Research seminars--conversations with one or more presenters that usually focus on a precirculated paper--take place between late September and early May. Programs are offered in five different series: the Boston Area Early American History Seminar, the Boston Environmental History Seminar, the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar, the Boston Seminar on the History of Women and Gender, and the New England Biography Seminar. Learn more about each series and subscribe to receive advance copies of the papers that will be discussed.

 

RSVP required. Please email seminars@masshist.org or phone 617-646-0568.

September

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Historicizing the War on Black Youth: Lessons from Los Angeles to Ferguson 27 September 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Donna Murch, Rutgers University Comment: Andrew Darien, Salem State University Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late ...

Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late 1960s, this presentation will place our current movement for black lives in historical context.  Of particular interest is the role played by female activists and the development of a queer feminist lens. Equally important is disaggregating the different tendencies from the local and regional protest in Ferguson and Baltimore to social network and non-profit mobilization. Particular attention will be paid to the overlapping wars on gangs and drugs as background.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Developing Women: Global Poverty, U.S. Foreign Aid, and the Politics of Productivity in the 1970s 29 September 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Schlesinger Library Joanne Meyerowitz, Yale University Comment: Priya Lal, Boston College “Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns ...

“Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. This chapter focuses on the  “women in development” movement of the 1970s. It shows how indigent women came to be seen as potential “income generators” who were central to anti-poverty programs.

More
October
Early American History Seminar Reconsidering Slavery and Slave Law in Early Massachusetts 4 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Holly Brewer, University of Maryland Comment: Annettte Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its ...

The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its attitudes towards slavery; recent scholarship contends that the colony laid a foundation for enslavement and perpetuated its practices elsewhere. However, this paper emphasizes that there was considerable resistance to ideas of forced labor embedded within Puritan ideology as it offers a nuanced reading of the Massachusetts policy debates of the 1640s during the critical first period of slavery in the colonies.

More
Environmental History Seminar Uniting the United States with Lightning: Capitalism, Environments, and the Transcontinental Telegraph System in the United States, 1844-1861 11 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Edmund Russell, Boston University Comment: Merritt Roe Smith, MIT In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through ...

In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through wires from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This system, often overshadowed by the transcontinental railroad, advanced three great projects of American history: expanding capitalism, building the state, and conquering nature with technology. This essay focuses on the models of capital accumulation employed in building the telegraph and on the financial models and environments that made regional telegraph networks with different features.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century 25 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, ...

This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, which chronicles the transnational forces that helped shape Miami's queer world from 1890 to 1940. In this chapter, Capó traces how urban authorities policed the perceived "suspect" sexualities of Miami's temporary and permanent settlers from the Bahamas and how their increased migration similarly informed gender and sexual norms on the archipelago.

More
November
Early American History Seminar Rape, Recourse, and the Law of Seduction in the Early Republic 1 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required John Wood Sweet, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. ...

In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. This paper questions the success of the civil lawsuit for seduction that Sawyer’s step-father, John Callanan, brought one year later. The case offers a window into the use of civil law in sexual assault cases and prompts readers to consider how women struggling for recourse can become pawns in battles between men over money and masculine honor.

More
Biography Seminar Conversation with Fredrik Logevall 10 November 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University Moderator: Carol Bundy Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) ...

Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) will moderate this discussion with Fredrik Logevall, the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of History at Harvard University. His book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History. Logevall will discuss his current book project, a biography of John F. Kennedy.

More
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native Peoples, Livestock, and the Environment 15 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Katrina Lacher, University of Central Oklahoma, and Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut at Storrs In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef ...

In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef and hide industry that would facilitate the U.S. annexation of the archipelago. Lacher’s essay, “The Paniolos of Parker Ranch: Cattle Ranching on the Slopes of Mauna Kea,”  examines this site of environmental transformation and cultural exchange. Roberts’s paper, “A Dog’s History of Early New England: Indigenous Dogs in the Societies and Ecology of the Northeast,” argues that dogs should be considered as Native American livestock that were raised to fulfill a wide variety of tasks including serving as hunting partners and sources of meat. The essay further considers the mutal influences of European contact, the dog population, other wildlife, and human disease.

