Research seminars--conversations with one or more presenters that usually focus on a precirculated paper--take place between late September and early May. Programs are offered in five different series: the Boston Area Early American History Seminar, the Boston Environmental History Seminar, the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar, the Boston Seminar on the History of Women and Gender, and the New England Biography Seminar. Learn more about each series and subscribe to receive advance copies of the papers that will be discussed.

 

RSVP required. Please email seminars@masshist.org or phone 617-646-0579.

September

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Lost Cities of Chicago's South Side 26 September 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Carlo Rotella, Boston College Comment: Samuel Zipp, Brown University Any city is composed of many layers, including superseded and could-have-been versions of itself: ...

Any city is composed of many layers, including superseded and could-have-been versions of itself: lost cities. This essay is drawn from Rotella’s current book project on South Shore, a neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Over the past half-century, the area has gradually shifted toward a class system of haves and have-nots separated by an increasing divide. Its fallen orders, which include factory complexes and ethnic urban villages, nevertheless exert a persistent pull today.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
October
Early American History Seminar John Marshall, Slaveowner and Jurist 3 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Paul Finkelman, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Comment: R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut This chapter from Finkelman’s forthcoming book examines the personal and professional life of ...

This chapter from Finkelman’s forthcoming book examines the personal and professional life of Chief Justice John Marshall in the context of his relationship to slavery. Though previous studies downplay Marshall’s slavery jurisprudence and his slaveholding, this paper argues that Marshall as a Supreme Court justice always favored slavery over freedom, and that this reflected his personal investment, emotional and economic, in slavery.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar Early American Environmental Histories 10 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required James Rice, Tufts University Comment: Christopher Parsons, Northeastern University This essay speaks to questions raised in a recent workshop at the Huntington on early American ...

This essay speaks to questions raised in a recent workshop at the Huntington on early American environmental history. How do timespan and scale change our understanding of historical relationships between people and their environments? What new light does environmental history shed on topics such as race, gender, or law? What can early Americanists contribute to the field of environmental history as a whole?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History 17 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Anne G. Balay, Haverford College; Aimee Loiselle, University of Connecticut; Traci L. Parker, UMass-Amherst Moderator: Seth Rockman, Brown University The “New Labor History” is highly gendered, global, and often situated in spaces that ...

The “New Labor History” is highly gendered, global, and often situated in spaces that are transitory or obscured. This session will consider the new directions that the path-breaking work of these three scholars indicates: on female, trans, and intersex truck drivers and state surveillance (Balay), on Puerto Rican needleworkers and the global working class (Loiselle), and on African American women workers in the post-Civil Rights Era (Parker). Note: There are no pre-circulated essays for this session.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Biography Seminar Chasing Your Subject: Traveling Biographers, Traveling Subjects 19 October 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Paul Fisher, Wellesley College; Charlotte Gordon, Endicott College; Sue Quinn, author Moderator: Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer What do biographers learn when they travel to distant parts and foreign countries in pursuit of ...

What do biographers learn when they travel to distant parts and foreign countries in pursuit of their subjects? Is travel a necessary component to writing biography? And what challenges does a traveling subject present to a biographer? This panel will include Paul Fisher, who has traveled extensively to research his work in progress, The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent, His Patrons, and Sexuality in the Art World of the Belle Epoque; Charlotte Gordon, whose latest book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, also took her all over Europe; and Sue Quinn, author of Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady and earlier biographies of Marie Curie and Karen Horney, who has pursued her subjects from Hyde Park to Warsaw and Tokyo.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Allaying Terror: Domesticating Artisan Refugees in South Vietnam, 1956 24 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jennifer Way, University of North Texas Comment: Robert Lee, Brown University This essay explores the publication of photographs of North Vietnam refugee artisans in English ...

This essay explores the publication of photographs of North Vietnam refugee artisans in English-language mass print media. These images served as an extension of American economic diplomacy. They aimed at resettling and domesticating the refugees while diminishing white American middle-class anxieties about the potential spread of communism in South Vietnam, a place Sen. John F. Kennedy pronounced “the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
November
Early American History Seminar British Caledonia: English America and the Scottish Darien Project, 1675-1702 7 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Craig Gallagher, Boston College Comment: Hannah Muller, Brandeis University Beginning in 1695, Scots at home and abroad flocked to support their country's nascent colony on ...

