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.

April

Immigration and Urban History Seminar Due Credit: Chinese Workers and the Central Pacific Railroad 28 April 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Manu Vimalassery, Barnard College Hidetaka Hirota, Columbia University It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of ...

It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of
national belonging. But if we focus on imperialism and capitalism, rather than belonging, how might we
remember Chinese migrant labor on the Central Pacific differently? This talk will consider Chinese
railroad labor in relation to the history and politics of imperialism, race, and freedom, in a context of
global Chinese and South Asian indentured labor migrations. Chinese workers’ migration debts, as well
as their racialization and community institutions, provided means of labor control, exploitation, and
differentiation that were at the heart of Central Pacific Railroad business strategies. These strategies
displaced risk and violence onto Chinese workers in order to concentrate profit and power at the upper
echelons of corporate decision-making.

details
May
Early American History Seminar "All Manner of Slavery Servitude Labour Service Bondage and Hire": Varieties of Indian and African Unfreedom in Colonial New England and Jamaica 5 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Linford Fisher, Brown University Comment: Jennifer Anderson, SUNY - Stonybrook New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But ...

New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But is it possible that there was more than meets the eye? This paper investigates varying ways that people of color labored in Jamaica and New England, and how these unfree circumstances changed over time.

details
Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 19 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University 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
More events
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Due Credit: Chinese Workers and the Central Pacific Railroad 28 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.
Manu Vimalassery, Barnard College Hidetaka Hirota, Columbia University

It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of
national belonging. But if we focus on imperialism and capitalism, rather than belonging, how might we
remember Chinese migrant labor on the Central Pacific differently? This talk will consider Chinese
railroad labor in relation to the history and politics of imperialism, race, and freedom, in a context of
global Chinese and South Asian indentured labor migrations. Chinese workers’ migration debts, as well
as their racialization and community institutions, provided means of labor control, exploitation, and
differentiation that were at the heart of Central Pacific Railroad business strategies. These strategies
displaced risk and violence onto Chinese workers in order to concentrate profit and power at the upper
echelons of corporate decision-making.

close
Early American History Seminar "All Manner of Slavery Servitude Labour Service Bondage and Hire": Varieties of Indian and African Unfreedom in Colonial New England and Jamaica 5 May 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.
Linford Fisher, Brown University Comment: Jennifer Anderson, SUNY - Stonybrook

New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But is it possible that there was more than meets the eye? This paper investigates varying ways that people of color labored in Jamaica and New England, and how these unfree circumstances changed over time.

close
Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 19 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM this event is free Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University 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

Back to top