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 Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture, 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.

December 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar Who Was “One-Eyed” Sarah? Searching for an Indigenous Nurse in Local Government 10 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gabriel J. Loiacono, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Comment: Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut This essay considers the life of an indigenous woman, known as “One-Eyed” Sarah, who ...

This essay considers the life of an indigenous woman, known as “One-Eyed” Sarah, who provided full-time nursing care to poor communities in early nineteenth-century Providence, RI. The only historical sources that describe Sarah’s work never provide her last name or details beyond the description “Indian.” So who was she, and how do we tell her story? Using sometimes patchy sources of non-elite people, the author hopes to gain new insights into social welfare history and explore how ordinary women made the poor law function.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, Social Medicine, and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle 17 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sandy Placido, Queens College, CUNY Comment: Susan Reverby, Wellesley College Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual ...

Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual whose life illuminates the crucial role Puerto Ricans played in Cold War-era freedom struggles. Cordero worked as a physician, public health advocate, and radical organizer in New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Egypt, and Nicaragua for over four decades. Using a new framework of feminist social medicine, this essay examines Cordero’s contributions to the field of social medicine, particularly maternal and children’s health.

More
January 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar Supplying Slavery: Jamaica and British Imperial Trade, 1752-1769 7 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Peter Pellizzari, Harvard University Comment: Richard Dunn, American Philosophical Society Historians have long understood the economic importance of Jamaica to the eighteenth-century British ...

Historians have long understood the economic importance of Jamaica to the eighteenth-century British empire, but the vast profits that the island's sugar-slave complexes produced could only have existed with the supplies and provisions provided by mainland colonists in North America. Newly collected data from nearly 10,000 British naval office shipping lists for Kingston, Jamaica provide a re-assessment of the size, nature, and value of this trade. The shipping lists reveal not only how deeply committed the mainland was to supplying Jamaican slavery, but also suggests that we reconsider the island as a powerful regional hub within the larger British Atlantic economy, one in which North America figured as an important hinterland.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar “Wealth and Beauty in Trees”: State Forestry and the Rehabilitation of Massachusetts’s Economy, Landscape, and Culture, 1898-1919 14 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Aaron Ahlstrom, Boston University Comment: Brian Donahue, Brandeis University Massachusetts currently stewards 311,000 acres of state forests and parks. This public land system ...

Massachusetts currently stewards 311,000 acres of state forests and parks. This public land system originated in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy, rehabilitate its unproductive landscapes, and revitalize its rural communities through scientific forestry. This paper offers new perspectives on Progressive Era conservation by analyzing how state foresters sought to improve rural landscapes’ profitability and aesthetics by educating private woodlot owners, suppressing forest fires and pests, and reforesting newly-acquired public lands.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg African American History Seminar “Increasing her Stock”: Two Harriets and the Louisiana Borderlands 16 January 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Rashauna Johnson, Dartmouth College Comment: Jen Manion, Amherst College This paper uses the sexual biographies of two enslaved women, both named Harriet, in Louisiana&rsquo ...

This paper uses the sexual biographies of two enslaved women, both named Harriet, in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes to explore the workings of intimacy and empire in the plantation South during its transition from borderlands to hub of King Cotton.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar "For I'd Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World": Mae Gadpaille's Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community 21 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mary McNeil, Harvard University Comment: Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; ...

In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille's efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could "belong" to this community and who might be left at the margins.

More
Biography Seminar The Art of Family History: Visual Imagery, Family Narrative and Native American Modernism 23 January 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Phil Deloria in conversation with Julie Dobrow Decades ago, historian Philip Deloria (Harvard University) found some drawings in the basement. ...

Decades ago, historian Philip Deloria (Harvard University) found some drawings in the basement. These distinctive prints turned out to be the iconic work of his great aunt. Deloria will speak about his new book, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Aesthetic with Julie Dobrow (Tufts University), author of After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet. The event will focus on how an intensely personal story interweaves Sully’s life and works with the “richness of their historical situation” in Native studies and art history.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Genetown: The Urbanization of the Boston Area Biotechnology Industry 28 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Robin Wolfe Scheffler, MIT Comment: Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology firms anywhere in the world. Yet ...

Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology firms anywhere in the world. Yet in the 1980s, the rapid concentration of the industry within Boston’s urban neighborhoods was a striking contrast to the suburbanization of high technology research and development a generation before. This remarkable urbanization represented the confluence of the labor and financial challenges faced by biotechnology start-ups with decisions regarding municipal governance and redevelopment in the aftermath of deindustrialization.

More
February 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Northern Exposure: American Military Engineering in the Arctic Circle 11 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gretchen Heefner, Northeastern University Comment: Christopher Capozzola, MIT From the late 1940s through the 1960s, U.S. military engineers constructed and maintained a vast, ...