Beginning in 1695, Scots at home and abroad flocked to support their country's nascent colony on the Darien isthmus in Panama. This paper argues that Scots’ enthusiasm for the Darien project stemmed not from national impulses, but from a desire to define their status in a liberal, Protestant British Atlantic World alongside their colonial American allies and patrons.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579. Please note that unlike other sessions in the series, this session begins at 5:30 pm.

More
Environmental History Seminar Drafting the Cape Cod Formula 14 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jacqueline Gonzales, Historical Research Associates Comment: Steven Moga, Smith College When the National Park Service wanted to create a federal park on Cape Cod, residents worried about ...

When the National Park Service wanted to create a federal park on Cape Cod, residents worried about what would happen to their homes, communities, and coastal traditions. This paper examines how citizens articulated their concerns, and how these responses helped the NPS and Senators John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall to create a new acquisition and land management policy that would then be applied to other living landscapes.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Volunteerism and Civil Society in the Twentieth Century 28 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required K. Ian Shin, Bates College, and Chris Staysniak, Boston College Comment: Timothy Neary, Salve Regina University This panel considers volunteerism as sponsored by ethnic and service organizations. Both essays ...

This panel considers volunteerism as sponsored by ethnic and service organizations. Both essays challenge our notions of “belonging” in a civil society, including our understandings of assimilation, activism, and protest. Shin’s paper is “Lions, Scouts, and Legionnaires: Voluntary Associations and the Making of Chinese American Civil Society, 1900-1945.” Staysniak’s essay is “Poverty Warriors, Service Learners, and a Nationwide Movement: Youth Volunteer Service, 1964-1973.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
December
Early American History Seminar Petitions and the Cry of Sedition 5 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Adrian C. Weimer, Providence College Comment: Walter Woodward, University of Connecticut In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and ...

In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and women expressed keen dissatisfaction with the monarchy or General Court, leading to trials over seditious speech. The rich theological language in the petitions and feisty curses in the trial records offer an unrivaled glimpse into the significance of religion for the mobilization of local political communities in this tumultuous era.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar Lived Botany: Settler Colonialism, Household Knowledge Production, and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania 12 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Hannah Anderson, University of Pennsylvania Comment: Thomas Wickman, Trinity College When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that ...

When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that Anderson calls “lived botany.” This term reveals that colonists developed ways of interpreting their landscapes that simultaneously partook of and deviated from the norms of eighteenth-century natural history. Domestic spaces became sites where colonists created information about the natural world, allowing them to feel secure in the new environments where they claimed dominion.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Miss America’s Politics: Beauty and the Development of the New Right since 1968 19 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Comment: Genevieve A. Clutario, Harvard University Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss ...

Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss America pageant, its local networks, and individual contestants to the rise of activist conservative women and the New Right in the 1960s and 1970s. It analyzes the celebration, power, and political effects of normative beauty, steeped in heterosexual gender norms and white supremacy, and argues for the transformative effect of putting diverse women’s voices at the center of political history and inquiry.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
More events
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Lost Cities of Chicago's South Side Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
26 September 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Carlo Rotella, Boston College Comment: Samuel Zipp, Brown University

Any city is composed of many layers, including superseded and could-have-been versions of itself: lost cities. This essay is drawn from Rotella’s current book project on South Shore, a neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Over the past half-century, the area has gradually shifted toward a class system of haves and have-nots separated by an increasing divide. Its fallen orders, which include factory complexes and ethnic urban villages, nevertheless exert a persistent pull today.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar John Marshall, Slaveowner and Jurist Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
3 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Finkelman, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Comment: R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut

This chapter from Finkelman’s forthcoming book examines the personal and professional life of Chief Justice John Marshall in the context of his relationship to slavery. Though previous studies downplay Marshall’s slavery jurisprudence and his slaveholding, this paper argues that Marshall as a Supreme Court justice always favored slavery over freedom, and that this reflected his personal investment, emotional and economic, in slavery.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Early American Environmental Histories Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
10 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM James Rice, Tufts University Comment: Christopher Parsons, Northeastern University

This essay speaks to questions raised in a recent workshop at the Huntington on early American environmental history. How do timespan and scale change our understanding of historical relationships between people and their environments? What new light does environmental history shed on topics such as race, gender, or law? What can early Americanists contribute to the field of environmental history as a whole?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
17 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Anne G. Balay, Haverford College; Aimee Loiselle, University of Connecticut; Traci L. Parker, UMass-Amherst Moderator: Seth Rockman, Brown University

