African American History Seminar

The African American History Seminar at the MHS 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 program meets a need that other local discussion series do not address, by focusing on historical scholarship and specifically the African American past.

These sessions bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. After brief remarks from the author and an assigned commentator, the discussion is opened to the floor. All are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback on the circulated essay, and discuss the topic at hand. Our sessions are free and open to everyone.

How to Attend: Register through our Calendar of Events and you will receive the session's discussion paper the day before the seminar by email. 

Subscribe: Purchasing a $25 seminar subscription gives you special advanced access to the seminar papers of all seven seminar series for the current academic year. Subscribe here

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Call for Proposals

Extended Deadline: April 10, 2023

The African American History Seminar invites proposals for sessions in its 2023-2024 series. The Seminar involves discussion of pre-circulated works in progress, especially article or chapter-length papers (20-40 pages), focusing on any aspect of African American history and culture from the era of first contact through the present day. Papers comparing the American experience with developments elsewhere in the world are welcome, as are cross-disciplinary studies.

Each session focuses on the discussion of a paper distributed to seminar registrants approximately three weeks before the program. Authors must have their papers ready for circulation at this time. The essayist and an assigned commentator will each have an opportunity for remarks before the discussion is opened to the floor. Sessions may take place virtually, in person, or in a hybrid format as conditions allow. 

We invite proposals (500 words) and CVs (3 pages maximum) from interested researchers. In your proposal, please indicate when your paper can be available for distribution, as well as your preference (fall or spring) based on when the seminar’s feedback would be helpful to you. Advise us of any special scheduling conditions, such as a planned trip to Boston or an extended period when you cannot make a presentation. The steering committee will consider all proposals for the available session slots, and proposers will be notified by early summer.

Please submit your proposals by 10 April 2023 to

Upcoming Events

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This is a hybrid event. The in-person reception will begin at 4:30 pm. 

Roy’s paper introduces his forthcoming book American Dark Age: Racial Feudalism and the Rise of…

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This is an online event.

This paper tells the story of childhood friends—Mollie Wilson, Lillian Igasaki, and Sandie Saito—who grew up in the multiracial neighborhood of…