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.

February

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture 27 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jonathan Cohen, University of Virginia, and Davor Mondom, Syracuse University Comment: Sven Beckert, Harvard University This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., ...

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free enterprise or as a solution to high state taxes. Mondom’s paper is “Capitalism with a Human Face: Amway, Direct Sales, and the Redemption of Free Enterprise.” Cohen’s essay is titled “Rivers of Gold: Scientific Games and the Spread of State Lotteries, 1980-1984.”

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

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March
Early American History Seminar, Environmental History Seminar Panel Discussion: Common Spaces: Environmental History and the Study of Early America 6 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christopher Pastore, State University of New York at Albany; Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut; Conevery Valencius, Boston College Moderator: TBD This panel takes the opportunity to bring the fields of environmental and early American history ...

This panel takes the opportunity to bring the fields of environmental and early American history into closer conversation. Environmental historians are concerned with concepts such as ecological imperialism and non-anthropocentric empires, built and natural environments, controlling and organizing space, and the relationship between borders and frontiers. How does or might this influence scholarship on early America? How can work on early American history enrich environmental historians’ understanding of empire, metropoles and borderlands, movement and colonization?

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

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History of Women and Gender Seminar On Fantasy 20 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Rhae Lynn Barnes, Princeton University, and Emily Owens, Brown University Comment: Jasmine Johnson, Brown University This paper argues that fantasies of racial and gendered mastery—seen in law, racial ...

This paper argues that fantasies of racial and gendered mastery—seen in law, racial performance, and sexual violence—were important world-making tools in the nineteenth century. It looks at how white supremacist fantasies took shape in the courtroom and in blackface dramas, what their impact was, and how historians might begin to find and examine these fantasies in the archives.

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

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Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects 22 March 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is ...

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

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

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar La Villanía Arizoniana: Disenfranchisement, Citizenship, and Defining the Body Politic in the Early Twentieth Century US-Mexico Borderlands 27 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College Comment: Alex Keyssar, Harvard Kennedy School In 1909 and 1912, the Arizona legislature enacted requirements that all voters be literate in ...

In 1909 and 1912, the Arizona legislature enacted requirements that all voters be literate in English, sparking a storm of multilingual protests in the papers and the courts. How and why Anglo-Arizonans took the right to vote from thousands of Mexican-American men and how Spanish-speakers fought back shows how conflicting views of race and ethnicity have influenced citizenship in the U.S.’s southwestern borderlands.

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

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April
Early American History Seminar Terror Twice Told: Popular Conventions, Political Violence, and the Coming of the Constitutional Crisis, 1780-1787 3 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Brendan McConville, Boston University Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut As the revolutionary war ended, members of committees, conventions and other extraordinary ...

As the revolutionary war ended, members of committees, conventions and other extraordinary revolutionary institutions continued to operate as independent political actors. Between 1781 and at least 1786, committeemen and conventioneers launched forceful, violent efforts to reengineer American society. Committee-directed mobs expelled “tories” from many communities, and committeemen and conventioneers used both local laws and contract theory to legitimate these expulsions. This paper argues that the wave of political violence after the American victory at Yorktown in 1781 ultimately reflected conflicts within the American political community over who could be an American, what institutions constituted “the people” in a republic, and the character and limits of the “the people’s” power to form self-governing institutions. These disputes played an important role in creating the 1787 constitutional crisis.

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

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Environmental History Seminar The Ice Trade: Frederic Tudor’s “Slippery Speculation” 10 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: David Spanagel, Worcester Polytechnic Institute This paper reexamines the emergence and development of the ice trade in Boston and North America, ...

This paper reexamines the emergence and development of the ice trade in Boston and North America, described in 1806 by the Boston Gazette as a “slippery speculation.” What can the ice trade tell us about environmental, economic, political, and spatial change in nineteenth-century Boston and North America?

