Women's & Gender Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series:
Dr. Katherine Moran
The “Gentle Conqueror”: Remembering Marquette, the Father of the Midwest
Thursday, March 30th
McGannon Hall, Rm 144
Everyone is welcome. Bring your lunches. Refreshments will be provided.
Hope to see you there!
About the talk:
Beginning in the 1880s and continuing to well past the First World War, Protestant and Catholic Midwesterners came together to celebrate the seventeenth-century French Jesuit missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette as a regional founding father. By 1920, Marquette’s name or figure graced monuments, buildings, streets, towns, a university, and even a U.S. postage stamp.
This talk will seek to explain why Marquette captured the imagination of such a large, cross-confessional group of Midwesterners. I will argue that Marquette commemorations constituted efforts to look back to a moment in Catholic imperial history in order to make sense of and advance the history and present of U.S. empire. One key element of this commemorative culture was the depiction of Marquette as a “peaceful conqueror”: drawing in part on his filial devotion to the Virgin Mary, he was described as embodying a mixture of masculine and feminine virtues. This image of Marquette was mobilized to advance a vision of conquest as potentially benevolent, pure of heart, and even nurturing.