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Sunday November 7 at 3:00 P.M. at Arlington Street Church

Boston, MA, October 25, 2010 – The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial is pleased to continue its Conversations Series with a moderated panel discussion featuring two prominent scholars. The event will take place on Sunday November 7 at 3:00 P.M. at Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston. The program is modeled after the “Conversations” that Margaret Fuller offered for women (and later men) in Boston from 1839 to 1844. The Conversation Series intends to provoke thought on how the issues that concerned this trailblazing woman might relate to contemporary life. 

John Matteson, Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father,  will present “‘Clouded by Secret Sin’: Margaret Fuller and the Darker Side of Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” This revolutionary treatise is widely considered the first book on women’s rights by an American.

“Most people who think about Fuller tend to regard her principally as an extraordinary intellect,” Matteson observes. “However, she was also the most passionate of the great transcendentalists, and her fascination with forbidden sexuality underlies much of the thinking that went into Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Her arrival in New York coincided with her developing a powerful interest in women of ill fame. Unlike most reformers, who saw prostitutes only as victims to be rescued, Fuller wanted to understand and sympathize with them.”

Daniel McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School will present “Margaret Fuller and 1848: Forging a United Radical Tradition.” McKanan is the author of the forthcoming 200 year history of religion and radical politics in the United States, which includes Margaret Fuller’s friendship with Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini.

“2010 marks the bicentennial of many leading figures in the Transcendentalist movement,” says McKanan, “but Margaret Fuller is special-both because she was left out of the celebrations one hundred years ago and because she linked spirituality to radical activism in a way that can still be a model for us today.”

The panel will be moderated by Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie. There will be time for conversation and questions following the presentation. The traveling display, “Why Margaret Fuller Matters,” will be on location for viewing. Refreshments will be served.  The program is free and open to the public.

The program is supported by grants from Mass Humanities, the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, and individual donations. It is co-sponsored by the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee and Arlington Street Church.


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