This series is co-sponsored by the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

New Series!

Download the CFP for Spring 2019. Proposals are due October 1!

The Boston Seminar on African American History is an occasion for scholars as well as interested members of the public to discuss aspects of African American history from the colonial era to the present day. This new program meets a need that other local discussion series do not address, by focusing on historical scholarship and specifically the African American past.

 

Five sessions are planned in this inaugural series. 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. After each session, the Society serves a light buffet supper.

 

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 Monday prior to the program. Subscribe to this seminar series and you will receive access to the seminar papers for FOUR series: the Boston Seminar on African American History, the Boston Area Seminar on Early American History, the Boston Seminar on Environmental History, and the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture. 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. Download the 2018-2019 schedule here!

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

October

African American History Seminar Losing Laroche: The Story of the Titanic’s Only Black Passenger 18 October 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College Comment: Saje Mathieu, University of Minnesota 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
November
African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 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) ...

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
January
African American History Seminar Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls” 17 January 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Comment: Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including ...

In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes how skulls from the black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” to show that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire, and to posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of black voices at the heart of those exhibitions.

 

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

More
February
African American History Seminar Mourning in America: Black Men in a White House 21 February 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School Comment: TBD This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD ...

This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD officials, and others misappropriated billions in federal monies set aside for low-income housing. Of particular interest are the intertwined stories of two African Americans: Samuel R. Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD Secretary, and Kimi Gray, a Washington, D.C. public housing activist. In exploring these narratives, this paper aims to complicate our understanding of the “Black 1980s,” the Ronald Reagan-led White House, and democracy in post-civil rights America.

 

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

More
April
African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody 18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum ...

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

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

More
More events
African American History Seminar Losing Laroche: The Story of the Titanic’s Only Black Passenger 18 October 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College Comment: Saje Mathieu, University of Minnesota

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
African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 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
African American History Seminar Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls” Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
17 January 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Comment: Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University

In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes how skulls from the black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” to show that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire, and to posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of black voices at the heart of those exhibitions.

 

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

close
African American History Seminar Mourning in America: Black Men in a White House Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
21 February 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School Comment: TBD

This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD officials, and others misappropriated billions in federal monies set aside for low-income housing. Of particular interest are the intertwined stories of two African Americans: Samuel R. Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD Secretary, and Kimi Gray, a Washington, D.C. public housing activist. In exploring these narratives, this paper aims to complicate our understanding of the “Black 1980s,” the Ronald Reagan-led White House, and democracy in post-civil rights America.

 

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

close
African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

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

close