American Studies Summer Institute 2014

American Studies Summer Institute
Defining "Public" and "Private" in America: Cultural, Social and Political Arguments Past and Present
July 7–18, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For over two decades, teachers and graduate students in American Studies, political science, history, and related disciplines have explored in depth a topic drawn from American history, politics, culture, or social policy through the American Studies Summer Institute, co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The intensive two-week program, held at the Kennedy Library, includes informative and thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by a distinguished group of scholars and guests.

This institute will examine the complex work done by government, law, business, medicine, art, community organizations, and individuals to define the boundaries between public and private in American life. In a historical moment when previously “private” behaviors (e.g., talking on the phone) have become public, and the concerns of a larger “public good” have invaded private space (e.g., NSA surveillance of personal communication), it becomes vital to explore the deep history of this ongoing American conversation about individual rights and responsibilities on one hand, and the needs of the larger community on the other. This course will investigate where these conversations have taken place—from debates in Congress to literary and cinematic considerations of the subject—and how they have shaped the lives of ordinary Americans. Possible topics include the debate over reproductive rights, the right to bear arms, Internet security, and the status of corporations.

Drawing upon experts from a variety of disciplines and with diverse perspectives, the institute will be directed by Patricia A. Reeve, Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, and Education Specialist Nina Tisch at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. For those who wish to receive graduate credit, the fee for this grant-supported course is $400. For teachers taking the course for PDPs only, a non-credit option is available for $150.

The deadline to register to May 30, 2014. Click here to download the application. Email us with any questions.