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

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the High School U.S. History Curriculum: A Conversation 17 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Wendy Bergeron, Winnacunnet High School; Marlin Kann, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School; Miriam Morgenstern, History UnErased; Susan Zeiger, Primary Source Moderator: Victoria Cain, Northeastern University All high school students in the United States study American history, and many of them seek mastery ...

All high school students in the United States study American history, and many of them seek mastery in the subject, which is the second most popular at the Advanced Placement level. Yet relatively few female actors appear in high school textbooks, and graduates arrive on college campuses with widely varying levels of exposure to the history of women, gender, and sexuality in America, especially prior to the 1990s. This panel discussion, featuring university faculty, secondary educators, and activist curriculum specialists, aims to seed an ongoing discussion between high school and post-secondary instructors of American history about gendering the U.S. History curriculum. What topics in women’s and gender history and in the history of sexuality get covered when, where, and how? How can college- and university-based scholars do more to connect their work with high school classrooms? How are secondary educators—and their students—advancing and reshaping the field?

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs with the completion of a lesson plan.

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

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Creepy Crawling in Los Angeles: the Manson Family and Cultural Mixing as Apocalypse 24 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jeffrey Melnick, UMass-Boston Comment: Gretchen Heefner, Northeastern University Charles Manson made national news in 1969 when several “Family” members were arrested ...

Charles Manson made national news in 1969 when several “Family” members were arrested for murder, but by then he was well-established in Los Angeles. This paper explores the cultural fluidity that allowed Los Angeles’s hip aristocracy to mingle with marginal figures like Manson, but also the backlash which turned the Manson Family into a warning for the dangers of migration and the promiscuous cultural mixing that could follow.

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

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May
Early American History Seminar The Time of Anarchy: the Susquehannock Scattering and the Crisis of English Colonialism, 1675-1685 1 May 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Matthew Kruer, University of Chicago Comment: Linford Fisher, Brown University Part of a larger book project, this paper argues that the seemingly distinct conflicts across the ...

Part of a larger book project, this paper argues that the seemingly distinct conflicts across the English colonies in the 1670s were actually connected by the political initiatives of the scattered Susquehannock Indians. The dispersion of the Susquehannocks caused instability in surrounding Native American and colonial societies, drawing them into a spiral of violence interrupted only by Susquehannock success, which brought stability to the northeast and shattered the southeast.

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

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jonathan Cohen, University of Virginia, and Davor Mondom, Syracuse University Comment: Sven Beckert, Harvard University

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free enterprise or as a solution to high state taxes. Mondom’s paper is “Capitalism with a Human Face: Amway, Direct Sales, and the Redemption of Free Enterprise.” Cohen’s essay is titled “Rivers of Gold: Scientific Games and the Spread of State Lotteries, 1980-1984.”

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

close
Early American History Seminar, Environmental History Seminar Panel Discussion: Common Spaces: Environmental History and the Study of Early America Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
6 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Pastore, State University of New York at Albany; Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut; Conevery Valencius, Boston College Moderator: TBD

This panel takes the opportunity to bring the fields of environmental and early American history into closer conversation. Environmental historians are concerned with concepts such as ecological imperialism and non-anthropocentric empires, built and natural environments, controlling and organizing space, and the relationship between borders and frontiers. How does or might this influence scholarship on early America? How can work on early American history enrich environmental historians’ understanding of empire, metropoles and borderlands, movement and colonization?

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

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar On Fantasy Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
20 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Rhae Lynn Barnes, Princeton University, and Emily Owens, Brown University Comment: Jasmine Johnson, Brown University

This paper argues that fantasies of racial and gendered mastery—seen in law, racial performance, and sexual violence—were important world-making tools in the nineteenth century. It looks at how white supremacist fantasies took shape in the courtroom and in blackface dramas, what their impact was, and how historians might begin to find and examine these fantasies in the archives.

