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 Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture, 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.

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March 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The 1621 Massasoit-Plymouth Agreement and the Genesis of American Indian Constitutionalism 3 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Daniel R. Mandell, Truman State University Comment: Linford Fisher: Brown University On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense ...

On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense with Plymouth. At the same time, Massasoit promised to send his people who injured Englishmen to stand trial in their courts. While apparently contradictory, Plymouth’s acknowledgment of Wampanoag sovereignty and claim of the right to judge such conflicts reflected emerging international law and English legal norms, and created a constitution for Native-English relations that held for decades. Although King Philip’s War destroyed this agreement, similar political and jurisdictional arrangements continued to dominate British America and were reflected in U.S. Indian policy through the 1820s.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg Environmental History Seminar, Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The Metabolism of Military Forces in the War of Independence: Environmental Contexts and Consequences 10 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM David Hsiung, Juniata College Comment: James Rice, Tufts University In order to function during the War of Independence, armies and navies needed multiple sources of ...

In order to function during the War of Independence, armies and navies needed multiple sources of energy—food, firewood, work animals (which also needed food), ammunition, and more. How did specific natural environments, both proximate and distant, fuel those military metabolisms? How did such actions affect those environments in the decades and centuries that followed? This paper is the seed of a book proposal that, when watered by your feedback, will germinate come summertime.

More
Biography Seminar Fashioning a Life: How Style Matters in Biography 12 March 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Weber, Barnard College; Channing Joseph, University of Southern California Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College Is fashion art or industry? Is it evidence? This panel brings together Caroline Weber, author of ...

Is fashion art or industry? Is it evidence? This panel brings together Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the Revolution and Proust’s Duchess, and Channing Joseph, whose forthcoming book recovers the untold story of formerly enslaved William Dorsey Swann, who became, in the 1880s, a progenitor of ballroom and drag culture. They will join moderator Natalie Dykstra, biographer of Clover Adams and now at work on a biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner, in a conversation about the ways biographers use fashion to decode lives and historical contexts.

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Contesting Domesticity – a Panel Discussion 17 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kwelina Thompson, Cornell University; Shoniqua Roach, Brandeis University; Laura Puaca, Christopher Newport University Comment: Micki McElya, University of Connecticut The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of ...

The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of women and the workings of gender. How have women experienced, challenged, leveraged, and shaped the domestic? This panel will consider these questions and discuss the domestic as a contested site of constraint and possibility. Shoniqua Roach theorizes the meanings of black domesticity as a deeply fraught space marked by anti-black sentiment and yet full of insurgent potential. Kwelina Thompson explores the history of the La Leche League – a Catholic mothers group that organized to support breastfeeding mothers in the mid-twentieth century. Finally, Laura Puaca tells the story of the expansion of post-WWII vocational rehabilitation programs to include disabled homemakers in the US.

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg African American History Seminar “Fighting the Dogs:” Fugitivity, Canine Hunters, and Slave Resistance in the Rural South 19 March 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Tyler D. Parry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Comment: TBD As slavery expanded in the Americas, canine attacks were used as a particularly sadistic aspect of ...

As slavery expanded in the Americas, canine attacks were used as a particularly sadistic aspect of racist dehumanization. Through linked processes of breeding and training, slave hunters believed they had developed “natural” enemies between black people and the canines trained to hunt them. This paper investigates how fugitives responded to this interspecies violence by using various techniques of environmental resistance outside the plantation’s confines. By analyzing how fugitives used herbal combinations, waterways, and offensive weapons to subvert the canine's sensory advantage, this paper argues that enslaved communities should be understood as knowledge producers who studied their environments and used scientific awareness in their resistance.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility, 1869–1914 31 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sean Fraga, Princeton University Comment: David Armitage, Harvard University The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and ...

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as this talk argues, late-nineteenth-century Americans also saw these railroads in global terms, as commercial infrastructure that could link the United States with Asia and the Pacific World. This paper recovers the excitement many nineteenth-century white Americans felt about trade with Asia and shows how interest in Asian trade was woven into the transcontinental railroads from their very beginnings.

