Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Watch What You Say in Front of the Parrot: 'Swearing in the American Age of Sail' at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Ever wonder how truly to "curse like a sailor"? Historian Paul Gilje will unpack a bounteous sea-chest of verbal invectives and salty slang when he presents "The Worst and Most Profane Language I Have Ever Heard from Mortal Lips: Swearing in the American Age of Sail" at Washington College's Litrenta Lecture Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m.

The lecture is presented by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Gilje, Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma and a C.V. Starr Center Visiting Fellow, is the author of several acclaimed books. His Liberty on the Waterfront: Society and Culture of the American Maritime World in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1850 was awarded the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Best Book Prize for 2004, as well as the North American Society For Oceanic History John Lyman Book Award for 2004 in the category of United States Maritime History.

He also recently authored The Making of the American Republic, 1763-1815, a general history of the period that covers both the experience and contributions of the common people and the more famous leaders of the Revolution.

Other noteworthy Gilje titles include Pirates, Jack Tar and Memory, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 and Rioting in America. His latest work,Encyclopedia of Revolutionary America, is forthcoming in 2009.

"In all of my published work there has been a consistent theme," said Gilje. "I am interested in how common people have been affected by the larger events of history that we read about in textbooks."

The New York-born scholar attended Brooklyn College and went on to earn his master's degree and Ph.D. from Brown University. While at Brown, Gilje worked under the acclaimed historian/author Gordon Wood.

Gilje is the current president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. He will be in residence at the Starr Center for four weeks this October and November.

Litrenta Lecture Hall is located in the John S. Toll Science Center. Admission to "The Worst and Most Profane Language I Have Ever Heard from Mortal Lips: Swearing in the American Age of Sail" is free and open to the public; some material may be unsuitable for pre-teenagers. For more information, call 410/810-7161.

About the C.V. Starr Center

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores our nation's history—and particularly the legacy of its Founding era—in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and especially by supporting and fostering the art of written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between past and present, and between the academic world and the public at large. From its base in the circa-1746 Custom House along Chestertown's colonial waterfront, the Center also serves as a portal onto a world of opportunities for Washington College students. Its guiding principle is that now more than ever, a wider understanding of our shared past is fundamental to the continuing success of America's democratic experiment. For more information on the Center, visithttp://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

October 14, 2008

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