Many important insights enrich all five of these essays, which I will elucidate below, but the two that particularly stand out to me as rocking not only the foundations of Puritan exceptionalism but as having wider implications for post-American exceptional historiography are these. First, the conclusion Molly Farrell draws from her comparison of discourses of disgust that overtook the so-called antinomian controversy in 1636–38 and the so-called partial-birth abortion debate in 2003: “In the seventeenth century, intense affects conjured through scrutiny of women’s bodies attended colonial and global economic transformations, elucidating the potential work of disgust in the present. Identifying rogue bodies, rogue midwives, and rogue obstetricians—and in the process heightening the disgust they inspire—are activities integrally related to conceptions of sovereignty, both then and now.” If we attend to the working of disgust across historical moments, then, Farrell concludes, “historicist approaches to Puritan texts make way for feelings that...
Response: Postexceptionalist Puritanism: Rocking the Foundations
Ivy Schweitzer is professor of English and past chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth College. Her fields are early American literature, American poetry, women’s literature, gender and cultural studies, and digital humanities. She has written extensively on these subjects and edited several anthologies of early American literature. She is the editor of The Occom Circle (www.dartmouth.edu/~occom), a digital edition of works by and about Samson Occom, and coproducer of a full-length documentary film titled It’s Criminal: A Tale of Prison and Privilege (2018; www.facebook.com/ItIsCriminal/), based on the courses she co-teaches in and about jails. She is currently blogging weekly about the year 1862 in the creative life of Emily Dickinson, https://journeys.dartmouth.edu/whiteheat/, and coediting a collection of essays in honor of The Occom Circle about Indigenous Archives in the Digital Age.
Ivy Schweitzer; Response: Postexceptionalist Puritanism: Rocking the Foundations. American Literature 1 December 2018; 90 (4): 841–854. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-7208572
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