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Meet the Author: Steven C. Bullock

Posted in In and Around the Library

Gordon Library’s Meet the Author Series continues on Thursday, April 6 with Steven C. Bullock’s Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America. Please join us at 4:00 pm in the FLIP space on the 3rd floor of the library to hear Professor Bullock discuss this illuminating history book featuring a fascinating set of characters.

Date: Thursday, April 6, 2017

Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Location: Gordon Library, FLIP Space, 3rd floor

The presentation will include a Q&A session, followed by an informal reception with light refreshments. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.


About the Author:


Steven C. Bullock is professor of history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was a recipient of the Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship. He has also served as a Fulbright Lecturer in Okinawa, Japan.

He is the author of Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America (University of Pennsylvania, 2017), Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), and The American Revolution: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press, 2003). He has also published in the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and the William & Mary Quarterly, where his piece on the confidence man Tom Bell received the Percy Adams Prize for the year’s best article in eighteenth-century studies.

Professor Bullock has spoken widely to academic and public groups, commented on Masonry and American history on ABC and NPR, and appeared in documentaries airing on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and elsewhere.


About the Book (University of Pennsylvania Press):


Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

Tea Sets and Tyranny follows the experiences of six extraordinary individuals, each seeking to establish public authority and personal standing: a cast of characters that includes a Virginia governor consumed by fits of towering rage; a Carolina woman who befriended a British princess; and a former Harvard student who became America’s first confidence man.

Tea Sets and Tyranny is available in print at Gordon Library.