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Jamestown Settlement Symposium September 13 & 14 Explores History of Women and the Law

Several Presentations Open to Public With Museum Admission

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., August 30, 2019 — Jamestown Settlement will offer a special symposium, “UNTAMED: Women and the Law,” on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, 2019, offering a look the history of women in America through the lens of the law.

UNTAMED Symposium

“TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” at Jamestown Settlement features an English ducking chair dating to the late 17th century that was used as a form of punishment common in England and in America from the early 17th to 19th centuries. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection.

In conjunction with “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” a yearlong special exhibition that shares little-known stories of women in the Jamestown colony through rare artifacts, images and primary sources, the two-day “UNTAMED: Women and the Law” symposium features academic presentations by more than 20 legal and museum professionals, scholars and historians. The special exhibition also features several artifacts related to 17th-century laws created to suppress women’s voices, including a ducking chair from the late 1600s used to punish women for “brabbling,” or gossiping.

While the full two-day symposium requires a separate admission ticket and advance registration, several presentations will be open to the public with general admission to Jamestown Settlement. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free museum admission with proof of residency.

Presentations open to the public include:

  • September 13, 9:15 a.m. – “Women and the Courts of Early Virginia,” by Terri Snyder, professor of American Studies at the University of California, Fullerton, and author of “Brabbling Women: Disorderly Speech and the Law in Early Virginia” will discuss early Virginia laws associated with women. A book-signing will follow the lecture.
  • September 13, 3:15 p.m. – “Something Wicked: Witchcraft Law in Early Virginia” by Historian Carson O. Hudson, Jr., a leading authority on early Virginia witchcraft trials and their legal precedents and author of “Witchcraft in Early Virginia” will explore colonial witchcraft law, including the 1626 account in Virginia of witchcraft charges against Jane Wright. This real story is the focus of an original play, “Season of the Witch,” which premieres on September 13-14 & 19-21 in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created fort. (A separate ticket is required for this evening event. Performances on September 14 and 21 are sold out; due to high demand, a limited number of tickets are now available on September 13). Hudson’s talk will be followed by a book-signing.
  • September 14, 9:15 a.m. – “Touchstones on the Road to Woman Suffrage, features dramatic readings from Abigail Adams to Alice Paul, echoing the voices of women across history who fought to expand their rights.
  • September 14, 2:30 p.m. – “We the Whole People: Women and the Constitution” by Linda R. Monk, J.D., constitutional scholar, journalist and award-winning author, will explore constitutional laws related to women in advance of Constitution Day on September 17. Monk is a graduate of Harvard Law School who twice received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for media about the law. A book-signing will follow of her book, “Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide.”

Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia” special exhibition, a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, as well as expansive permanent gallery exhibits, films and outdoor re-created living-history areas, are included with general admission to Jamestown Settlement: $17.50 for adults, $8.25 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency.

For information about the “UNTAMED: Women and the Law” symposium or how to register for the full conference, visit historyisfun.org/untamed, or call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.