OI Colloquium with Melissa Johnson
In seventeenth-century New England, female servants’ presence in intimate settings, their mobility in towns and villages, and their associations with other households made them part of a complex set of relationships through which information flowed. Servant gossip had the potential to upend hierarchies and household governance by creating opportunities for lower status women and girls to shape their communities. This chapter is part of a larger project on women’s gossip in seventeenth-century Massachusetts, which examines women’s talk in seventeenth-century Massachusetts through the lens of holy watchfulness.
Melissa Ann Johnson is a historian of women, religion, and communication in early America. Her first book project focuses on watchfulness and women’s gossip in seventeenth-century New England. She is also working on two other projects, one on domestic servitude in colonial New England and another on deception and imposters in the Atlantic world. Her research has been supported by the Massachusetts Historical Society, the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, and the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2019 and currently teaches history courses at community colleges in Oregon and in Washington state.
ABOUT OI COLLOQUIA
The OI’s Colloquium Series is an ongoing seminar for scholars to present their work in progress for graduate students and colleagues. Advanced registration is required. All participants read the pre-circulated paper and prepare to engage in generous and generative feedback.
When we meet in person we are limited by the size of the OI’s conference room; online we limit registration to 40 (a typical size for the colloquium). No recordings are made of the discussions and no tweeting or posting on other social media platforms during the event is permitted in order to encourage this intellectual community of trusted exchange.
COPIES OF THE COLLOQUIUM PAPER ARE AVAILABLE ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE.
Contact Beverly Smith for your copy.