February

Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers ...

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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March
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some ...

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent ...

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the ...

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality ...

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins ...

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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April
Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United ...

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

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Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher ...

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

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More events
Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

close
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s this event is free 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

close
Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights this event is free 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

close
Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 this event is free 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

close
Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality this event is free 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

close
Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America this event is free 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

close
Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America this event is free 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

close
Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery this event is free 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

close

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