From the late 1940s through the 1960s, U.S. military engineers constructed and maintained a vast, though largely unknown, infrastructure of military facilities throughout the Far North. This paper examines how these engineers explored the Arctic regions, what sorts of information they accumulated about it, and ultimately what happened to that information once it was released from military constraints.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “What the Women Can Do:” Doctors’ Wives and the American Medical Association’s Crusade Against Socialized Medicine 18 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kelly O’Donnell, Thomas Jefferson University Comment: Oliva Weisser, University of Massachusetts, Boston In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national ...

In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national health program in this country, through lobbying and public outreach about the dangers of socialized medicine. Their most powerful weapon in this fight was a less conventional medical instrument: their wives. This paper examines the mobilization of the AMA Woman’s Auxiliary as the main “public relations firm” of organized medicine during these debates and their lingering influence on American health politics.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg African American History Seminar Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks 20 February 2020.Thursday, all day Abigail Cooper, Brandeis University Comment: Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College 1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the ...

1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the Louisiana front. But on the way, a showdown takes place when Pvt. John Green refuses his commanding officer's order to cut his hair, protesting that it was contrary to his religion. In the events that follow, a revealing picture of black self-assertion in the making of freedom emerges, one too often hidden by a Civil War master narrative. This paper tells John Green's story, and asks how we might look at emancipation differently when we view it through his dreadlocks.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Difference the Nineteenth Amendment Made: Southern Black Women and the Reconstruction of American Politics 25 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Liette Gidlow, Wayne State University Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library Many scholars have argued that though the enfranchisement of women was laudable, not much changed ...

Many scholars have argued that though the enfranchisement of women was laudable, not much changed after women got the vote: the suffrage coalition splintered, women’s voter turnout was low, and the progressive reforms promised by suffragists failed to materialize. This interpretation, however, does not fully account for the activities of aspiring African American women voters in the Jim Crow South at the time or more broadly across the U.S. in the decades since. This paper argues that southern Black women’s efforts to vote, successful and otherwise, transformed not only the mid-century Black freedom struggle but political parties, election procedures, and social movements on the right and the left.

More
March 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The 1621 Massasoit-Plymouth Agreement and the Genesis of American Indian Constitutionalism 3 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Daniel R. Mandell, Truman State University Comment: Linford Fisher: Brown University On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense ...

On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense with Plymouth. At the same time, Massasoit promised to send his people who injured Englishmen to stand trial in their courts. While apparently contradictory, Plymouth’s acknowledgment of Wampanoag sovereignty and claim of the right to judge such conflicts reflected emerging international law and English legal norms, and created a constitution for Native-English relations that held for decades. Although King Philip’s War destroyed this agreement, similar political and jurisdictional arrangements continued to dominate British America and were reflected in U.S. Indian policy through the 1820s.

More
More events
Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar Who Was “One-Eyed” Sarah? Searching for an Indigenous Nurse in Local Government Register registration required at no cost 10 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gabriel J. Loiacono, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Comment: Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg

This essay considers the life of an indigenous woman, known as “One-Eyed” Sarah, who provided full-time nursing care to poor communities in early nineteenth-century Providence, RI. The only historical sources that describe Sarah’s work never provide her last name or details beyond the description “Indian.” So who was she, and how do we tell her story? Using sometimes patchy sources of non-elite people, the author hopes to gain new insights into social welfare history and explore how ordinary women made the poor law function.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, Social Medicine, and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle Register registration required at no cost 17 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sandy Placido, Queens College, CUNY Comment: Susan Reverby, Wellesley College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg

Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual whose life illuminates the crucial role Puerto Ricans played in Cold War-era freedom struggles. Cordero worked as a physician, public health advocate, and radical organizer in New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Egypt, and Nicaragua for over four decades. Using a new framework of feminist social medicine, this essay examines Cordero’s contributions to the field of social medicine, particularly maternal and children’s health.

close

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar Supplying Slavery: Jamaica and British Imperial Trade, 1752-1769 Register registration required at no cost 7 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Peter Pellizzari, Harvard University Comment: Richard Dunn, American Philosophical Society Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg

Historians have long understood the economic importance of Jamaica to the eighteenth-century British empire, but the vast profits that the island's sugar-slave complexes produced could only have existed with the supplies and provisions provided by mainland colonists in North America. Newly collected data from nearly 10,000 British naval office shipping lists for Kingston, Jamaica provide a re-assessment of the size, nature, and value of this trade. The shipping lists reveal not only how deeply committed the mainland was to supplying Jamaican slavery, but also suggests that we reconsider the island as a powerful regional hub within the larger British Atlantic economy, one in which North America figured as an important hinterland.

close

Environmental History Seminar “Wealth and Beauty in Trees”: State Forestry and the Rehabilitation of Massachusetts’s Economy, Landscape, and Culture, 1898-1919 Register registration required at no cost 14 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Aaron Ahlstrom, Boston University Comment: Brian Donahue, Brandeis University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg

