Brewer, Holly 1964–
Brewer, Holly 1964–
Born October 22, 1964. Education: Radcliffe College, graduated, 1986; University of Southern California—Los Angeles, Ph.D., 1994.
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, associate professor of history.
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Organization of American Historians.
James L. Clifford Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 1998, and Douglass Adair Memorial Award, William and Mary Quarterly, 2000, both for "Entailing Aristocracy in Colonial Virginia: ‘Ancient Feudal Restraints’ and Revolutionary Reform"; J. Willard Hurst Prize, Law and Society Association, 2006, William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Prize, American Society for Legal History, 2006, and Order of the Coif Book Award, Order of the Coif, 2008, all for By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority.
By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.
Also author of article "Entailing Aristocracy in Colonial Virginia: ‘Ancient Feudal Restraints’ and Revolutionary Reform," William and Mary Quarterly, April, 1997. Contributor to periodicals, including Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, Journal of American History, Law and History Review, and Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Contributor to Web review sites, including H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.
In her first book, the award-winning By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority, historian Holly Brewer has created a "thought-provoking study of a neglected and yet immensely important topic," according to Klaus J. Hansen, writing in the Canadian Journal of History. Drawing on extensive research in political theory, legal records, and theological writings, Brewer examines a fundamental shift that took place in the English-speaking world from authority based on heritage to authority based on the ability to reason. In the early eighteenth century, children's status derived more from their inherited class than from their age—a child of aristocratic birth could hold more power than a working-class adult. Events from the Protestant Reformation through the American Revolution contributed to the shift, as leaders in Britain and the United States came to view children as too young to be capable of reasoned consent.
By Birth or Consent received favorable attention from a number of sources. Writing for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Lorri Glover noted Brewer's "fresh analysis," "impressive research," and the "clarity and sophistication with which she reveals the dialogic interplay between the imperial center and its varied British-American colonies," which Glover deemed "perhaps Brewer's greatest contribution." Hansen similarly commented on the author's research and originality. He felt that "a major strength of the work is the careful, meticulous way in which Brewer initiates her readers into the long, contested process that finally led to the acceptance of the idea of consent, both in England and America." While some writers acknowledged minor flaws in the work, citing Brewer's treatment of gender and slavery and some claims they thought questionable, for example, they upheld the work's value as a whole. As Peter Charles Hoffer remarked in the Historian, "There is no doubt that Brewer's book will take a privileged place in all future accounts of childhood and political thought in the Atlantic world."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 2006, Marylynn Salmon, review of By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority, p. 1247.
Canadian Journal of History, winter, 2006, Klaus J. Hansen, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 625.
Choice, February, 2006, C. Curran, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 1061.
English Historical Review, June, 2007, Ben Marsh, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 753.
Historian, winter, 2006, Peter Charles Hoffer, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 902.
Journal of American History, September, 2006, Anne Lombard, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 507.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, winter, 2007, Altina Waller, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 440.
Law and Social Inquiry, December, 2007, James D. Schmidt, "The Ends of Innocence: Age as a Mode of Inquiry in Sociolegal Studies," p.1027.
Times Literary Supplement, May 4, 2007, Gary L. McDowell, "Age of Reason," p. 24.
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, autumn, 2005, John Ruston Pagan, review of By Birth or Consent, p. 413.
William and Mary Quarterly, July, 2006, Melvin Yazawa, review of By Birth or Consent, pp. 587-591.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (December, 2005), Lorri Glover, "Theorizing Childhood in the Age of Reason," review of By Birth or Consent.
North Carolina State University Department of History Web site,http://history.chass.ncsu.edu/ (September 19, 2008), faculty profile.