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[Past Event] Colonial America with Dr. Richard Bell | Livestream Zoom

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Course Description:

Apr. 8: The “Witches” of Salem

Many seventeenth-century Americans believed that witches walked among them. How could these Puritans balance their faith in reason with a belief system that encouraged them to see wondrous signs of God’s love and the devil’s temptations all around them? And how did they respond when they believed the devil’s servants were stalking their own communities? One response was, of course, the witch-hunt. We'll explore the dynamics, impact and legacy of the tragic series of events in Salem that claimed so many innocent lives.

Apr. 15: Sex in the (Colonial) City

What was eighteenth-century sex like? What was marriage like back then? What about sexuality, gender roles and women’s rights? To answer these questions, we’re going to look first at what sexual culture and sexual freedom looked like in colonial Philadelphia. Then, we’ll look at a peculiar feature of many eighteenth-century marriages: the fact that wives who felt mistreated sometimes deserted their husbands, forcing their estranged and abandoned spouses to use newspaper advertisements to try to disown their wives or suspend their credit in local stores. Finally, we’ll look at all the women in colonial British America who were not married—and what their lives were like as a result of their independence.


Tuition: $30.00

Additional Fees: $0.00

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Mondays, Apr. 8, 15 *1:00 - 2:30 p.m.* (2 sessions)


This course will be offered via Livestream Zoom and will NOT be recorded or available for later viewing.


Richard Bell, Ph.D., is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the history and culture of the United States between 1690 and 1877. He received his doctorate from Harvard University and has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge and the Library of Congress. Presently an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, Dr. Bell is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The author of three books, his most recent is the widely acclaimed "Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home," published by Simon & Schuster.