Seminars

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

Details

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 617-646-0568.

February

Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 3 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University Comment: Maria A. Bollettino, Framingham State University This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching ...

This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching and Interpreting African-American Presence in 18th-Century Rural New England,” by Barbara A. Mathews, and “The Body of Liberties and Bodies in Bondage: Dorcas the Blackmore, Dorchester’s First Church, and the Legalization of Slavery in the Anglo-Atlantic World,” by Gloria McCahon Whiting.

Mathews’s paper draws on a remarkable cache of documentation preserved by early antiquarians of Deerfield, Massachusetts. It discusses the preliminary results of research into slavery in the 18th-century town, focusing on the ways in which slavery was inextricably bound up in the social, economic, and political web that defined a closely-knit rural community. Drawing on the work of Joanne Pope Melish, it also explores the broader implications of this history and its preservation even as Deerfielders in company with other New Englanders disassociated themselves in the decades before and after the Civil War from the region’s slave-holding history.

Whiting’s paper contextualizes the lived experience of one of the Bay Colony’s first African slaves to argue that slavery was bound up with democracy in the colony’s early years; that race shaped servitude from the colony’s founding; that Puritan religion provided slaves with unique opportunities for family building; that family was linked to freedom for the region’s early blacks; that Africans were building kin networks—and whites were recognizing them—from the first decades of Puritan settlement; and that the histories of whites and blacks, of powerful men and their polyglot households, and of law and social relations are inextricably linked.

details
Environmental History Seminar An Enervating Environment: Altered Bodies in the Lowcountry and the British West Indies 10 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Katherine Johnston, Columbia University Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts - Boston This paper examines the interactions between humans and the environment in the eighteenth century. ...

This paper examines the interactions between humans and the environment in the eighteenth century. Both Britons and creoles believed in a close connection between bodies and place, and colonists tried to change the environment based on those perceptions. That interaction created concern for Caribbean inhabitants who attempted to manage the environment to promote their health while noting the environmental changes their actions caused.

details
History of Women and Gender Seminar Her Hat Will Not Down: Sumptuary Laws and Consumer Rights in 1890s Chicago 12 February 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Schlesinger Library Emily A. Remus, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Ardis Cameron, University of Southern Maine This presentation examines a sumptuary law passed in Chicago to regulate the size of ladies’ ...

This presentation examines a sumptuary law passed in Chicago to regulate the size of ladies’ theater hats and a near-riot that erupted over it. It reveals how civic authorities sought to protect the rights of ticketholders by constraining the conspicuous consumption of women. The paper offers insight into early notions of consumer rights and the remaking of gender codes amid capitalist transformation.

details
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "I Had Ample Opportunity to Notice the City as It then Was": Social and Economic Geographies in New York City, 1783-1830 24 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Steven Carl Smith, Providence College Comment: Joshua Greenberg, Bridgewater State College The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between ...

The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between 1783 and 1830. The paper reveals the contours of social and economic networks formed by tradesmen and merchants on the streets and in the print houses of early New York, and focuses on the possibilities of Geographic Information Systems technology for book history and American studies.

details
March
Early American History Seminar Degrees of Britishness: The People of Albany, New York, and Questions of Cultural Community Membership, 1763-1775 3 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Elizabeth M. Covart, Boston, Massachusetts Comment: Lisa Wilson, Connecticut College Following the French and Indian War, Albanians believed themselves to be British, but visiting ...

Following the French and Indian War, Albanians believed themselves to be British, but visiting Britons did not recognize them as fellow countrymen. New World Dutch architecture, the Albany Dutch dialect, and the Dutch Reformed Church contributed to the British view of the Albanians as inter-imperial foreigners: subjects who lived within the British empire, but stood outside of the British cultural community. This paper, drawn from Covart’s larger book project, explores the Albanians’ response, which ranged from rebuilding efforts to public protest.

details
Environmental History Seminar Fear of an Open Beach: The Privatization of the Connecticut Shore and the Fate of Coastal America 10 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Andrew W. Kahrl, University of Virginia Comment: Karl Haglund, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation This essay traces the rise of private beaches along the Connecticut shore and the efforts of ...

This essay traces the rise of private beaches along the Connecticut shore and the efforts of municipalities to protect exclusionary laws from the effects of civil rights movements. It argues that overdeveloped coastlines have been the product of racial and class segregation; thus, the battle over public access to the nation’s shoreline during the 1970s sheds light on the roots of the environmental crisis facing America’s coast.

details
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Remaking Boston's Chinatown: Race, Place, and Redevelopment after World War II 24 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Thomas Chen, Brown University Comment: Jim Vrabel, author of A People's History of the New Boston This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the ...

