Modern American Society and Culture


Turning Points in American History

10 June 2016 to 25 February 2017 Details

2017-2018 Call for Proposals

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The Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture is the new name of the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar. The change acknowledges not so much a new field of inquiry as a redefinition of time-honored areas of research. Many of the questions are the same, concerning race, ethnicity, and global migration, for example. However, as scholars have increasingly contemplated the role of the suburbs, the exurbs, nationhood, citizenship, and diasporic migrations, the categories of “immigration” and “urban” have proven to be too confining.


Moreover, these categories may suggest that the seminar focuses on particular periods of American history such as the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, intense periods of industrialization, urbanization, and European immigration. The seminar's scholarly reach is wider: it pushes on the inception of “modern” America and extends forward to the twenty-first century, and it is not limited 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.


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 Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these three fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend!

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