2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

Burning a Convent: The Riot at Mount Benedict and Early American Gender Relations

Thomas R. Sebacher
Dr.  Dan Mandell , Faculty Mentor

This project seeks to understand the burning of the Ursuline Convent at Mount Benedict in Charlestown, MA on August 11, 1834. It will delve into how convents were perceived and how they fit into the gender structure; it will also discuss the immediate events preceding the riot and the riot itself, through multiple perspectives and multiple lenses. The study of this particular event requires an understanding of how women and men of the time viewed Catholic convents, and how Catholics, as outsiders, became targeted based upon categories of sexual and gender "abnormality." Catholic rituals and practices were branded as sexually perverse, while broadly, anti-Catholics championed the virtues of "Republican motherhood." I seek to explain violent behaviors against convents through the lens of gender and sexuality.

Keywords: Convents, Religion, Gender, Women, Nuns, Catholicism, anti-Catholicism

Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Face-to-Face Oral Presentation

Session: 302-5
Location: SUB Activities Room
Time: 2:30

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