This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the decades after World War II. Focusing on contests over Chinatown space and place, it explores how postwar formations of Chinese American identity and community were intertwined with the urban transformation that Boston and other American cities underwent in this period.

details
Early American History Seminar Frontiers and Geopolitics of Early America 31 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Patrick Spero, Williams College Comment: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College This essay investigates the use of the term “frontier” in its colonial context to show ...

This essay investigates the use of the term “frontier” in its colonial context to show that the word conveyed a potent message that affected the political development of British North America. More than just an etymological exercise, the research shows how governmental and social understandings of frontiers and their specific locations influenced official policies and settler action. It argues that a disagreement over the location and treatment of the imperial frontier in the 1760s created a crisis of empire in the years preceding Independence. The essay ends with an examination of changes to the word’s meaning within American society in the early national period.

details
April
Biography Seminar Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter 2 April 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Dava Sobel in conversation with Susan Ware A conversation with the author of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the ...

A conversation with the author of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, and Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, on the subject of writing scientific biography.

details
Environmental History Seminar Legacy Pollution Issues in Energy Development: The Cases of Manufactured Gas and Natural Gas 14 April 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Joel Tarr, Carnegie Mellon University Patrick Malone, Brown University This paper will present two case studies concerning the environmental impacts of past energy ...

This paper will present two case studies concerning the environmental impacts of past energy transitions and their legacy. The cases will focus upon the manufactured gas industry with Massachusetts examples and conventional natural gas development in western Pennsylvania.

details
History of Women and Gender Seminar Mildred Jefferson and the Right to Life Revolution of 1976 23 April 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jennifer Donnally, Hollins University Sara L. Dubrow, Williams College Dr. Mildred Faye Jefferson was an African American Republican who became a pivotal leader of the ...

Dr. Mildred Faye Jefferson was an African American Republican who became a pivotal leader of the American conservative movement when she presided over the National Right to Life Committee, the largest anti-abortion organization in the United States, from 1974 to 1978. As president, Jefferson prioritized a lobbying campaign to cut federal Medicaid funding of abortion for poor, minority, and underage women. This paper focuses on Mildred Jefferson and the anti-abortion Medicaid campaign to illustrate how conservative minority women employed categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality to break down existing political coalitions and forge new alliances, paving the way for the Reagan Revolution of 1980.

details
More events
Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 3 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University Comment: Maria A. Bollettino, Framingham State University

This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching and Interpreting African-American Presence in 18th-Century Rural New England,” by Barbara A. Mathews, and “The Body of Liberties and Bodies in Bondage: Dorcas the Blackmore, Dorchester’s First Church, and the Legalization of Slavery in the Anglo-Atlantic World,” by Gloria McCahon Whiting.

Mathews’s paper draws on a remarkable cache of documentation preserved by early antiquarians of Deerfield, Massachusetts. It discusses the preliminary results of research into slavery in the 18th-century town, focusing on the ways in which slavery was inextricably bound up in the social, economic, and political web that defined a closely-knit rural community. Drawing on the work of Joanne Pope Melish, it also explores the broader implications of this history and its preservation even as Deerfielders in company with other New Englanders disassociated themselves in the decades before and after the Civil War from the region’s slave-holding history.

Whiting’s paper contextualizes the lived experience of one of the Bay Colony’s first African slaves to argue that slavery was bound up with democracy in the colony’s early years; that race shaped servitude from the colony’s founding; that Puritan religion provided slaves with unique opportunities for family building; that family was linked to freedom for the region’s early blacks; that Africans were building kin networks—and whites were recognizing them—from the first decades of Puritan settlement; and that the histories of whites and blacks, of powerful men and their polyglot households, and of law and social relations are inextricably linked.

close
Environmental History Seminar An Enervating Environment: Altered Bodies in the Lowcountry and the British West Indies 10 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Katherine Johnston, Columbia University Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts - Boston

This paper examines the interactions between humans and the environment in the eighteenth century. Both Britons and creoles believed in a close connection between bodies and place, and colonists tried to change the environment based on those perceptions. That interaction created concern for Caribbean inhabitants who attempted to manage the environment to promote their health while noting the environmental changes their actions caused.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Her Hat Will Not Down: Sumptuary Laws and Consumer Rights in 1890s Chicago 12 February 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Location: Schlesinger Library Emily A. Remus, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Ardis Cameron, University of Southern Maine

