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“Revolutionary Aftermaths” – 2012 Conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) invites proposals for panels and individual papers at its annual conference to be held June 28-30, 2012 at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, Hartford, Connecticut – within two hours of Boston and New York. Proposals must be submitted via the on-line interface: by December 1, 2011 in order to receive full consideration.

The conference convenes in Hartford two hundred years after the start of the War of 1812 – a conflict often referred to as the second American Revolution, typically remembered for its origins in impressment disputes and trade embargoes and for its legacies for Native peoples and nation building. This anniversary invites reflection on the meanings of independence in an interdependent world, on the interplay between national self-assertion and imperial politics, and on U.S.-Canadian relations. The 1814 Hartford Convention, in which representatives from New England states considered seceding from the union that frustrated their commercial ambitions, brings to mind the importance of capitalist interests, the connections between seemingly domestic and foreign struggles, and the historical significance of polities other than nations. It shows, furthermore, how American engagement with the wider world could be either revolutionary or counter-revolutionary – or, as in the aftermath of the War of 1812, both simultaneously.

In encouraging proposals relating to “revolutionary aftermaths,” the Program Committee implies a broad definition of “revolution,” applying not only to political movements such as the U.S., French, Haitian, Mexican, Bolshevik, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian, and recent Middle Eastern revolutions, but also to developments such as the industrial, communications, transportation, consumer, and green revolutions. Keeping in mind the cataclysmic vision of modernization gone bad offered by Hartford resident Mark Twain at the close of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, we hope the conference will foster conversations on efforts to grapple with revolutionary changes as well as the ways we make sense of such changes across space and time.

Although the Program Committee will give preference to panels that address the “revolutionary aftermaths” theme, it also welcomes proposals on other topics pertaining to U.S. relations with the wider world, including (but not limited to) state-to-state relations, global governance, transnational movements, and histories of mobility, borderlands, and empire.

Since proposals for complete panels with a coherent theme will be favored over individual paper proposals, those seeking to create or fill out a panel should consult the “panelists seeking panelists” link on the SHAFR 2012 Annual Meeting web page. A complete panel usually involves either three papers plus chair and commentator (with the possibility of one person fulfilling the latter two roles) or a roundtable discussion with a chair and three to five participants. The Committee is open to alternative formats, which should be described briefly in the proposal. We request that applicants have no more than two roles at the conference, and only one presentation of their own research.

Graduate students and first-time participants are eligible to receive fellowships to subsidize the cost of attending the conference. Please see the announcements below for details and additional materials required. The application deadline is December 1, 2011.

All proposals should be submitted via the web at:

Applicants requiring alternative means to submit the proposal should contact

SHAFR 2012 Program Committee
David Engerman and Kristin Hoganson, co-chairs

Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants
In 2012, SHAFR will offer several Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants to assist graduate students who present papers at the conference. The following stipulations apply: 1) no award will exceed $300 per student; 2) priority will be given to graduate students who receive no or limited funds from their home institutions; and 3) expenses will be reimbursed by the SHAFR Business Office upon submission of receipts. The Program Committee will make the decision regarding all awards. A graduate student requesting travel funds must make a request when submitting the paper/panel proposal. Applications should consist of a concise letter from the prospective participant requesting funds and an accompanying letter from the graduate advisor confirming the unavailability of departmental funds to cover travel to the conference. These two items should be submitted to at the time the panel or paper proposal is submitted. Funding requests will have no bearing on the committee’s decisions on panels, but funds will not be awarded unless the applicant’s panel is accepted by the program committee in a separate decision. Requests must meet the Application deadline: December 1, 2011.

SHAFR Diversity and International Outreach Fellowship Program
SHAFR also offers competitive Diversity and International Outreach Fellowships that will cover travel and lodging expenses for the 2012 annual meeting. The competition is aimed at scholars whose participation in the annual meeting would add to the diversity of the Society. Preference will be given to persons who have not previously presented at SHAFR annual meetings. The awards are intended for scholars who represent groups historically under-represented at SHAFR meetings, scholars who offer intellectual approaches that may be fruitful to SHAFR but are under-represented at annual meetings, and scholars from outside the United States. “Scholars” includes faculty, graduate students, and independent researchers. To further acquaint the winners with SHAFR, they will also be awarded a one-year membership in the organization, which includes subscriptions to Diplomatic History and Passport. Applicants should submit a copy of their individual paper proposal along with a short cv (2-page maximum) and a brief (2-3-paragraph) essay addressing the fellowship criteria (and including data on previous SHAFR meetings attended and funding received from SHAFR). Please submit your application to Funding requests will have no bearing on the committee’s decisions on panels, but funds will not be awarded unless the applicant’s panel is accepted by the program committee in a separate decision. Application deadline: December 1, 2011.

David Engerman and Kristin Hoganson
Email: program-chair at

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Brown-Harvard Conference on Slavery and Capitalism, April 7-9, 2011

This conference is intended to explore the centrality of slavery to national economic development in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Presentations will explore New England investment in the plantation economies of the Caribbean; the technological and managerial innovations in plantation management that coincided with northern industrialization; and the origins of modern finance and credit in the buying and selling of enslaved men and women and the crops they produced.

This new research suggests that the hotbeds of American entrepreneurship, speculation, and innovation might as readily be found in Mississippi or Virginia as in New York or Massachusetts. The issue is not whether slavery was or was not capitalist (an older debate), but rather the impossibility of understanding the nation’s spectacular pattern of economic development without situating slavery front and center.

The conference begins on Thursday, April 7th, with a keynote address by President Ruth Simmons of Brown University. Paper presentations will follow on Friday the 8th at Brown University. The conference then moves to Harvard for additional papers on Saturday, April 9th. This event is free and open to the public.

All the information (including the program and registration form) is here:

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