2023 Conference: Empire and its Discontent, 1763-1773

December 1-2, 2023


The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society intend to host a conference on the theme “Empire and Its Discontent” at the Massachusetts Historical Society on December 1 and 2, 2023. This conference is part of a series of interdisciplinary and international meetings designed to re-examine the origins, course and consequences of the American Revolution. Our 2023 meetings mark the 260th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years’ War and the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. We intend to use this gathering to examine the British empire at its moment of great triumph, in 1763, with its enemies defeated and its control spreading from India to the Mississippi; and again at 1773, with its control beginning to slip away in North America as a radical mobilization began against imperial power.



Friday, December 1


Panel 1: Imperial Administration 

  • “Neither Prologue nor Insurmountable Crisis: Federalism, Settler Colonialism, and Empire in the Stamp Act Crisis”
    Andrew Shankman, Rutgers University
  • “The ’45 in 75: Conspiracy, Imperial Policy, and the Rebellious Turn in the American Revolution”
    Tanner Ogle, Texas A&M University
  • “Imperium in imperio: Competing Authority in Colonial Governance and Policy”
    Rachel Banke, University of Illinois

Moderator: Andrew O’Shaughnessy, University of Virginia


Opening Reception


Opening Keynote: Could the Empire Have Been Saved?

  • Serena Zabin, Carleton College
  • Patrick Griffin, Notre Dame
  • Christopher Brown, Columbia University

Moderator: Brendan McConville, Boston University

Saturday, December 2




Panel 2: Global Margins and Peripheries 

  • “The American Revolution and Ireland in the Parliamentary Debates c 1764-1776”
    Nicole Maib, Brunel University London
  • “Border-sea Colonists’ Influence and Imperial Security Policy in the British Atlantic, 1763-1773”
    Ross Nedervelt, Florida International University
  • “The Proclamation of 1763 in the Caribbean”
    Heather Freund, The Saxo Institute

Moderator: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire




Panel 3: Fringes and Frontiers

  • “'Bewilderment' as a Way to Interpret Empire and its Discontents”
    Robert Parkinson, Binghamton University
  • “Rethinking the Royal Proclamation of 1763 across Time and Space”
    Helena Yoo Roth, City University of New York
  • “'One Spoon & one Knife to eat all together:' Indigenous Ecologies and the Environmental Limits of Empire, 1759-1774”
    Loren Michael Mortimer, Emory University

Moderator: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College




Panel 4: Commerce, Culture, and its Discontent

  • “Remaking the Empire's Built Environment: Architecture and Governance in the Aftermath of the Treaty of Paris, 1763-1770”
    Christian Koot, Towson University
  • “Cultivating Revolution: Danish St. Croix, Anglophone Enslavers, and the Imperial Crisis”
    Jared Hardesty, Western Washington University
  • “A Revolution Brewing: The Boston Tea Party as a Catalyst for Culinary Change”
    Nancy Siegel, Towson University

Moderator: Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware




Wrap up / Spilling the tea with:

  • Jack Rakove, Stanford University
  • Mary Beth Norton, Cornell University

Moderator: Patrick Spero, George Washington Presidential Library, Mt. Vernon

2024 Conference: Conrad E. Wright Research Conference on Citizenship

The Conrad E. Wright Conference series was endowed by The Honorable Levin H. Campbell in honor of Conrad Edick Wright, former Director of Research and Sibley Editor.

July 11-13, 2024


The centennial of both the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 and Immigration Act of 1924 offers an opportunity to explore the intersection of two subjects that have not always been considered alongside each other. However, as both scholars of Native American and U.S. immigration history grapple with the legacies of settler colonialism in their respective fields, the links between the aforementioned pieces of legislation come into clearer focus. Recent scholarship points out that the “peopling” of the United States not only occurred through the forces of international migration, but also reflects the incorporation of Indigenous peoples, forced or enslaved migrants from Africa and elsewhere, and the movement of borders that turned people into newcomers regardless of whether or not they actually moved. The degree to which those groups were included or excluded from citizenship, cultural “membership,” or even the right to remain in the nation has however varied widely. This conference will bring together scholars to explore the broad themes associated with citizenship and other variations of national belonging reflected in both the pieces of landmark legislation featured here. 

The conference and workshop will take place at the Massachusetts Historical Society and Suffolk University in Boston on 11-13 July 2024. The panels and presentations will take place on 11-12 July with the teacher workshop on 13 July.

Deadline Extended -- Call for Papers!

Interested parties are encouraged to submit either individual paper presentations or full panels (with or without commenters) by 10 July 2023. Application materials must include a paper description and CV for individual submissions and paper descriptions and individual CVs along with a panel proposal for full panels. Paper proposals should not exceed one page and accompanying CVs should not exceed three pages in length. Please submit application materials and questions to

Download the full CFP for details.

Conference Steering Committee

  • Prof. Danielle Battisti, University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Prof. Sunu Kodumthara, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Prof. Benjamin Railton, Fitchburg State University
  • Prof. Brenden Rensink, Brigham Young University
  • Dr. Elyssa Tardif, Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Dr. Lila Teeters, Historic New England
  • Prof. Marcia Zug, University of South Carolina School of Law

K-12 Teacher Workshop

As an organization that operates within academia and the public history arena, the Massachusetts Historical Society both champions important scholarship and supports vital public history initiatives like professional development for K-12 instruction. This conference will serve both constituencies—scholars and K-12 educators—by providing a platform to consider how the classroom serves as a key site of historical representation. Teachers will be invited to attend the traditional academic sessions, and scholars in turn will be invited to participate in a concluding teacher workshop at the end of the conference. We encourage participation from scholars who are eager to engage with and learn from K-12 educators, as well as teachers who are looking to incorporate the latest scholarship into the classroom.

Conference Publications

Since its first conference volume on American Unitarianism, issued in 1989, the MHS has made the scholarship developed through its conferences widely and permanently available to the field.

The MHS publication series Studies in American History and Culture comprises many of these volumes. More recently, MHS conference volumes published by other presses have given our conference scholarship an even wider reach. Peruse these essay collections.

Past Conferences

Learn more about past conferences here.