and the uplands, in contrast with hierarchic control of the rice-growing valleys.  As long as there were kings, however, there could not be a separation of church and state, since the basis of royal power was religious and charismatic.
Independence and Religious Freedom in Early Modern East Asia George Kallander, Syracuse University This paper looks at the loss of suzerainty through relations of dependence and independence in East Asia and their impact on religious freedom. The first part provides a sweeping view of politics in China and Japan in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The second examines Choson dynasty Korea. The final section problematizes “religious freedom” in East Asia as promulgated by the arrival of European and American gunboats and missionaries in the nineteenth century...

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George Kallander, Syracuse University This paper looks at the loss of suzerainty through relations of dependence and independence in East Asia and their impact on religious freedom. The first part provides a sweeping view of politics in China and Japan in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The second examines Choson dynasty Korea. The final section problematizes “religious freedom” in East Asia as promulgated by the arrival of European and American gunboats and missionaries in the nineteenth century. In the earlier period, state-to-state relations in East Asia, commonly called the tributary system in the West, was built upon Confucian principles. China, the dominant political, military, and cultural power throughout the early modern period, maintained cordial relations with neighboring states through Confucian rites. Seldom did it intervene in the internal affairs of neighbors. Outside this Sinic order and “closed off” to the outside world, Japan built its social order based on Neo-Confucian principles. Korea also found social stability based on Neo-Confucianism. Because of its geographical position, the country held special relations with China and Japan. With the arrival of Catholicism in the seventeenth century and Western gun ships and Catholic missionaries in the nineteenth, the Korean kingdom dealt with new challenges to its sovereignty. By comparing and contrasting these two general phases, I locate Western support for religion freedom within histories of economic and political domination where gunboat diplomacy accompanied Catholic missionaries contributing to a weakened government that lost control over certain forms of religious expression.

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