Immigration and Urban History Seminar

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

Details

Subscribe to this seminar series for $25, and you will receive access to the seminar papers for THREE series: the Boston Area Early American History Seminar, the Boston Environmental History Seminar, and the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these three fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend!

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

The Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar provides a setting for local scholars as well as members of the general public to discuss all aspects of American immigration as well as urban history and culture. Programs may address one or both historical disciplines and are not confined to Massachusetts topics. Six to eight sessions take place annually during the academic year, and most focus on works in progress.

Seminar meetings revolve around the discussion of a precirculated 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.

September

Immigration and Urban History Seminar The Importance of Place and Place-makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park, 1950s-Present 23 September 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Natalia Molina, University of California - San Diego Comment: Judith Smith, University of Massachusetts - Boston This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its ...

This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its Leftist, Communist, and gay residents.  Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, this neighborhood’s history of progressive politics left a legacy for a wave of Mexican immigrants, allowing them to create a community that reached across social boundaries. The paper looks at Echo Park today to examine this gentrifying area and ask what the role of history is in the neighborhood’s evolving identity.

details
October
Immigration and Urban History Seminar At the Crossroads: Charros, Cowboys, and Capitalists in San Antonio, Texas 28 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Laura Barraclough, Yale University Comment: DesirĂ©e J. Garcia, Arizona State University This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant ...

This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant men in San Antonio from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. The charros claimed an active place for Mexicans in the history of the Southwest – as well as its future. At the same time, however, they reinscribed a gendered and classed vision of ethnic Mexican inclusion: one that privileged middle-class, socially conservative men while marginalizing other, more transformative visions.

details
November
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "Greetings from the Levee!": Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans 25 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Theresa McCulla, Harvard University Lynnell Thomas, University of Massachusetts - Boston This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the ...

This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the white tourists who came to observe them, and underscores the constructed nature of the city’s food and culture industries. The paper also excavates the origins of longstanding racial distinctions between those who produced and those who consumed in the New South.

details
January
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Interpreters in Ellis Island: A Tool for Americanization, 1892-1954 27 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Maria Aguilar-Solano, University of Massachusetts - Boston Emma Teng, MIT Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila ...

Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila Foxlee, and immigration literature, this paper will examine the role of interpreters in Ellis Island and the institutionalization of these interpreters as tools for assimilation into American culture.

details
February
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "I Had Ample Opportunity to Notice the City as It then Was": Social and Economic Geographies in New York City, 1783-1830 24 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Steven Carl Smith, Providence College Comment: Joshua Greenberg, Bridgewater State College The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between ...

The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between 1783 and 1830. The paper reveals the contours of social and economic networks formed by tradesmen and merchants on the streets and in the print houses of early New York, and focuses on the possibilities of Geographic Information Systems technology for book history and American studies.

details
March
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Remaking Boston's Chinatown: Race, Place, and Redevelopment after World War II 24 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Thomas Chen, Brown University Comment: Jim Vrabel, author of A People's History of the New Boston This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the ...

This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the decades after World War II. Focusing on contests over Chinatown space and place, it explores how postwar formations of Chinese American identity and community were intertwined with the urban transformation that Boston and other American cities underwent in this period.

details
April
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Due Credit: Chinese Workers and the Central Pacific Railroad 28 April 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Manu Vimalassery, Barnard College Hidetaka Hirota, Columbia University It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of ...

It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of
national belonging. But if we focus on imperialism and capitalism, rather than belonging, how might we
remember Chinese migrant labor on the Central Pacific differently? This talk will consider Chinese
railroad labor in relation to the history and politics of imperialism, race, and freedom, in a context of
global Chinese and South Asian indentured labor migrations. Chinese workers’ migration debts, as well
as their racialization and community institutions, provided means of labor control, exploitation, and
differentiation that were at the heart of Central Pacific Railroad business strategies. These strategies
displaced risk and violence onto Chinese workers in order to concentrate profit and power at the upper
echelons of corporate decision-making.

details
More events
Immigration and Urban History Seminar The Importance of Place and Place-makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park, 1950s-Present 23 September 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Natalia Molina, University of California - San Diego Comment: Judith Smith, University of Massachusetts - Boston

This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its Leftist, Communist, and gay residents.  Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, this neighborhood’s history of progressive politics left a legacy for a wave of Mexican immigrants, allowing them to create a community that reached across social boundaries. The paper looks at Echo Park today to examine this gentrifying area and ask what the role of history is in the neighborhood’s evolving identity.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar At the Crossroads: Charros, Cowboys, and Capitalists in San Antonio, Texas 28 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Laura Barraclough, Yale University Comment: DesirĂ©e J. Garcia, Arizona State University

This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant men in San Antonio from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. The charros claimed an active place for Mexicans in the history of the Southwest – as well as its future. At the same time, however, they reinscribed a gendered and classed vision of ethnic Mexican inclusion: one that privileged middle-class, socially conservative men while marginalizing other, more transformative visions.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "Greetings from the Levee!": Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans 25 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Theresa McCulla, Harvard University Lynnell Thomas, University of Massachusetts - Boston

This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the white tourists who came to observe them, and underscores the constructed nature of the city’s food and culture industries. The paper also excavates the origins of longstanding racial distinctions between those who produced and those who consumed in the New South.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Interpreters in Ellis Island: A Tool for Americanization, 1892-1954 27 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Maria Aguilar-Solano, University of Massachusetts - Boston Emma Teng, MIT

Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila Foxlee, and immigration literature, this paper will examine the role of interpreters in Ellis Island and the institutionalization of these interpreters as tools for assimilation into American culture.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar "I Had Ample Opportunity to Notice the City as It then Was": Social and Economic Geographies in New York City, 1783-1830 24 February 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Steven Carl Smith, Providence College Comment: Joshua Greenberg, Bridgewater State College

The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between 1783 and 1830. The paper reveals the contours of social and economic networks formed by tradesmen and merchants on the streets and in the print houses of early New York, and focuses on the possibilities of Geographic Information Systems technology for book history and American studies.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Remaking Boston's Chinatown: Race, Place, and Redevelopment after World War II 24 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Thomas Chen, Brown University Comment: Jim Vrabel, author of A People's History of the New Boston

This paper examines how Boston’s Chinese American community confronted urban change in the decades after World War II. Focusing on contests over Chinatown space and place, it explores how postwar formations of Chinese American identity and community were intertwined with the urban transformation that Boston and other American cities underwent in this period.

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar Due Credit: Chinese Workers and the Central Pacific Railroad 28 April 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Manu Vimalassery, Barnard College Hidetaka Hirota, Columbia University

It is commonplace to remember Chinese labor on the transcontinental railroad as part of a pageant of
national belonging. But if we focus on imperialism and capitalism, rather than belonging, how might we
remember Chinese migrant labor on the Central Pacific differently? This talk will consider Chinese
railroad labor in relation to the history and politics of imperialism, race, and freedom, in a context of
global Chinese and South Asian indentured labor migrations. Chinese workers’ migration debts, as well
as their racialization and community institutions, provided means of labor control, exploitation, and
differentiation that were at the heart of Central Pacific Railroad business strategies. These strategies
displaced risk and violence onto Chinese workers in order to concentrate profit and power at the upper
echelons of corporate decision-making.

close

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