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.

March

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Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations 12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the ...

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

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

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Biography Seminar Reckless Youth: Three Writers on their Youthful (Biographical) Passions 21 March 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM John Kaag, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Abigail Santamaria; Holly Van Leuven Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing ...

Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing at a young age? And what does a “youthful passion” for a biographical subject mean to a writer in retrospect? We’ve borrowed the title of Nigel Hamilton’s vivid narrative of JFK’s early years for this panel which features Holly Van Leuven, Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow; Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis; and John Kaag, Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are, three writers who started in on their respective books in college or soon after—with the exception of Kaag, who looks back on his student infatuation from the perspective of a thirty-something father. Megan Marshall, whose Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast tells the life of her poetry professor, moderates.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel: Carceral Culture 26 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Melanie D. Newport, University of Connecticut—Hartford, and Morgan Jane Shahan, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, ...

This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, “‘Making Good’: On Parole in Early 20th Century Illinois,” traces the experience of ex-prisoners, and exposes the negotiations between employers, voluntary organizations, prisons, and parolees. Melanie Newport’s chapter, “‘I’m Afraid of Cook County Jail’: Making Space for Women in Chicago’s Jails,” addresses how women both inside and outside Cook County jail contested the plan to double the jail’s capacity in the 1970s.

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

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April
Early American History Seminar Naming Plantations in the 17th-Century English Atlantic 2 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College Comment: Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, ...

The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, public process intended to serve the interests of god and the commonwealth. How and why did this civic language become transformed into a place for the private pursuit of agricultural wealth? This paper uncovers the ways ordinary men and women grappled with the definition of plantation by systematically investigating the names they gave to the places they termed “plantations.”

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

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Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston 9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core ...

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

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

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The Long 19th Amendment 16 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Corinne Field, University of Virginia, and Katherine Turk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Moderator: Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of ...

With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, this session will explore "the long Nineteenth Amendment" stretching from the woman’s suffrage movement to second-wave feminism and beyond, with an eye toward continuities, challenges, and unfinished business.

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

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African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody 18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum ...

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

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

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Boston’s North End: Post-World War II Italian Immigration, Segmented Assimilation, and the “Problem of Cornerville” 23 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required James Pasto, Boston University Comment: Marilynn Johnson, Boston College This paper examines the dynamics and impact of Italian immigration in the North End via the lens of ...

This paper examines the dynamics and impact of Italian immigration in the North End via the lens of segmented assimilation. Depending on age, gender, parental style, and opportunity, some immigrants assimilated “downward” into the Italian American street culture of the neighborhood, becoming more susceptible to the drug abuse and violence of the ‘70s and ‘80s, while others assimilated “upward” into a new Italian identity tied to the North End’s gentrification as an Italian neighborhood.

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

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May
Early American History Seminar Panel: After the Fighting: The Struggle for Revolutionary Settlement 7 May 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire; Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College; Stephen Marini, Wellesley College; Brendan McConville, Boston University Moderator: TBD In the ten years after the American victory at Yorktown in 1781, the nation faced myriad problems ...

In the ten years after the American victory at Yorktown in 1781, the nation faced myriad problems and challenges. This panel examines how the revolutionary generation confronted issues of diplomacy, governance and economic growth, and how the legacies of warfare and political convulsion shaped spiritual and social behaviors in those troubled years.

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

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More events
Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

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

close
Biography Seminar Reckless Youth: Three Writers on their Youthful (Biographical) Passions this event is free 21 March 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM John Kaag, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Abigail Santamaria; Holly Van Leuven Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College

Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing at a young age? And what does a “youthful passion” for a biographical subject mean to a writer in retrospect? We’ve borrowed the title of Nigel Hamilton’s vivid narrative of JFK’s early years for this panel which features Holly Van Leuven, Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow; Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis; and John Kaag, Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are, three writers who started in on their respective books in college or soon after—with the exception of Kaag, who looks back on his student infatuation from the perspective of a thirty-something father. Megan Marshall, whose Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast tells the life of her poetry professor, moderates.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel: Carceral Culture Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
26 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Melanie D. Newport, University of Connecticut—Hartford, and Morgan Jane Shahan, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University

This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, “‘Making Good’: On Parole in Early 20th Century Illinois,” traces the experience of ex-prisoners, and exposes the negotiations between employers, voluntary organizations, prisons, and parolees. Melanie Newport’s chapter, “‘I’m Afraid of Cook County Jail’: Making Space for Women in Chicago’s Jails,” addresses how women both inside and outside Cook County jail contested the plan to double the jail’s capacity in the 1970s.

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

close
Early American History Seminar Naming Plantations in the 17th-Century English Atlantic Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
2 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College Comment: Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire

The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, public process intended to serve the interests of god and the commonwealth. How and why did this civic language become transformed into a place for the private pursuit of agricultural wealth? This paper uncovers the ways ordinary men and women grappled with the definition of plantation by systematically investigating the names they gave to the places they termed “plantations.”

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

close
Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

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

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar The Long 19th Amendment Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
16 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Corinne Field, University of Virginia, and Katherine Turk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Moderator: Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library

With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, this session will explore "the long Nineteenth Amendment" stretching from the woman’s suffrage movement to second-wave feminism and beyond, with an eye toward continuities, challenges, and unfinished business.

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

close
African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

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

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Boston’s North End: Post-World War II Italian Immigration, Segmented Assimilation, and the “Problem of Cornerville” Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
23 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM James Pasto, Boston University Comment: Marilynn Johnson, Boston College

This paper examines the dynamics and impact of Italian immigration in the North End via the lens of segmented assimilation. Depending on age, gender, parental style, and opportunity, some immigrants assimilated “downward” into the Italian American street culture of the neighborhood, becoming more susceptible to the drug abuse and violence of the ‘70s and ‘80s, while others assimilated “upward” into a new Italian identity tied to the North End’s gentrification as an Italian neighborhood.

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

close
Early American History Seminar Panel: After the Fighting: The Struggle for Revolutionary Settlement Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
7 May 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire; Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College; Stephen Marini, Wellesley College; Brendan McConville, Boston University Moderator: TBD

In the ten years after the American victory at Yorktown in 1781, the nation faced myriad problems and challenges. This panel examines how the revolutionary generation confronted issues of diplomacy, governance and economic growth, and how the legacies of warfare and political convulsion shaped spiritual and social behaviors in those troubled years.

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

close