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Jessica Harland-Jacobs

Department of History
2018 Rothman Faculty Summer Fellow

Dr. Harland-Jacobs received a Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowship for her  project titled “The Catholic Question and the British Empire, 1710s-1830s.” She used the funds to write the last chapter of the manuscript, and put the entire first draft of the book through a final revision before submitting.

Harland-Jacobs’ research focused on how early-modern and modern empires managed religious diversity and established the boundaries of imperial citizenship. She posited a “spectrum of incorporation” wherein the ways in which attitudes and policies toward people were incorporated into an expanding empire ranged from persecution to accommodation. To make this case, Harland-Jacobs mined key texts in colonial archives.

Her talk focused on Catholics in the British Isles and British Empire between 1710s and 1830s with an emphasis on the latter years. She shared that while an anti-Catholic and pro-Protestant agenda was at the heart of British empire building in the 17th and 18th centuries, religious identity was less significant in defining citizenship than one’s willingness to express loyalty to the monarch and ability to contribute to the expansion of a loyal, peaceable, stable, and productive “Pax Brittanica.”