Antislavery in America: The Press, The Pulpit, and the Rise of Antislavery Societies
October 19, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Social Science Plaza B, Room 4206
Department of Sociology and Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Heather Haveman is Professor of Sociology and Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty Professor Haveman taught at Duke, Cornell, and Columbia Universities. She holds a B.A. in history and a MBA both from the University of Toronto, and received her Ph.D. in organizational behavior and industrial relations from UC Berkeley. Her research lies on the macro side of organization theory, focusing on the intertwined evolution of organizations, the fields in which they are embedded, and the careers of their members and employees. She investigates questions that relate to organizational stability and change: How strong are the forces that impel or inhibit change in organizational structures, strategies, and actions? What are the consequences of organizational change for organizations themselves and for their employees?
Professor Haveman’s published studies have investigated California thrifts (1872-1928 and 1960s-1990s), Iowa telephone companies (1900-1917), Manhattan hotels (1898-1990), California hospitals (1978-1991), American magazines (1741-1860), and U.S. electric utilities (1980-1992). She is currently engaged in research on U.S. wineries and magazines. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Administrative Science Quarterly. Her research has received the Max Weber Award from the Organizations, Occupations, and Work Section of the American Sociological Association and the Lou Pondy Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management.
We analyze how communications networks and social institutions influenced the antislavery movement. Communications networks fueled by broadcast media transmitted news about the movement to the public and so helped mobilize a broad base of support. Among social institutions, churches were especially supportive because their emphasis on morality and community was conducive to antislavery activism. Our analysis focuses on antislavery societies, the formal organizations that underpinned this movement, and makes three contributions to our understanding of social-movement organizations in general and antislavery societies in particular. First, we show that the impact of broadcast media was strong as far back as the early nineteenth century. Second, we demonstrate that theology, specifically an orientation toward this world or heaven, determined whether religious resources were available to antislavery organizations. This-worldly religions supported abolition organizing, while other-worldly religions undermined it. Third, we resolve an important causal ambiguity: was the development of the media a cause, consequence, or merely a companion to growth of antislavery organizations?