This essay explores the practical or lived dimensions of Puritanism in New England. Building on the work of David D. Hall and other scholars, I examine the ways in which actual religious belief and practice often departed from the theological ideal. I am particularly attuned to the ways that gender expressed itself amongst believers, often creating a double standard about knowing God's plans that Puritans themselves might have found surprising had they explicitly considered the ways that gender, status, and power worked against women. The essay argues that knowledge of and access to the supernatural (including all activity thought to be inspired by God, devils, or angels) were contested, as New England Puritans created, defined, and clarified their convictions regarding God's ultimate mysterium in a gendered world.
Elizabeth Reis is Associate Professor of Women's and Gender History at the University of Oregon. She teach classes in Women's History, History of Sexuality, and Sex and Medical Ethics.
Professor Reis received her A.B. from Smith College in 1980, her M.A. in History from Brown University in 1982, and her Ph.D from UC Berkeley in 1991.
Elizabeth Reis is interested in both the history and contemporary analysis of medical ethics, sexuality, and religion. She has written recently about male circumcision, transgender issues, intersex surgeries, and informed consent. She also serves on the Ethics Committee and the Ethics Consult Team at PeaceHealth Medical Center in Eugene, and is the Content Editor of nursingclio.org, a collaborative blog project that focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, and medicine.
Elizabeth Reis Profile Information:
- Title: Professor
- Phone: (541
- Office: 320 Hendricks Hall
- Office Hours: On leave until 2017
- E-mail: [email protected]
- Affiliated Departments: Women's And Gender Studies
- Interests: Historical and contemporary analysis of medical ethics, pediatric ethics, autonomy, and religion. Prof. Reis has written recently about male circumcision, transgender issues, intersex surgeries, and informed consent.
Elizabeth Reis Publications:
- Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009; paper 2012)
Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997; paper 1999
- Ed., Spellbound: Women and Witchcraft in America (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1998
- Ed., Dear Lizzie: Memoir of a Jewish Immigrant Woman (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2000
- Ed., American Sexual Histories: A Blackwell Reader in American Social and Cultural History (London and Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2001; 2nd edition, 2012
- "Transgender Identity at a Crossroads: A Close Reading of a 'Queer
' Story from 1857"Early American Studies (Special issue: Beyond the Binaries: Critical Approaches to Sex and Gender in Early America
), Forthcoming, 2014).
- "The Ethics of American Circumcision in a Globalized World,
" The Global Studies Journal 4, 2 (2012
- "Divergence or Disorder? The Politics of Naming Intersex,
" Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 50:4 (Autumn 2007
- "Hermaphrodites and Same-Sex Sex in Early America,
" in Thomas Foster, ed., Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexualities in Early America (New York: New York University Press, 2007
- "Impossible Hermaphrodites: Intersex in America, 1620-1960
" Journal of American History 92 (September 2005