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

close
Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
22 March 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

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

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar La Villanía Arizoniana: Disenfranchisement, Citizenship, and Defining the Body Politic in the Early Twentieth Century US-Mexico Borderlands Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 March 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College Comment: Alex Keyssar, Harvard Kennedy School

In 1909 and 1912, the Arizona legislature enacted requirements that all voters be literate in English, sparking a storm of multilingual protests in the papers and the courts. How and why Anglo-Arizonans took the right to vote from thousands of Mexican-American men and how Spanish-speakers fought back shows how conflicting views of race and ethnicity have influenced citizenship in the U.S.’s southwestern borderlands.

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

close
Early American History Seminar Terror Twice Told: Popular Conventions, Political Violence, and the Coming of the Constitutional Crisis, 1780-1787 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
3 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Brendan McConville, Boston University Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut

As the revolutionary war ended, members of committees, conventions and other extraordinary revolutionary institutions continued to operate as independent political actors. Between 1781 and at least 1786, committeemen and conventioneers launched forceful, violent efforts to reengineer American society. Committee-directed mobs expelled “tories” from many communities, and committeemen and conventioneers used both local laws and contract theory to legitimate these expulsions. This paper argues that the wave of political violence after the American victory at Yorktown in 1781 ultimately reflected conflicts within the American political community over who could be an American, what institutions constituted “the people” in a republic, and the character and limits of the “the people’s” power to form self-governing institutions. These disputes played an important role in creating the 1787 constitutional crisis.

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

close
Environmental History Seminar The Ice Trade: Frederic Tudor’s “Slippery Speculation” Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
10 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: David Spanagel, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

This paper reexamines the emergence and development of the ice trade in Boston and North America, described in 1806 by the Boston Gazette as a “slippery speculation.” What can the ice trade tell us about environmental, economic, political, and spatial change in nineteenth-century Boston and North America?

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

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the High School U.S. History Curriculum: A Conversation Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
17 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Wendy Bergeron, Winnacunnet High School; Marlin Kann, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School; Miriam Morgenstern, History UnErased; Susan Zeiger, Primary Source Moderator: Victoria Cain, Northeastern University

All high school students in the United States study American history, and many of them seek mastery in the subject, which is the second most popular at the Advanced Placement level. Yet relatively few female actors appear in high school textbooks, and graduates arrive on college campuses with widely varying levels of exposure to the history of women, gender, and sexuality in America, especially prior to the 1990s. This panel discussion, featuring university faculty, secondary educators, and activist curriculum specialists, aims to seed an ongoing discussion between high school and post-secondary instructors of American history about gendering the U.S. History curriculum. What topics in women’s and gender history and in the history of sexuality get covered when, where, and how? How can college- and university-based scholars do more to connect their work with high school classrooms? How are secondary educators—and their students—advancing and reshaping the field?

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs with the completion of a lesson plan.

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

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Creepy Crawling in Los Angeles: the Manson Family and Cultural Mixing as Apocalypse Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
24 April 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jeffrey Melnick, UMass-Boston Comment: Gretchen Heefner, Northeastern University

Charles Manson made national news in 1969 when several “Family” members were arrested for murder, but by then he was well-established in Los Angeles. This paper explores the cultural fluidity that allowed Los Angeles’s hip aristocracy to mingle with marginal figures like Manson, but also the backlash which turned the Manson Family into a warning for the dangers of migration and the promiscuous cultural mixing that could follow.

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

close
Early American History Seminar The Time of Anarchy: the Susquehannock Scattering and the Crisis of English Colonialism, 1675-1685 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
1 May 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Matthew Kruer, University of Chicago Comment: Linford Fisher, Brown University

Part of a larger book project, this paper argues that the seemingly distinct conflicts across the English colonies in the 1670s were actually connected by the political initiatives of the scattered Susquehannock Indians. The dispersion of the Susquehannocks caused instability in surrounding Native American and colonial societies, drawing them into a spiral of violence interrupted only by Susquehannock success, which brought stability to the northeast and shattered the southeast.

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

close