Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Speaker Today in the Library @3pm!

Today at 3:00 pm on the third floor of the library, James Melton of Emory University will present "From Salzburg to Savannah: A Pietist Utopia in Colonial Georgia, 1734-1776."

A brief bio of Dr. Melton from the Emory web site follows:

"His last book, The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2001), is a work of comparative synthesis focusing on England and France as well as the German-speaking territories. As the first book-length, critical reassessment of what Jürgen Habermas termed the “bourgeois public sphere,” it builds on Professor Melton’s longstanding interest in absolutism and political culture in early modern Europe. His earlier book, Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria (Cambridge University Press, 1988), was awarded the Biennial Book Prize by the Central European Conference Group of the American Historical Association. His edited works include Pietism in Germany and North America, 1680-1820 (co-editor), (Ashgate Publishing, 2009), Cultures of Communication from Reformation to Enlightenment: Constructing Publics in the Early Modern German Lands (Ashgate, 2002); Paths of Continuity: German Historical Scholarship from the 1920s to the 1960s (Cambridge University Press, 1994); and a translation (with Howard Kaminsky) of Otto Brunner, Land and Lordship: Structures of Governance in Medieval Austria (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992).

More recently his interests have turned to the Atlantic World, notably German migrations to North America in the eighteenth century. In 2008 he received an NEH Research Fellowship for his project on the transatlantic migration of Salzburg Protestants to the Georgia colony in 1734. Fleeing their alpine homeland as part of the largest expulsion of a religious minority in eighteenth-century Europe, a small band of Salzburgers founded a utopian Pietist community on the Savannah River that for a time was the most successful settlement in colonial Georgia. The book, Migrations of Conscience in the Old World and the New: From Alpine Valley to Colonial Lowcountry, addresses questions of interest to European and colonial historians alike. How did clandestine religious minorities resist or accommodate efforts to impose confessional uniformity? What led some exiles to seek refuge across the Atlantic when other options were available in Europe? Once in North America, how did a previously isolated alpine folk react to the rapidly expanding institution of slavery? What attitudes toward race did they import from their European homeland, and how did these views lead them to oppose slavery?

Some recent or forthcoming articles: “New Perspectives on Germans in the Atlantic World,” "Otto Brunner und die ideologischen Ursprünge von Begriffsgeschichte," (2009); "From Alpine Miner to Lowcountry Yeoman: Transatlantic Worlds of a Georgia Salzburger, 1693-1761,” Past and Present 200, no. 2 (2008); “Confessional Power and the Power of Confession: Concealing and Revealing the Faith in Alpine Salzburg, 1730–34," in H.C. Scott and Brendan Simms, eds., Cultures of Power in Europe during the the Long Eighteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

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