BU’s American Political History Institute Co-Hosts Major Conference on Presidential History

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October 31st, 2012

On Friday and Saturday, October 26-27, 2012,  at the University of Virginia, a group of eminent scholars gathered to discuss how to advance the study of presidential history. The conference, entitled “Recasting Presidential History” and co-organized by Professor Brian Balogh of UVA and Professor Bruce Schulman of BU, was a joint undertaking of BU’s American Political History Institute and UVA’s Miller Center of Public Affairs.

Among the issues that conference participants addressed were how to bridge the gap between academic and popular history, and how to bring the study of presidents and the presidency back into the mainstream of the historical profession. Speakers emphasized the importance of presidents’ individual agency in such arenas as party-building and international affairs, while bearing in mind the structural factors that help shape and constrain presidential action.

Conference participants included leading historians, political scientists, and journalists. An edited volume of essays inspired by the ideas raised at the conference will be published by Cornell University Press.  In addition to Professor Schulman, Professor Cathie Martin of BU’s Political Science Department, Visiting Professor Kathryn Brownell, and doctoral students Andrew David and Matt Pressman represented BU at the conference.  For more information, visit the conference webpage: http://millercenter.org/events/2012/presidential-history