Massachusetts currently stewards 311,000 acres of state forests and parks. This public land system originated in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy, rehabilitate its unproductive landscapes, and revitalize its rural communities through scientific forestry. This paper offers new perspectives on Progressive Era conservation by analyzing how state foresters sought to improve rural landscapes’ profitability and aesthetics by educating private woodlot owners, suppressing forest fires and pests, and reforesting newly-acquired public lands.

close

African American History Seminar “Increasing her Stock”: Two Harriets and the Louisiana Borderlands Register registration required at no cost 16 January 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Rashauna Johnson, Dartmouth College Comment: Jen Manion, Amherst College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg

This paper uses the sexual biographies of two enslaved women, both named Harriet, in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes to explore the workings of intimacy and empire in the plantation South during its transition from borderlands to hub of King Cotton.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar "For I'd Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World": Mae Gadpaille's Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community Register registration required at no cost 21 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mary McNeil, Harvard University Comment: Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille's efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could "belong" to this community and who might be left at the margins.

close

Biography Seminar The Art of Family History: Visual Imagery, Family Narrative and Native American Modernism Register registration required at no cost 23 January 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Phil Deloria in conversation with Julie Dobrow

Decades ago, historian Philip Deloria (Harvard University) found some drawings in the basement. These distinctive prints turned out to be the iconic work of his great aunt. Deloria will speak about his new book, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Aesthetic with Julie Dobrow (Tufts University), author of After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet. The event will focus on how an intensely personal story interweaves Sully’s life and works with the “richness of their historical situation” in Native studies and art history.

close

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Genetown: The Urbanization of the Boston Area Biotechnology Industry Register registration required at no cost 28 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Robin Wolfe Scheffler, MIT Comment: Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg

Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology firms anywhere in the world. Yet in the 1980s, the rapid concentration of the industry within Boston’s urban neighborhoods was a striking contrast to the suburbanization of high technology research and development a generation before. This remarkable urbanization represented the confluence of the labor and financial challenges faced by biotechnology start-ups with decisions regarding municipal governance and redevelopment in the aftermath of deindustrialization.

close

Environmental History Seminar Northern Exposure: American Military Engineering in the Arctic Circle Register registration required at no cost 11 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gretchen Heefner, Northeastern University Comment: Christopher Capozzola, MIT Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg

From the late 1940s through the 1960s, U.S. military engineers constructed and maintained a vast, though largely unknown, infrastructure of military facilities throughout the Far North. This paper examines how these engineers explored the Arctic regions, what sorts of information they accumulated about it, and ultimately what happened to that information once it was released from military constraints.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “What the Women Can Do:” Doctors’ Wives and the American Medical Association’s Crusade Against Socialized Medicine Register registration required at no cost 18 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kelly O’Donnell, Thomas Jefferson University Comment: Oliva Weisser, University of Massachusetts, Boston Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national health program in this country, through lobbying and public outreach about the dangers of socialized medicine. Their most powerful weapon in this fight was a less conventional medical instrument: their wives. This paper examines the mobilization of the AMA Woman’s Auxiliary as the main “public relations firm” of organized medicine during these debates and their lingering influence on American health politics.

close

African American History Seminar Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks Register registration required at no cost 20 February 2020.Thursday, all day Abigail Cooper, Brandeis University Comment: Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg

1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the Louisiana front. But on the way, a showdown takes place when Pvt. John Green refuses his commanding officer's order to cut his hair, protesting that it was contrary to his religion. In the events that follow, a revealing picture of black self-assertion in the making of freedom emerges, one too often hidden by a Civil War master narrative. This paper tells John Green's story, and asks how we might look at emancipation differently when we view it through his dreadlocks.

close

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Difference the Nineteenth Amendment Made: Southern Black Women and the Reconstruction of American Politics Register registration required at no cost 25 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Liette Gidlow, Wayne State University Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg

Many scholars have argued that though the enfranchisement of women was laudable, not much changed after women got the vote: the suffrage coalition splintered, women’s voter turnout was low, and the progressive reforms promised by suffragists failed to materialize. This interpretation, however, does not fully account for the activities of aspiring African American women voters in the Jim Crow South at the time or more broadly across the U.S. in the decades since. This paper argues that southern Black women’s efforts to vote, successful and otherwise, transformed not only the mid-century Black freedom struggle but political parties, election procedures, and social movements on the right and the left.

close

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The 1621 Massasoit-Plymouth Agreement and the Genesis of American Indian Constitutionalism Register registration required at no cost 3 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Daniel R. Mandell, Truman State University Comment: Linford Fisher: Brown University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg

On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense with Plymouth. At the same time, Massasoit promised to send his people who injured Englishmen to stand trial in their courts. While apparently contradictory, Plymouth’s acknowledgment of Wampanoag sovereignty and claim of the right to judge such conflicts reflected emerging international law and English legal norms, and created a constitution for Native-English relations that held for decades. Although King Philip’s War destroyed this agreement, similar political and jurisdictional arrangements continued to dominate British America and were reflected in U.S. Indian policy through the 1820s.

close


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