Graduate Student Forum

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    Call For Proposals


    The Colonial Society of Massachusetts

    Graduate Student Forum in Early American History

    7 June 2019

    Boston, Massachusetts


    Graduate students preparing a dissertation on any area of early American history (up to 1815) are invited to submit proposals for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts’s annual Graduate Student Forum.  You will discuss your work with between six and ten peers from other universities, and with the Colonial Society’s members, at our Beacon Hill townhouse at 87 Mount Vernon Street on Friday, June 7, 2019.   


    Each participant will outline a dilemma he or she has encountered in research or conceptualization, and will share with other participants ideas, dilemmas, and questions.


    The Forum begins on Thursday evening, June 6,  with dinner at the Colonial Society, and concludes Friday afternoon with a remarks by moderator Marla R. Miller, Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts.


    The Colonial Society will reimburse graduate student participants for all travel expenses and will provide accommodations in Boston.


    Since our first Graduate Forum in 1999, more than 150 graduate students have participated in this annual event.  Here are some comments from previous participants:    A wonderful new venue for young historians of early America; may it long continue.” (John Demos). 


    “The warm, positive feedback and direction I received fired my enthusiasm for research. It was truly invaluable” (University of California, Davis). “Challenging, and energetic; I took away practical suggestions from both the CSM membership and other graduate student presenters” (Tufts University). “. . . stimulating scholarly exchange combined with wonderful food” (University of Connecticut). “It was my first presentation, and I certainly appreciated the comfortable surroundings" (Princeton). “A platform to voice concerns, dilemmas, and even accomplishments to a distinguished audience” (Salem State University). “My participation in the forum was really the highlight of my graduate career to date” (SUNY Stony Brook).



    How to Submit Your Proposal: Your proposal, not to exceed five double-spaced pages, should give a vivid sense of your dissertation project and highlight a particular dilemma—methodological, conceptual, source-based, etc.—encountered in the course of research or writing. Though we may give preference to New England topics, but the committee will attempt to achieve a balance in subjects covered.   Submit proposals electronically to: Committee Chair Robert J. Allison, Suffolk University, Boston; email:; fax: 617-723-7255.



    **DEADLINE for Proposals: 1 February 2019**






    Recent books by Graduate Forum alumni:

    Jared Hardesty (2011 Graduate Forum)  Unfreedom:  Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (2016)

    Kate Grandjean (2005)  American Passage:  The Communications Frontier in Early America (2015)

    Jonathan Den Hartog (2003) Patriotism and Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New Nation (2015)


    Heather Miyano Kopleson, (2003) Faithful Bodies:  Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic. (2014)

    Ruma Chopra (2007)  Choosing Sides:  Loyalists in Revolutionary America (2013)

    Kathleen Donegan (2002) Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America, (2013)


    Linford Fisher,(2007)  The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (2012)


    Emily Blanck (2002)  Tyrannicide: Forging an American Law of Slavery in Revolutionary South
    Carolina and Massachusetts (2012)

    Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor (2002) The Ties that Buy:  Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America (2009)







    The Program of Our Last Forum


    Colonial Society of Massachusetts
    2018 Graduate Student Forum
    Friday  8 June 2018

    Session 1: Without Consent: Law and the Making of American Society  9 a.m.

    Sonia Tycko, Harvard,
    "Captured Consent: Bound Service and Freedom of Contract in the Seventeenth Century English Atlantic World"

    Kevin Murphy, SUNY Stony Brook,
    “Coercion and Sworn Bonds in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic”

    Franklin Sammons, UC Berkeley,
    "Finance, Law, and the Political Economy of Dispossession"

    Session 2: Face to Face and Far Away: Forming Communities in the Atlantic World   10:40 a.m.

    John Morton, Boston College,
    "To Settle the Frontier on Sober Principles: Power, Faith, and Nationality in the New England-Maritime Borderlands"

    G. Patrick O’Brien, University of South Carolina,
    “Gilded Misery”: Loyalist Women, the Community of Suffering in Halifax, and Repatriation, 1775-1790” 

    Nicole Mahoney, University of Maryland,
    "Liberty, Gentility, and Dangerous Liaisons: French Culture and Polite Society in Early National America"

    Lunch Break:  Noon to 1:15

    Session 3: Mapping Empire and Resistance in the Atlantic World  1:30 to 2:40 p.m.

    Peter Pellizzari, Harvard,
    “Empire Reformed: British Imperial Policy from Tacky’s Revolt to the Boston Tea Party”

    Catherine Treesh, Yale,
    “Committees of Correspondence: Organizing and Mobilizing Resistance Communities in the American Revolution”

    3 pm  Reflections:

    Richard D. Brown, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History emeritus,University of Connecticut