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 617-646-0579.

September

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Radical Nonviolence and Interracial Utopias in the Early Civil Rights Movement 25 September 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Victoria Wolcott, State University of New York at Buffalo Comment: Jason Sokol, University of New Hampshire This paper examines how radical pacifists refined nonviolent direct action to challenge racial ...

This paper examines how radical pacifists refined nonviolent direct action to challenge racial segregation and inequality in the United States. These activists adopted the methods of earlier utopian communities by living communally and practicing a prefigurative politics that called for immediate change.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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October
Early American History Seminar The Protestant Cult of the Dead in New England, 1800-1848 2 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Erik Seeman, State University of New York at Buffalo Comment: Kenneth Minkema, Yale University Many 19th-century Protestants in New England held religious ceremonies venerating deceased family ...

Many 19th-century Protestants in New England held religious ceremonies venerating deceased family and friends, in addition to their orthodox worship of God. This paper examines women’s desires to connect with their deceased loved ones, and argues that this drove important developments in Protestant belief and practice. It shows how pious Protestants maintaining connections with the dead made séance Spiritualism a transatlantic sensation in 1848.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native American Environmental History 9 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lisa Brooks, Amherst College; Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College; Ashley Smith, Hampshire College; Thomas Wickman, Trinity College Moderator: Cedric Woods, Institute for New England Native American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the ...

This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the questions that each field engenders in the other, as well as the perspectives that native and non-native scholars bring to their research as they traverse both fields. Questions of race, gender, geography, and sources enliven this growing body of scholarship. Join us for a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation on these and other topics.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
African American History Seminar Losing Laroche: The Story of the Titanic’s Only Black Passenger 18 October 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College Comment: TBD Losing Laroche is the first in-depth study of the only black family on board the RMS ...

Losing Laroche is the first in-depth study of the only black family on board the RMS Titanic. The story of the Haitian Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche and his descendants is largely unknown and troubles the assumption of an all-white Titanic narrative. This paper seeks to understand the possibilities of black advancement in the Titanic moment and throughout the Diaspora.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Seminar Paul Revere's Ride through Digital History 22 October 2018.Monday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Joseph M. Adelman, Framingham State University and Omohundro Institute; Liz Covart, Omohundro Institute; Karin Wulf, Omohundro Institute This seminar examines components of the Omohundro Institute’s multi-platform digital project ...

This seminar examines components of the Omohundro Institute’s multi-platform digital project and podcast series, Doing History: To the Revolution. It explores Episode 130, “Paul Revere’s Ride through History,” and the ways the topic was constructed through narrative and audio effects, as well as the content in the complementary reader app. Refreshments will follow the presentation and discussion.

 

To reserve: Please call 617-646-0579 or e-mail seminars@masshist.org.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Reproducing Race in the Early Americas 23 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Rhae Lynn Barnes, Princeton University; Deirdre Cooper Owens, Queens College; Sasha Turner, Quinnipiac University Moderator: Nicole Aljoe, Northeastern University This roundtable will use the body as frame for examining racial formation in the Caribbean and U.S. ...

This roundtable will use the body as frame for examining racial formation in the Caribbean and U.S. from the eighteenth century to the present. The presenters will meditate on biological reproduction in relation to citizenship and subjecthood, labor and economy, medical and scientific knowledge, and representations of blackness in popular culture.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Governing the “Black Power” City: Leon H. Sullivan, Opportunities Industrialization Centers Inc., and the Rise of Black Empowerment 30 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jessica Ann Levy, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Julia Rabig, Dartmouth College This paper traces the Opportunities Industrialization Center’s rise from its meager founding ...

This paper traces the Opportunities Industrialization Center’s rise from its meager founding in North Philadelphia to one of the largest black community development programs in the United States. In doing so, it sheds new light on the financial and intellectual investments made by American business, government bureaucrats, and civil rights entrepreneurs like Sullivan in transforming black dissidents into “productive citizens,” “productive” having economic and civic connotations.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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November
Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects 1 November 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is ...

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of the forthcoming Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Early American History Seminar “A Rotten-Hearted Fellow”: The Rise of Alexander McDougall 6 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christopher Minty, the Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were ...

Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were destined to become loyalists. By focusing on the rise of Alexander McDougall, this paper offers a new interpretation, demonstrating how the DeLanceys and McDougall mobilized groups with competing visions of New York’s political economy. These prewar factions stayed in opposition until the Revolutionary War, thus shedding new light on the coming of the American Revolution.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and ...

This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and subsistence farming on the South Carolina Sea Islands in the years after the devastating Great Sea Island Storm of 1893. It draws attention to how the laborer experienced the work, collapsing categories drawn around African American life and labor, the Old South and the New, rice and phosphate, dependency and free labor.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) ...

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Separating Residences in the Camel City 27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School This essay focuses on the passage of Winston-Salem’s segregation ordinance, the response of ...

