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 617-646-0579.

November

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Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ...

For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ditches that channeled the South Carolina Lowcountry, for purposes from rice to phosphate to mosquito control. This piece explores the evolving projects of environmental use and management in the Lowcountry, through the conduit of ditches, and traces the history of how the environment, politics, and labor intersected in the miry ditches of the region from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) ...

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar In Search of the Costs of Segregation 27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African ...

Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African Americans went, whether they voted, and how they acted. Yet it was also an economic system that imposed financial burdens. This paper explores how segregation made the activities undertaken by African Americans—from gaining education to property—more expensive for them and how it excluded them from economic advancement.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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December
Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century 4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The ...

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur ...

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation 18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state ...

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

This session has recommended reading (available here) but is open to all regardless of whether they have done the reading.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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January
Early American History Seminar The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807 8 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Brent Sirota, North Carolina State University Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of ...

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office of bishops, American Methodists and Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans all established some form of episcopal superintendency after the Peace of Paris. This paper considers how the making of American episcopacy and the controversies surrounding it betrayed a lack of consensus regarding the relationship between church, state and civil society in the Protestant Atlantic.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian ...

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era 22 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Sonia Gomez, University of Chicago Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare ...

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry into the United States. This paper argues that bride schools measured Japanese women’s ability to be good wives and mothers because their immigration to the US depended on their labor within the home as well as their reproductive value in the family.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II ...

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
February
Early American History Seminar Making Money in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: the Boston Mint, 1652-1686 5 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Mara Caden, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Penelope Ismay, Boston College In the history of the British Atlantic empire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony stands alone as the site ...

In the history of the British Atlantic empire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony stands alone as the site of the sole colonial mint. Based on new research in MHS collections, this papers tells the political and technological story of this mint, which furnished the colony with silver money for thirty years, and reveals the close relationship between currency and industrial development.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

More
More events
Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell

For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ditches that channeled the South Carolina Lowcountry, for purposes from rice to phosphate to mosquito control. This piece explores the evolving projects of environmental use and management in the Lowcountry, through the conduit of ditches, and traces the history of how the environment, politics, and labor intersected in the miry ditches of the region from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar In Search of the Costs of Segregation Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School

Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African Americans went, whether they voted, and how they acted. Yet it was also an economic system that imposed financial burdens. This paper explores how segregation made the activities undertaken by African Americans—from gaining education to property—more expensive for them and how it excluded them from economic advancement.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

This session has recommended reading (available here) but is open to all regardless of whether they have done the reading.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
8 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Brent Sirota, North Carolina State University Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office of bishops, American Methodists and Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans all established some form of episcopal superintendency after the Peace of Paris. This paper considers how the making of American episcopacy and the controversies surrounding it betrayed a lack of consensus regarding the relationship between church, state and civil society in the Protestant Atlantic.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
22 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Sonia Gomez, University of Chicago Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry into the United States. This paper argues that bride schools measured Japanese women’s ability to be good wives and mothers because their immigration to the US depended on their labor within the home as well as their reproductive value in the family.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close
Early American History Seminar Making Money in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: the Boston Mint, 1652-1686 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
5 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mara Caden, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Penelope Ismay, Boston College

In the history of the British Atlantic empire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony stands alone as the site of the sole colonial mint. Based on new research in MHS collections, this papers tells the political and technological story of this mint, which furnished the colony with silver money for thirty years, and reveals the close relationship between currency and industrial development.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

close