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Academic Seminars


A Conspiracy of Ink:
News, Memory, and Rebellion Narratives in Black and White


Jason Sharples

(Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Monday, November 15, 2010, at 5:00 p.m.
Elmarion Room, Goddard-Daniels House
190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts

PRÉCIS: This paper offers fresh look at dozens of purported "sslave conspiracies" in early America.conspiracy panics, really.that reveals that masters anticipated, and their slaves articulated, remarkably consistent rebellion plots. They collectively imagined that several elements marked conspiracies, including ambushes at decoy fires and incitement by outside instigators (often a Catholic spy). These tropes were instrumental in sparking fears, fueling investigations, and scripting coerced confessions that resulted in dozens of executions.much like witch scares. To explain the ubiquity of these cultural templates, the present paper focuses on how colonial presses mediated the findings of investigations and propagated faulty assumptions, enabling still more conspiracy scares.

NOTE: The paper for this seminar will be precirculated, and is available for download after you register online. Please read the paper in advance.


Refreshments will be provided after the paper, which will be followed by a dutch-treat dinner in Worcester. If you plan to attend, please register by November 12. After you complete the online registration the paper will be available to download.

The Society regrets that it is unable to make refunds after that date.

Reservations are suggested (and deeply appreciated) for attending the seminar. Reservations are required to attend the supper.