G.E. Lessing Distinguished Professor of History and Poetics, Rutgers University
Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Pembroke Hall 305
Queer Conscience, Straight State in WWI Britain
Koven's talk focuses on one famously public-spirited gentry family, the Hobhouses, and the conscience of one man, Stephen Hobhouse, during WWI. Koven analyzes how, why and with what consequences Stephen Hobhouse’s mother, Margaret Potter Hobhouse, single-handedly orchestrated the war’s most successful campaign waged to save her oldest son Stephen, from a martyr’s death as an absolutist pacifist prisoner of conscience in 1917. Stephen's story reveals when and why the wartime state "queered" conscience and recasts the post-war disenfranchisement of conscientious objectors as an attempt to keep the state straight.
Koven's lecture supports our yearlong research seminar on "The Cultures of Pacifism."
(Distributed September 13, 2017)