Patrick Ryan’s interview with Holly Brewer (for the Society for the History of Childhood & Youth) February 4, 2019, about the impact of her 2006 book, By Birth or Consent.
Patrick Ryan writes: “Holly asks us to think about why would there be ‘blindness’ on the part of social historians to the shifting, non universal character of childhood. She believes that the habits encouraged by ‘demographic and sociological techniques’ fostered an inability to recognize the practices of pre-modern childhood. I added that current institutions are permeated with age-grading, and that it has become part of how we have attacked other forms of inequity and exclusion – those based on gender, race, class, etc. Not only has age-grading become the ‘natural’ and invisible hierarchy, but as By Birth or Consent shows, liberal political and legal culture was produced (at least in part) through a new, universal distinction between the consenting adult and the dependent, developing child. Seeing childhood historically might destabilize a cornerstone of modern consensus about what constitutes a free and democratic society.”
Siobhan Barco’s interview with Holly Brewer (for American Society for Legal History) May 25, 2018. In this podcast, Siobhan talks with Holly Brewer, Burke Chair of American History and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, about her October 2017 article in the American Historical Review, “Slavery, Sovereignty and ‘Inheritable Blood’: Reconsidering John Locke and the Origins of American Slavery.” She is a specialist in early American history and the early British Empire. The article is part of a larger book project that will situate the origins of American slavery in the ideas and legal practices associated with the divine rights of kings, tentatively entitled “Inheritable Blood: Slavery & Sovereignty in Early America and the British Empire.”