The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar focuses on the study of "modern" America from its inception in the nineteenth century to the opening decades of the twenty-first century. This wide chronological expanse offers scholars an opportunity to delve into key issues in American society, such as race, ethnicity, and global migration, as well as the role of the suburbs, the exurbs, and the importance of nationhood, citizenship, identifications, and more. The seminars examine what constitutes a society or culture and what divides it, from the Civil Rights era to the Gilded Age to the cyberworld.

 

Most seminar meetings revolve around the discussion of a pre-circulated paper. Sessions open with remarks from the essayist and an assigned commentator, after which the discussion is opened to the floor. Each session is followed by a reception with light refreshments.

 

Attendance is free and open to everyone. Subscribers who remit $25 for the year will receive early online access to any pre-circulated materials. Subscriptions also underwrite the cost of the series. Pre-circulated materials will be available to non-subscribers who have RSVP’d for a session on the day prior to the program. Subscribe to this seminar series and you will receive access to the seminar papers for SIX series: the Boston Seminar on African American History, the Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar, the Boston Seminar on Environmental History, the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality, the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture, and our new Seminar on Digital History. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these four fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend!

 

Join the mailing list today by emailing seminars@masshist.org.

 

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the latest scholarship. Subscribe

September 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar "No unseated crowd is liable to be orderly" : Organizing Audiences around Spectacle in the Industrial Era 29 September 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Scott Kushner, University of Rhode Island Comment: Derek Miller, Harvard University Crowd control technologies—turnstiles, bleachers, stanchions, and seats—channel bodies ...

Crowd control technologies—turnstiles, bleachers, stanchions, and seats—channel bodies through the spaces of cultural performance: theater, music, and sport. The increasing rationalization and standardization of crowd control in the early 20th century corresponds with a critical and popular understanding of crowds as dangerous and destabilizing. This paper mines archival evidence to show how industrial-age crowd control was framed as technology that ordered masses (into lines or rows), thereby rendering masses orderly (cooperative, docile, and non-threatening).

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to come join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
October 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Writing Uncompensated Emancipation into the Lost Cause 27 October 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Amanda Kleintop, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Comment: Nina Silber, Boston University After the US Civil War, white southerners claimed federal reimbursements for the value of freed ...

After the US Civil War, white southerners claimed federal reimbursements for the value of freed slaves Federal lawmakers rejected these claims in the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet, historians have long concluded that white southerners accepted uncompensated emancipation. Why did Americans forget these claims? This paper argues that white southerners abandoned them in the 1880s-1890s and rewrote history. They insisted that property in humans was “unprofitable,” and they did not need compensation after Confederate defeat. This narrative helped them reestablish political power and absolve themselves of four years of bloodshed and generations of enslavement. 

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to come join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
February 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar A Portal to the Pacific Ocean: Puget Sound, the Transcontinental Railroads, and Transpacific Trade, 1869–1914 23 February 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Sean Fraga, University of Southern California David Armitage, Harvard University The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture ...

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as Sean Fraga argues, these railroads also saw themselves as part of an emergent global steam-powered network. This paper shows how American interest in trade with East Asia motivated Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway to build transcontinental lines to Puget Sound. In doing so, these railroads left lasting impacts on the region’s lands, waters, and peoples.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
March 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Parlor and the Public: Tin Pan Alley and the Birth of Manhattan Mass Culture 30 March 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Author: Samuel Backer, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Jeffrey Melnick, University of Massachusetts - Boston During the late 19th century, the upstart sheet music firms known as Tin Pan Alley developed a ...

During the late 19th century, the upstart sheet music firms known as Tin Pan Alley developed a revolutionary approach to publishing, constructing a system able to sell songs at a previously unimaginable scale and rate. Relying on New York’s central role in national performance networks to disseminate their compositions, this industry was defined by the tension between publishers’ attempts to create mass-marketing commodities, and the fast-moving, alcohol-drenched urban environments in which their products were required to thrive.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
April 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The “Other” Illegals: Unauthorized European Immigration to New York City and Boston in the 20th Century 27 April 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Authors: Danielle Battisti, University of Nebraska – Omaha; Carly Goodman, La Salle University Comment: Christopher Capozzola Since 1965, U.S. political and social discourse about immigration has been dominated by concerns ...

