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.

October 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//blumenthal_2.jpg Biography Seminar On the Campaign Trail 24 October 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sidney Blumenthal in Conversation with Megan Marshall Today it seems you can't run for president without first putting out a memoir or autobiography. But ...

Today it seems you can't run for president without first putting out a memoir or autobiography. But biographies of presidential candidates - and presidents - are nothing new. Veteran political strategist, Washington insider, and author of the highly acclaimed multi-volume The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, Sidney Blumenthal, returns to Boston, where he got his start as a journalist, to engage in a wide-ranging discussion of lives in politics—from 1860 to 2020—and the uses of biography and, more recently, autobiography in shaping successful campaigns.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//masc_banner.jpg Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Sesame Street and the Cultural Politics of the Spoken Word in the 1970s 29 October 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kathryn Ostrofsky, Freelance Historian Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Sesame Street’s creators, audiences, and social activists all tried to use the popular ...

Sesame Street’s creators, audiences, and social activists all tried to use the popular television program as a tool to shape American society. The resulting discussions reveal that the sound of the spoken word played an important role in media representations of culture and community. People contested the messages conveyed by working-class accents, African American slang, and the Spanish language as they encouraged Sesame Street to embody Great Society liberalism or to engender a pluralistic society.

More
November 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg Early American History Seminar Native Lands and American Expansion in the Early Republic 5 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Emilie Connolly, New York University; Franklin Sammons, University of California, Berkeley Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut In the Early Republic, Americans pressed against the borders of the new nation to expand their ...

In the Early Republic, Americans pressed against the borders of the new nation to expand their control over Native lands. This panel examines these interactions between Native tribes and the land-hungry white settlers and speculators to discuss issues of agency, financial stability, and legal precedent. Emilie Connolly considers the 1797 Treaty of Big Tree between the Seneca and Founding Father Robert Morris in New York State. Franklin Sammons looks at the illegal “Yazoo Land Sales” in Georgia.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Engineering, Politics, and Dams: John R. Freeman and San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply 12 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College Conevery Bolton Valencius, Boston College San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental ...

San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental controversies. This paper explores John R. Freeman’s work as a consulting engineer and his essential role in championing the city’s Sierra Nevada water supply. Freeman was among the most influential engineers of the Progressive Era and his technocratic vision underlay hydraulic projects throughout North America. For good or ill, Freeman’s vision has had a long and enduring legacy, not just for San Francisco but for dams and watersheds nationwide.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg Early American History Seminar Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal and the Political in the Election of 1800 19 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Gilje, University of Oklahoma Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman ...

In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, I place the lives of Weeks and Sands in a larger context: Weeks as an artisan in a dynamic economy and Sands as a poor unattached women amidst changing ideas about sexuality. I also relate the trial to the New York election that occurred a month later.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//banner_draft_2.jpg African American History Seminar Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism 21 November 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Alison M. Parker, University of Delaware Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex ...

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s critiques of the suffrage movement, the social purity movement, and the postbellum white nostalgia for “Black Mammies.” Terrell asserted black women’s right to be full citizens, to vote, and to be treated without violence and with respect.

This session is co-sponsored by the New England Biography Series.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//masc_banner.jpg Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Navigating Colonial, Racial, and Indigenous Histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail 26 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laura Barraclough, Yale University Maria John, University of Massachusetts - Boston Launched by Congress in 1978, the National Historic Trail (NHT) system recognizes historic travel ...

Launched by Congress in 1978, the National Historic Trail (NHT) system recognizes historic travel routes that contributed to the making of the United States. This paper examines the collision of colonial, racial, and indigenous histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT, which commemorates the 1775-76 expedition of Mexican settlers from Sonora to San Francisco. While the Anza NHT has been empowering to contemporary Mexican Americans, it struggles to fairly represent the layered impacts of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonization on the region’s Native peoples.

More
December 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs 3 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling a database of manuscript ...