This essay focuses on the passage of Winston-Salem’s segregation ordinance, the response of local African Americans, and the reasoning behind the state Supreme Court’s ruling against the ordinance. It shows middling whites feeling insecure when black tobacco factory workers moved into their neighborhoods; local black leaders doing little to protest the ordinance; and the court considering how the ordinance would affect local white leaders.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
December
Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century 4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The ...

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur ...

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation 18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state ...

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
More events
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Radical Nonviolence and Interracial Utopias in the Early Civil Rights Movement Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
25 September 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Victoria Wolcott, State University of New York at Buffalo Comment: Jason Sokol, University of New Hampshire

This paper examines how radical pacifists refined nonviolent direct action to challenge racial segregation and inequality in the United States. These activists adopted the methods of earlier utopian communities by living communally and practicing a prefigurative politics that called for immediate change.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar The Protestant Cult of the Dead in New England, 1800-1848 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
2 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Erik Seeman, State University of New York at Buffalo Comment: Kenneth Minkema, Yale University

Many 19th-century Protestants in New England held religious ceremonies venerating deceased family and friends, in addition to their orthodox worship of God. This paper examines women’s desires to connect with their deceased loved ones, and argues that this drove important developments in Protestant belief and practice. It shows how pious Protestants maintaining connections with the dead made séance Spiritualism a transatlantic sensation in 1848.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native American Environmental History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
9 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Lisa Brooks, Amherst College; Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College; Ashley Smith, Hampshire College; Thomas Wickman, Trinity College Moderator: Cedric Woods, Institute for New England Native American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

This panel will explore the intersections of environmental history and indigenous studies—the questions that each field engenders in the other, as well as the perspectives that native and non-native scholars bring to their research as they traverse both fields. Questions of race, gender, geography, and sources enliven this growing body of scholarship. Join us for a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation on these and other topics.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
African American History Seminar Losing Laroche: The Story of the Titanic’s Only Black Passenger Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 October 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College Comment: TBD

Losing Laroche is the first in-depth study of the only black family on board the RMS Titanic. The story of the Haitian Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche and his descendants is largely unknown and troubles the assumption of an all-white Titanic narrative. This paper seeks to understand the possibilities of black advancement in the Titanic moment and throughout the Diaspora.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Seminar Paul Revere's Ride through Digital History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
22 October 2018.Monday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Joseph M. Adelman, Framingham State University and Omohundro Institute; Liz Covart, Omohundro Institute; Karin Wulf, Omohundro Institute

This seminar examines components of the Omohundro Institute’s multi-platform digital project and podcast series, Doing History: To the Revolution. It explores Episode 130, “Paul Revere’s Ride through History,” and the ways the topic was constructed through narrative and audio effects, as well as the content in the complementary reader app. Refreshments will follow the presentation and discussion.

 

To reserve: Please call 617-646-0579 or e-mail seminars@masshist.org.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Reproducing Race in the Early Americas Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
23 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Rhae Lynn Barnes, Princeton University; Deirdre Cooper Owens, Queens College; Sasha Turner, Quinnipiac University Moderator: Nicole Aljoe, Northeastern University

This roundtable will use the body as frame for examining racial formation in the Caribbean and U.S. from the eighteenth century to the present. The presenters will meditate on biological reproduction in relation to citizenship and subjecthood, labor and economy, medical and scientific knowledge, and representations of blackness in popular culture.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Governing the “Black Power” City: Leon H. Sullivan, Opportunities Industrialization Centers Inc., and the Rise of Black Empowerment Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
30 October 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jessica Ann Levy, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Julia Rabig, Dartmouth College

This paper traces the Opportunities Industrialization Center’s rise from its meager founding in North Philadelphia to one of the largest black community development programs in the United States. In doing so, it sheds new light on the financial and intellectual investments made by American business, government bureaucrats, and civil rights entrepreneurs like Sullivan in transforming black dissidents into “productive citizens,” “productive” having economic and civic connotations.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
1 November 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of the forthcoming Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar “A Rotten-Hearted Fellow”: The Rise of Alexander McDougall Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
6 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Minty, the Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University

Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were destined to become loyalists. By focusing on the rise of Alexander McDougall, this paper offers a new interpretation, demonstrating how the DeLanceys and McDougall mobilized groups with competing visions of New York’s political economy. These prewar factions stayed in opposition until the Revolutionary War, thus shedding new light on the coming of the American Revolution.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell

This chapter examines the changes to black labor in rice cultivation, the phosphate industry, and subsistence farming on the South Carolina Sea Islands in the years after the devastating Great Sea Island Storm of 1893. It draws attention to how the laborer experienced the work, collapsing categories drawn around African American life and labor, the Old South and the New, rice and phosphate, dependency and free labor.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Separating Residences in the Camel City Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School

This essay focuses on the passage of Winston-Salem’s segregation ordinance, the response of local African Americans, and the reasoning behind the state Supreme Court’s ruling against the ordinance. It shows middling whites feeling insecure when black tobacco factory workers moved into their neighborhoods; local black leaders doing little to protest the ordinance; and the court considering how the ordinance would affect local white leaders.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close