Since 1965, U.S. political and social discourse about immigration has been dominated by concerns over undocumented immigration, a legal and social category understood to apply almost exclusively to non-white immigrants. This panel will examine a now obscure part of twentieth century immigration history: the migration of unauthorized white Europeans. The session will complicate current understandings of the period to demonstrate that early in the twentieth century southern and eastern European immigrants were in fact stigmatized as “criminals” and “illegals.” However by mid-century, southern and eastern Europeans were able to draw upon their social and political capital to change public perceptions and state policies. Legal status provided relief from the threat of deportation or exclusion – and reinforced the racialized category of undocumented immigrant. These papers will bring the stories to light of these “other” illegal immigrants and reinsert them into the conversations and policy debates surrounding unauthorized immigration.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paperLearn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

More
Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar "No unseated crowd is liable to be orderly" : Organizing Audiences around Spectacle in the Industrial Era 29 September 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Scott Kushner, University of Rhode Island Comment: Derek Miller, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg

Crowd control technologies—turnstiles, bleachers, stanchions, and seats—channel bodies through the spaces of cultural performance: theater, music, and sport. The increasing rationalization and standardization of crowd control in the early 20th century corresponds with a critical and popular understanding of crowds as dangerous and destabilizing. This paper mines archival evidence to show how industrial-age crowd control was framed as technology that ordered masses (into lines or rows), thereby rendering masses orderly (cooperative, docile, and non-threatening).

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to come join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Writing Uncompensated Emancipation into the Lost Cause 27 October 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Amanda Kleintop, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Comment: Nina Silber, Boston University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg

After the US Civil War, white southerners claimed federal reimbursements for the value of freed slaves Federal lawmakers rejected these claims in the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet, historians have long concluded that white southerners accepted uncompensated emancipation. Why did Americans forget these claims? This paper argues that white southerners abandoned them in the 1880s-1890s and rewrote history. They insisted that property in humans was “unprofitable,” and they did not need compensation after Confederate defeat. This narrative helped them reestablish political power and absolve themselves of four years of bloodshed and generations of enslavement. 

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to come join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar A Portal to the Pacific Ocean: Puget Sound, the Transcontinental Railroads, and Transpacific Trade, 1869–1914 Register registration required at no cost 23 February 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Sean Fraga, University of Southern California David Armitage, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as Sean Fraga argues, these railroads also saw themselves as part of an emergent global steam-powered network. This paper shows how American interest in trade with East Asia motivated Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway to build transcontinental lines to Puget Sound. In doing so, these railroads left lasting impacts on the region’s lands, waters, and peoples.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Parlor and the Public: Tin Pan Alley and the Birth of Manhattan Mass Culture Register registration required at no cost 30 March 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Author: Samuel Backer, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Jeffrey Melnick, University of Massachusetts - Boston Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg

During the late 19th century, the upstart sheet music firms known as Tin Pan Alley developed a revolutionary approach to publishing, constructing a system able to sell songs at a previously unimaginable scale and rate. Relying on New York’s central role in national performance networks to disseminate their compositions, this industry was defined by the tension between publishers’ attempts to create mass-marketing commodities, and the fast-moving, alcohol-drenched urban environments in which their products were required to thrive.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The “Other” Illegals: Unauthorized European Immigration to New York City and Boston in the 20th Century Register registration required at no cost 27 April 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. Authors: Danielle Battisti, University of Nebraska – Omaha; Carly Goodman, La Salle University Comment: Christopher Capozzola Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/MASC_Banner.jpg

Since 1965, U.S. political and social discourse about immigration has been dominated by concerns over undocumented immigration, a legal and social category understood to apply almost exclusively to non-white immigrants. This panel will examine a now obscure part of twentieth century immigration history: the migration of unauthorized white Europeans. The session will complicate current understandings of the period to demonstrate that early in the twentieth century southern and eastern European immigrants were in fact stigmatized as “criminals” and “illegals.” However by mid-century, southern and eastern Europeans were able to draw upon their social and political capital to change public perceptions and state policies. Legal status provided relief from the threat of deportation or exclusion – and reinforced the racialized category of undocumented immigrant. These papers will bring the stories to light of these “other” illegal immigrants and reinsert them into the conversations and policy debates surrounding unauthorized immigration.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paperLearn more.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close