Live Coverage of “So Sudden an Alteration” Conference

As you know from last week’s posts by Michael and Ken, this weekend is the second major conference in two years on the American Revolution, So Sudden an Alteration, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

There have already been a number of great papers, and some hot debates on the meaning of studying the Revolution, with more to come today.

We will have full coverage next week, but in the meantime, you can keep up with the conference on Twitter by following the hashtag, #RevReborn2, or Juntoists at the conference, including me (@jmadelman), Jessica Parr (@ProvAtlantic), Michael Hattem (@MichaelHattem), and Tom Cutterham (@tomcutterham).

You can also follow several friends of the blog: Liz Covart (@lizcovart), John Bell (@Boston1775), and the MHS institutional account (@MHS1791).

UPDATE (4/12, 8pm): Now that the conference is over, you can also check out several summations of the conference.

Michael Hattem created a Storify for each of the three days of the conference:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

And there is also a more basic archive of tweets and an interactive explorer.

No Politics, No Revolution

If there is a current orthodoxy among historians of the American Revolution, it is that the study of the Revolution has lost its focus. In their introduction to the Common-Place edition recapping the McNeil Center’s “The American Revolution Reborn” conference, Patrick Spero and Michael Zuckerman wrote of “a field that had grown stale” and that was “losing its verve, and worse, its center.” The call for papers for the forthcoming Massachusetts Historical Society conference effectively described the field as being stuck in a historiographical rut. There is a reason that study of the Revolution has lost its center. It has failed to concentrate its focus on politics. Continue reading

Have Cultural Historians Lost the American Revolution?

In just over a week from now, the Massachusetts Historical Society is hosting, “‘So Sudden an Alteration’: The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution,” an important conference on the American Revolution in recognition of the the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act. This is the second of three conferences dedicated to rediscovering or re-energizing study of the American Revolution, the first of which, “The American Revolution Reborn,” was hosted by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies in the spring of 2013. And so with the conference fast approaching, I want to use this piece to think about the specific moment and circumstances in which American Revolution studies currently finds itself, which has been the catalyst for this series of conferences, and suggest possibilities going forward. The primary circumstance of that moment, with which many seem to agree, is that the study of the Revolution is in a rut, plodding along in the same “well-worn grooves of historical inquiry” for the “past fifty years,” according to the conference’s call for papers. Continue reading