2015 American Studies Summer Institute

American Studies Summer Institute
Nature and Nation Transformed: Rethinking the Role of the Environment in America’s Past and Present
July 6–17, 2015 | 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Join us this summer for an intensive two-week program of thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests. The American Studies Summer Institute, an annual program co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, offers educators and graduate students the opportunity to explore in depth a topic drawn from American history, politics, culture, or social policy.

This year’s program, held at the Kennedy Library, will ask the following questions: How have the environment, geography, and climate shaped American lives and thought and, in turn, how have Americans transformed the physical world around them? How does investigating the interdependence of nature and human activity deepen our understanding of American history?

We will consider how the natural landscape and climate have contributed to America’s growth and contraction, as seen by westward expansion and the dust bowls of the Great Depression. We will also explore the environmental effects of the nation’s harvesting of natural resources and construction of the built world, as seen during urbanization and industrialization.

Additionally, we will discuss the conflicting ideas about man’s relationship to nature that have animated American arts and literature, philosophy, and the sciences.

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 Nina Tisch, education specialist 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.

A few spots remain in the Institute. Click here to download the application. Email us with any questions.