This presentation examines a sumptuary law passed in Chicago to regulate the size of ladies’ theater hats and a near-riot that erupted over it. It reveals how civic authorities sought to protect the rights of ticketholders by constraining the conspicuous consumption of women. The paper offers insight into early notions of consumer rights and the remaking of gender codes amid capitalist transformation.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "I Had Ample Opportunity to Notice the City as It then Was": Social and Economic Geographies in New York City, 1783-1830 24 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Steven Carl Smith, Providence College Comment: Joshua Greenberg, Bridgewater State College

The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between 1783 and 1830. The paper reveals the contours of social and economic networks formed by tradesmen and merchants on the streets and in the print houses of early New York, and focuses on the possibilities of Geographic Information Systems technology for book history and American studies.

close
Early American History Seminar Degrees of Britishness: The People of Albany, New York, and Questions of Cultural Community Membership, 1763-1775 3 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Elizabeth M. Covart, Boston, Massachusetts Comment: Lisa Wilson, Connecticut College

Following the French and Indian War, Albanians believed themselves to be British, but visiting Britons did not recognize them as fellow countrymen. New World Dutch architecture, the Albany Dutch dialect, and the Dutch Reformed Church contributed to the British view of the Albanians as inter-imperial foreigners: subjects who lived within the British empire, but stood outside of the British cultural community. This paper, drawn from Covart’s larger book project, explores the Albanians’ response, which ranged from rebuilding efforts to public protest.

close
Environmental History Seminar Fear of an Open Beach: The Privatization of the Connecticut Shore and the Fate of Coastal America 10 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Andrew W. Kahrl, University of Virginia Comment: Karl Haglund, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

This essay traces the rise of private beaches along the Connecticut shore and the efforts of municipalities to protect exclusionary laws from the effects of civil rights movements. It argues that overdeveloped coastlines have been the product of racial and class segregation; thus, the battle over public access to the nation’s shoreline during the 1970s sheds light on the roots of the environmental crisis facing America’s coast.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Remaking Boston's Chinatown: Race, Place, and Redevelopment after World War II 24 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Thomas Chen, Brown University Comment: Jim Vrabel, author of A People's History of the New Boston

This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the decades after World War II. Focusing on contests over Chinatown space and place, it explores how postwar formations of Chinese American identity and community were intertwined with the urban transformation that Boston and other American cities underwent in this period.

close
Early American History Seminar Frontiers and Geopolitics of Early America 31 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Patrick Spero, Williams College Comment: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College

This essay investigates the use of the term “frontier” in its colonial context to show that the word conveyed a potent message that affected the political development of British North America. More than just an etymological exercise, the research shows how governmental and social understandings of frontiers and their specific locations influenced official policies and settler action. It argues that a disagreement over the location and treatment of the imperial frontier in the 1760s created a crisis of empire in the years preceding Independence. The essay ends with an examination of changes to the word’s meaning within American society in the early national period.

close
Biography Seminar Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter 2 April 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Dava Sobel in conversation with Susan Ware

A conversation with the author of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, and Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, on the subject of writing scientific biography.

close
Environmental History Seminar Legacy Pollution Issues in Energy Development: The Cases of Manufactured Gas and Natural Gas 14 April 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Joel Tarr, Carnegie Mellon University Patrick Malone, Brown University

This paper will present two case studies concerning the environmental impacts of past energy transitions and their legacy. The cases will focus upon the manufactured gas industry with Massachusetts examples and conventional natural gas development in western Pennsylvania.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Mildred Jefferson and the Right to Life Revolution of 1976 23 April 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Jennifer Donnally, Hollins University Sara L. Dubrow, Williams College

Dr. Mildred Faye Jefferson was an African American Republican who became a pivotal leader of the American conservative movement when she presided over the National Right to Life Committee, the largest anti-abortion organization in the United States, from 1974 to 1978. As president, Jefferson prioritized a lobbying campaign to cut federal Medicaid funding of abortion for poor, minority, and underage women. This paper focuses on Mildred Jefferson and the anti-abortion Medicaid campaign to illustrate how conservative minority women employed categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality to break down existing political coalitions and forge new alliances, paving the way for the Reagan Revolution of 1980.

close

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