More
More events
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Historicizing the War on Black Youth: Lessons from Los Angeles to Ferguson Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 September 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Donna Murch, Rutgers University Comment: Andrew Darien, Salem State University

Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late 1960s, this presentation will place our current movement for black lives in historical context.  Of particular interest is the role played by female activists and the development of a queer feminist lens. Equally important is disaggregating the different tendencies from the local and regional protest in Ferguson and Baltimore to social network and non-profit mobilization. Particular attention will be paid to the overlapping wars on gangs and drugs as background.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Developing Women: Global Poverty, U.S. Foreign Aid, and the Politics of Productivity in the 1970s Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
29 September 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Schlesinger Library Joanne Meyerowitz, Yale University Comment: Priya Lal, Boston College

“Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. This chapter focuses on the  “women in development” movement of the 1970s. It shows how indigent women came to be seen as potential “income generators” who were central to anti-poverty programs.

close
Early American History Seminar Reconsidering Slavery and Slave Law in Early Massachusetts Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
4 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Holly Brewer, University of Maryland Comment: Annettte Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School

The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its attitudes towards slavery; recent scholarship contends that the colony laid a foundation for enslavement and perpetuated its practices elsewhere. However, this paper emphasizes that there was considerable resistance to ideas of forced labor embedded within Puritan ideology as it offers a nuanced reading of the Massachusetts policy debates of the 1640s during the critical first period of slavery in the colonies.

close
Environmental History Seminar Uniting the United States with Lightning: Capitalism, Environments, and the Transcontinental Telegraph System in the United States, 1844-1861 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Edmund Russell, Boston University Comment: Merritt Roe Smith, MIT

In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through wires from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This system, often overshadowed by the transcontinental railroad, advanced three great projects of American history: expanding capitalism, building the state, and conquering nature with technology. This essay focuses on the models of capital accumulation employed in building the telegraph and on the financial models and environments that made regional telegraph networks with different features.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
25 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University

This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, which chronicles the transnational forces that helped shape Miami's queer world from 1890 to 1940. In this chapter, Capó traces how urban authorities policed the perceived "suspect" sexualities of Miami's temporary and permanent settlers from the Bahamas and how their increased migration similarly informed gender and sexual norms on the archipelago.

close
Early American History Seminar Rape, Recourse, and the Law of Seduction in the Early Republic Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
1 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM John Wood Sweet, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut

In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. This paper questions the success of the civil lawsuit for seduction that Sawyer’s step-father, John Callanan, brought one year later. The case offers a window into the use of civil law in sexual assault cases and prompts readers to consider how women struggling for recourse can become pawns in battles between men over money and masculine honor.

close
Biography Seminar Conversation with Fredrik Logevall Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
10 November 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University Moderator: Carol Bundy

Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) will moderate this discussion with Fredrik Logevall, the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of History at Harvard University. His book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History. Logevall will discuss his current book project, a biography of John F. Kennedy.

close
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native Peoples, Livestock, and the Environment Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Katrina Lacher, University of Central Oklahoma, and Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut at Storrs

In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef and hide industry that would facilitate the U.S. annexation of the archipelago. Lacher’s essay, “The Paniolos of Parker Ranch: Cattle Ranching on the Slopes of Mauna Kea,”  examines this site of environmental transformation and cultural exchange. Roberts’s paper, “A Dog’s History of Early New England: Indigenous Dogs in the Societies and Ecology of the Northeast,” argues that dogs should be considered as Native American livestock that were raised to fulfill a wide variety of tasks including serving as hunting partners and sources of meat. The essay further considers the mutal influences of European contact, the dog population, other wildlife, and human disease.

close