With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs, 1647-1820. Her talk focuses on how people recorded weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, ranging from “dull” to “elegant!” These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people made sense of and coped with that climatic disruption.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg 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 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 and Gender 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 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
More events
Biography Seminar On the Campaign Trail Register registration required at no cost 24 October 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sidney Blumenthal in Conversation with Megan Marshall Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//blumenthal_2.jpg

Today it seems you can't run for president without first putting out a memoir or autobiography. But biographies of presidential candidates - and presidents - are nothing new. Veteran political strategist, Washington insider, and author of the highly acclaimed multi-volume The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, Sidney Blumenthal, returns to Boston, where he got his start as a journalist, to engage in a wide-ranging discussion of lives in politics—from 1860 to 2020—and the uses of biography and, more recently, autobiography in shaping successful campaigns.

close

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Sesame Street and the Cultural Politics of the Spoken Word in the 1970s Register registration required at no cost 29 October 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kathryn Ostrofsky, Freelance Historian Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//masc_banner.jpg

Sesame Street’s creators, audiences, and social activists all tried to use the popular television program as a tool to shape American society. The resulting discussions reveal that the sound of the spoken word played an important role in media representations of culture and community. People contested the messages conveyed by working-class accents, African American slang, and the Spanish language as they encouraged Sesame Street to embody Great Society liberalism or to engender a pluralistic society.

close

Early American History Seminar Native Lands and American Expansion in the Early Republic Register registration required at no cost 5 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Emilie Connolly, New York University; Franklin Sammons, University of California, Berkeley Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg

In the Early Republic, Americans pressed against the borders of the new nation to expand their control over Native lands. This panel examines these interactions between Native tribes and the land-hungry white settlers and speculators to discuss issues of agency, financial stability, and legal precedent. Emilie Connolly considers the 1797 Treaty of Big Tree between the Seneca and Founding Father Robert Morris in New York State. Franklin Sammons looks at the illegal “Yazoo Land Sales” in Georgia.

close

Environmental History Seminar Engineering, Politics, and Dams: John R. Freeman and San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply Register registration required at no cost 12 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College Conevery Bolton Valencius, Boston College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//ehs_banner.jpg

San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental controversies. This paper explores John R. Freeman’s work as a consulting engineer and his essential role in championing the city’s Sierra Nevada water supply. Freeman was among the most influential engineers of the Progressive Era and his technocratic vision underlay hydraulic projects throughout North America. For good or ill, Freeman’s vision has had a long and enduring legacy, not just for San Francisco but for dams and watersheds nationwide.

close

Early American History Seminar Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal and the Political in the Election of 1800 Register registration required at no cost 19 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Gilje, University of Oklahoma Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//eahs_banner.jpg

In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, I place the lives of Weeks and Sands in a larger context: Weeks as an artisan in a dynamic economy and Sands as a poor unattached women amidst changing ideas about sexuality. I also relate the trial to the New York election that occurred a month later.

close

African American History Seminar Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism Register registration required at no cost 21 November 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Alison M. Parker, University of Delaware Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//banner_draft_2.jpg

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s critiques of the suffrage movement, the social purity movement, and the postbellum white nostalgia for “Black Mammies.” Terrell asserted black women’s right to be full citizens, to vote, and to be treated without violence and with respect.

This session is co-sponsored by the New England Biography Series.

close

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Navigating Colonial, Racial, and Indigenous Histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Register registration required at no cost 26 November 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laura Barraclough, Yale University Maria John, University of Massachusetts - Boston Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//masc_banner.jpg

Launched by Congress in 1978, the National Historic Trail (NHT) system recognizes historic travel routes that contributed to the making of the United States. This paper examines the collision of colonial, racial, and indigenous histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT, which commemorates the 1775-76 expedition of Mexican settlers from Sonora to San Francisco. While the Anza NHT has been empowering to contemporary Mexican Americans, it struggles to fairly represent the layered impacts of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonization on the region’s Native peoples.

close

Environmental History Seminar Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs Register registration required at no cost 3 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//ehs_banner.jpg

With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs, 1647-1820. Her talk focuses on how people recorded weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, ranging from “dull” to “elegant!” These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people made sense of and coped with that climatic disruption.

close

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 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 and Gender 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 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


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