American Studies Graduate Conferences

Past Conferences

Framing Narratives
April 12-13, 2019
610 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 101
Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering
Boston, MA 02215

During the Framing Narratives conference, graduate students from around New England working in American Studies and related fields convened to think through the establishment, circulation, and contestation of the stories that “frame” American life. During the conference, scholars shared a wide variety of research that explored how narratives shape national, cultural, gender, and regional identity.

At the April 12th Public Humanities Roundtable, speakers included Eoin Cannon, Chief Speechwriter for Boston Mayor Martin Walsh; Jan Haenraets, Professor of Practice in BU’s Preservation Studies Program; Laura Johnson, Curator of Material Culture at Historic New England; and Robert Shimp, Director of Research and Public Programming at the Paul Revere House.  Together, they sparked a lively discussion of the humanities’ role in educating the public outside of the academy.

On April 13th, Professor Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello of Salem State University opened the day’s proceedings with a moving keynote address on the role of community and narrative in scholars’ work. Over the course of the day, eleven speakers presented in paper sessions on Framing Place, Visual Narratives, Framing Boundaries, and Revisiting Narratives.


The Dynamic City: Futures for the Past
April 1-2, 2016
8 St. Mary’s Street, 9th floor Colloquium Room
The Boston University Photonics Center
Boston, MA 02215

Are preservation, diversity, and affordability mutually exclusive in urban America? How can neighborhood identity and community be preserved while engaging with the opportunities of globalization? What should be saved in attempts to build and maintain a fair and equitable city?

The Dynamic City: Futures for the Past examined the urban history of New England and its relationships within a global context. The conference explored questions that bridge the divide between study and praxis in design, sustainability and preservation. Visit our Agenda and Speakers pages to find out more about The Dynamic CityThe Dynamic City was co-hosted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities, an urban leadership research center co-founded by leading political scientist Graham Wilson and the late former Mayor of Boston Tom Menino; Historic New England, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive heritage organization; and Boston University’s nationally recognized American and New England Studies ProgramFor further information, see


New England and the World
October 24-25, 2014

Plenary Speaker: Dolores Hayden, Professor of Architecture, Urbanism and American Studies, Yale University

Beyond Production and Consumption: Refining American Material Culture Studies
March 23, 2013

Keynote Speaker: Professor Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Charles F. Montgomery Professor, History of American Decorative Arts and Material Culture, Yale University