Tuesday, April 03, 2007


An informal conference at Reading
Saturday June 16 2007: 11.00-18.00

Patriarchalism is the strange belief that the character of authority in households is (other things being equal) the same as that of authority in states. For much of the seventeenth century, this belief was widely accepted among the Anglican clergy, in spite of the fact that it that ignored a structuring principle of virtually all Western social thought - the distinction between the 'public' political and the 'private' household spheres - and that its implications were wildly at variance with English social and political practice (the English did enjoy property rights against their monarch, even if those rights could in some circumstance be over-ridden; English fathers did not execute their children). Questions that may arise include

The relationship between its acceptance and Jacobean political debates The distinctiveness (or otherwise) of Filmer's formulation, especially when contrasted with French thinking The degree of its popularisation in what was probably its heyday: the reign of Charles II Its relationship with the great anti-patriarchalist works of the early 1680s Its challenge to Lockean liberalism The scale of its subsequent persistence (including its influence on American loyalism) The degree to which it shaped perceptions of actual household relations, including relations between
Husbands and wives
Parents and children
Employers and servants
Masters and slaves

There will be two main sessions and a concluding general discussion. Session One ('Polities') will be introduced by Glenn Burgess, Rachel Foxley, and Johann Sommerville. Session Two ('Households') will be introduced by Ralph Houlbrooke, Margaret Sommerville, and Naomi Tadmor.

I anticipate a memorable event that will result in intellectual progress. To reserve a place, please simply reply to this email; to recruit a friend or student who might benefit, please forward it to the person or people concerned and ask them to contact me at this address (a.d.t.cromartie@rdg.ac.uk). A charge of £10 to non-speakers will subsidise lunch; there will also be the customary cheap and cheerful dinner for anyone not in a hurry to get home.

Dr Alan Cromartie
Reader in Politics and Director of Research
School of Sociology, Politics & International Relations
University of Reading


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