Massachusetts Historical Society Conferences

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"'So Sudden an Alteration': The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution"

NEW DATE: 9-11 April 2015

 

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Infusing new energy into the study of the American Revolution will be at the top of the agenda for this program. The conference organizers—Brendan McConville of Boston University, Patrick Spero of Williams College, and Conrad Edick Wright of the MHS—believe that over the past two decades the study of the Revolution has generated little in the way of fundamentally new approaches to the topic. The program will pay special attention to new ways to understand the political roots and consequences of the crisis.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Woody Holton, the McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, “‘Not Yet’: The Originality Crisis in American Revolution Studies,” and a proposal by Boston University Professor of History Brendan McConville, "The Great Cycle: The Professional Study of the American Revolution, 1960-2015," which offers a new approach to thinking about the conflict. It will also include nine panels, each consisting of a discussion of three precirculated papers; a wrap-up discussion; a visit to the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library (Registration is now closed); and an introduction to Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, Jr., the Society’s digital collection of the Revolutionary-era publications that Dorr, a Boston shopkeeper, assembled between the mid 1760s and the mid 1770s, commented on, and indexed.

Support for the conference includes grants from the David Library of the American Revolution, the Lowell Institute, Boston University, and Williams College; support from the Massachusetts Historical Society; and a gift from an anonymous donor.

Learn more about the program.

Past Conferences

For more than two decades, the Massachusetts Historical Society has been offering scholarly conferences on a wide variety of topics. These have ranged from the libraries of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, to Transcendentalism, Boston's business community before the Civil War, the city's environmental history, and recent immigration to the U.S.

Presenters come from throughout the U.S. and are leading scholars in their respective fields. Often, conferences culminate in a publication of essays that are drawn from the program and represent a lasting contribution to historical scholarship. Past conferences include:

Massachusetts and the Civil War: The Commonwealth and National Disunion

What's New about the New Immigration to the U.S.? Traditions and Transformations since 1965 (2011)

Margaret Fuller and Her Circles (2010)

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson: Libraries, Leadership, and Legacy (2009)

I-CHORA 3: International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (2007)

Power and Protest: The Civil Rights Movement in Boston, 1960-1968 (2006)

Remaking Boston: The City and Environmental Change Over the Centuries (2006)

Women, War, Work: American Women and the U.S. Military in the Twentieth Century (2004)

"Spires of Form": The Emerson Bicentennial Conference (2003)

For information about earlier conference programs, please contact Kate Viens, Research Coordinator, at 617-646-0568 or kviens@masshist.org.

Conference Publications

From its first conference volume on American Unitarianism, issued in 1989, to Margaret Fuller and Her Circles, forthcoming from the University Press of New England, the MHS has made the scholarship developed through its conferences widely and permanently available to the field.

The MHS publication series Studies in American History and Culture comprises many of these volumes. More recently, MHS conference volumes published by other presses have given our conference scholarship an even wider reach. Peruse these essay collections.

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