The “New Labor History” is highly gendered, global, and often situated in spaces that are transitory or obscured. This session will consider the new directions that the path-breaking work of these three scholars indicates: on female, trans, and intersex truck drivers and state surveillance (Balay), on Puerto Rican needleworkers and the global working class (Loiselle), and on African American women workers in the post-Civil Rights Era (Parker). Note: There are no pre-circulated essays for this session.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Biography Seminar Chasing Your Subject: Traveling Biographers, Traveling Subjects Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
19 October 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Paul Fisher, Wellesley College; Charlotte Gordon, Endicott College; Sue Quinn, author Moderator: Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer

What do biographers learn when they travel to distant parts and foreign countries in pursuit of their subjects? Is travel a necessary component to writing biography? And what challenges does a traveling subject present to a biographer? This panel will include Paul Fisher, who has traveled extensively to research his work in progress, The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent, His Patrons, and Sexuality in the Art World of the Belle Epoque; Charlotte Gordon, whose latest book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, also took her all over Europe; and Sue Quinn, author of Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady and earlier biographies of Marie Curie and Karen Horney, who has pursued her subjects from Hyde Park to Warsaw and Tokyo.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Allaying Terror: Domesticating Artisan Refugees in South Vietnam, 1956 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
24 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jennifer Way, University of North Texas Comment: Robert Lee, Brown University

This essay explores the publication of photographs of North Vietnam refugee artisans in English-language mass print media. These images served as an extension of American economic diplomacy. They aimed at resettling and domesticating the refugees while diminishing white American middle-class anxieties about the potential spread of communism in South Vietnam, a place Sen. John F. Kennedy pronounced “the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar British Caledonia: English America and the Scottish Darien Project, 1675-1702 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
7 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Craig Gallagher, Boston College Comment: Hannah Muller, Brandeis University

Beginning in 1695, Scots at home and abroad flocked to support their country's nascent colony on the Darien isthmus in Panama. This paper argues that Scots’ enthusiasm for the Darien project stemmed not from national impulses, but from a desire to define their status in a liberal, Protestant British Atlantic World alongside their colonial American allies and patrons.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579. Please note that unlike other sessions in the series, this session begins at 5:30 pm.

close
Environmental History Seminar Drafting the Cape Cod Formula Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
14 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jacqueline Gonzales, Historical Research Associates Comment: Steven Moga, Smith College

When the National Park Service wanted to create a federal park on Cape Cod, residents worried about what would happen to their homes, communities, and coastal traditions. This paper examines how citizens articulated their concerns, and how these responses helped the NPS and Senators John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall to create a new acquisition and land management policy that would then be applied to other living landscapes.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Volunteerism and Civil Society in the Twentieth Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
28 November 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM K. Ian Shin, Bates College, and Chris Staysniak, Boston College Comment: Timothy Neary, Salve Regina University

This panel considers volunteerism as sponsored by ethnic and service organizations. Both essays challenge our notions of “belonging” in a civil society, including our understandings of assimilation, activism, and protest. Shin’s paper is “Lions, Scouts, and Legionnaires: Voluntary Associations and the Making of Chinese American Civil Society, 1900-1945.” Staysniak’s essay is “Poverty Warriors, Service Learners, and a Nationwide Movement: Youth Volunteer Service, 1964-1973.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar Petitions and the Cry of Sedition Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
5 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Adrian C. Weimer, Providence College Comment: Walter Woodward, University of Connecticut

In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and women expressed keen dissatisfaction with the monarchy or General Court, leading to trials over seditious speech. The rich theological language in the petitions and feisty curses in the trial records offer an unrivaled glimpse into the significance of religion for the mobilization of local political communities in this tumultuous era.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Lived Botany: Settler Colonialism, Household Knowledge Production, and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
12 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Hannah Anderson, University of Pennsylvania Comment: Thomas Wickman, Trinity College

When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that Anderson calls “lived botany.” This term reveals that colonists developed ways of interpreting their landscapes that simultaneously partook of and deviated from the norms of eighteenth-century natural history. Domestic spaces became sites where colonists created information about the natural world, allowing them to feel secure in the new environments where they claimed dominion.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Miss America’s Politics: Beauty and the Development of the New Right since 1968 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
19 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Comment: Genevieve A. Clutario, Harvard University

Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss America pageant, its local networks, and individual contestants to the rise of activist conservative women and the New Right in the 1960s and 1970s. It analyzes the celebration, power, and political effects of normative beauty, steeped in heterosexual gender norms and white supremacy, and argues for the transformative effect of putting diverse women’s voices at the center of political history and inquiry.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close