More
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Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The 1621 Massasoit-Plymouth Agreement and the Genesis of American Indian Constitutionalism Register registration required at no cost 3 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Daniel R. Mandell, Truman State University Comment: Linford Fisher: Brown University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/eahs_banner.jpg

On March 22, 1621, Wampanoag sachem Massasoit agreed to a pact of mutual sovereignty and defense with Plymouth. At the same time, Massasoit promised to send his people who injured Englishmen to stand trial in their courts. While apparently contradictory, Plymouth’s acknowledgment of Wampanoag sovereignty and claim of the right to judge such conflicts reflected emerging international law and English legal norms, and created a constitution for Native-English relations that held for decades. Although King Philip’s War destroyed this agreement, similar political and jurisdictional arrangements continued to dominate British America and were reflected in U.S. Indian policy through the 1820s.

close

Environmental History Seminar, Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar The Metabolism of Military Forces in the War of Independence: Environmental Contexts and Consequences Register registration required at no cost 10 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM David Hsiung, Juniata College Comment: James Rice, Tufts University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/ehs_banner.jpg

In order to function during the War of Independence, armies and navies needed multiple sources of energy—food, firewood, work animals (which also needed food), ammunition, and more. How did specific natural environments, both proximate and distant, fuel those military metabolisms? How did such actions affect those environments in the decades and centuries that followed? This paper is the seed of a book proposal that, when watered by your feedback, will germinate come summertime.

close

Biography Seminar Fashioning a Life: How Style Matters in Biography Register registration required at no cost 12 March 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Weber, Barnard College; Channing Joseph, University of Southern California Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College

Is fashion art or industry? Is it evidence? This panel brings together Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the Revolution and Proust’s Duchess, and Channing Joseph, whose forthcoming book recovers the untold story of formerly enslaved William Dorsey Swann, who became, in the 1880s, a progenitor of ballroom and drag culture. They will join moderator Natalie Dykstra, biographer of Clover Adams and now at work on a biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner, in a conversation about the ways biographers use fashion to decode lives and historical contexts.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Contesting Domesticity – a Panel Discussion Register registration required at no cost 17 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kwelina Thompson, Cornell University; Shoniqua Roach, Brandeis University; Laura Puaca, Christopher Newport University Comment: Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of women and the workings of gender. How have women experienced, challenged, leveraged, and shaped the domestic? This panel will consider these questions and discuss the domestic as a contested site of constraint and possibility. Shoniqua Roach theorizes the meanings of black domesticity as a deeply fraught space marked by anti-black sentiment and yet full of insurgent potential. Kwelina Thompson explores the history of the La Leche League – a Catholic mothers group that organized to support breastfeeding mothers in the mid-twentieth century. Finally, Laura Puaca tells the story of the expansion of post-WWII vocational rehabilitation programs to include disabled homemakers in the US.

close

African American History Seminar “Fighting the Dogs:” Fugitivity, Canine Hunters, and Slave Resistance in the Rural South Register registration required at no cost 19 March 2020.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Tyler D. Parry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Comment: TBD Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/banner_draft_2.jpg

As slavery expanded in the Americas, canine attacks were used as a particularly sadistic aspect of racist dehumanization. Through linked processes of breeding and training, slave hunters believed they had developed “natural” enemies between black people and the canines trained to hunt them. This paper investigates how fugitives responded to this interspecies violence by using various techniques of environmental resistance outside the plantation’s confines. By analyzing how fugitives used herbal combinations, waterways, and offensive weapons to subvert the canine's sensory advantage, this paper argues that enslaved communities should be understood as knowledge producers who studied their environments and used scientific awareness in their resistance.

close

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility, 1869–1914 Register registration required at no cost 31 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sean Fraga, Princeton University Comment: David Armitage, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/masc_banner.jpg

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as this talk argues, late-nineteenth-century Americans also saw these railroads in global terms, as commercial infrastructure that could link the United States with Asia and the Pacific World. This paper recovers the excitement many nineteenth-century white Americans felt about trade with Asia and shows how interest in Asian trade was woven into the transcontinental railroads from their very beginnings.

close


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