The Impact of the Declaration of Independence – Symposium 11-12 August, 2010

Generously sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, (USA) and the Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney

Thomas Jefferson’s virtuoso performance in drafting the Declaration of Independence has secured him a special place in world history. For nearly 250 years his words have been a source of inspiration and adoration, as well as exasperation and revulsion. The potency of this document in United States is without parallel and Jefferson’s declaration has been a powerful force in the intellectual, moral and political life of many other nations. As the inspiration for anti-imperial movements, Jefferson’s declaration was echoed in 1790 when rebels in the Austrian Netherlands declared their province a free and independent state; in 1811 when Francisco de Miranda proclaimed the United Provinces of Venezuela; in 1918 when the Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation was declared; in 1945 when Ho Chi Minh issued the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence; in 1965 when the white minority government of Southern Rhodesia issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

This symposium aims to stimulate discussion about the intended and intended consequences of Jefferson’s most famous contribution to world history. It will be an informal affair where guest scholars will speak briefly to particular themes, with the aim of producing a cumulative conversation among participants. The numbers of participants is strictly limited.

Symposium guests are:

  • Richard Drayton, Rhodes Chair of Imperial History, Kings College London, author of Nature’s Government: Science, Imperial Britain and the Improvement of the World;
  • Frank Cogliano, Professor of History, University of Edinburgh, author of Thomas Jefferson :Reputation and Legacy;
  • Maya Jasanoff, Associate Professor in History at Harvard, author of Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750-1850;
  • Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Chair of History, University of Texas author of Nature, Empire, and Nation. Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World;
  • Peter Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor, University of Virginia, author of Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood;
  • Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Director Saunders International Center for Jefferson Studies, editor of The Old World, New World: America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson;
  • John Keane, Professor of Politics, University of Sydney, author of The Life and Death and Democracy;
  • Rhys Isaac, Professor Emeritus, College of William and Mary, author of The Transformation of Virginia;
  • Michael Kranish, journalist and author of Flight from Monticello.

Registration:$ 120 for academics and $80 for postgraduates [includes morning tea and dinner on 11 Aug]. To register contact Professor Cassandra Pybus: cassandra.pybus@sydney.edu.au before 30 July.

Venue: Holme and Sutherland Room, Holme Building, University of Sydney
9am, Wednesday 11 August, 2010.
Please note: The seminar will conclude at 1.30pm on Thursday 12 August.

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